Nepal 6: Dominos Pizza

100 Indian Rupees

When I finally got to the counter, I told the agent I’d lost my ticket.

“What’s your name?” he asked, bored.

I told him, and he handed me my original boarding pass. Someone must have found it and turned it in.

“Try and hold on to it this time,” he told me without inflection.

I took it without further comment.

I was out of excuses. Nepal was back on.

[This is a chapter from my travel book. There are lots more chapters posted on the blog, but if you’d prefer to read them all at once, sign up for my e-mail newsletter and I’ll be sure to let you know when they’re available in a condensed form!]

With my ticket woes resolved, it suddenly occurred to me that I was ravenously hungry. I had eaten on the plane ride to Delhi, but the last real meal I’d had was a bowl of Pho in Hong Kong, the night before Holly and I stayed up all night wondering about our future. Boarding pass firmly clenched in my fist, I wandered up to the food court, where I was greeted with a most welcome sight.

A Domino’s Pizza!

Anyone who’s traveled knows the feeling of homesickness. Anyone’s who’s traveled for an extended period of time knows the odd feeling of experiencing homesickness for something totally ordinary— or maybe even feeling nostalgic for something you hate.

I’d been craving Domino’s Pizza for the past two months. Although we ate our way through Taipei, the city of food, dumplings just aren’t comfort food for me. Pizza is. And the buttery, garlic crust of Domino’s Pizza in particular had been calling my name for a while. Taipei has Pizza Huts (which sell some truly abominable creations), but I had yet to see a Domino’s in five months of travel. Which explains why I felt elated to find one in the Delhi airport.

Something, finally, was going right.

I walked up to the abandoned counter. I had to make a little noise and do some waving to get the attention of the clerk, who was hanging out in the back kitchen. Surly, he came out and took my order for a personal pan pizza. I handed him a $20 bill, and he gave me back 200 rupees (about $3). I looked at the two measly bills, Ghandi’s face smiling up at me. I knew I had been shortchanged. It made me angry. I looked up at the clerk, who met my questioning glance with a perfectly impassive mask. I thought about arguing, but quickly realized I didn’t have it in me. I took my receipt and walked away.

I examined it closely: he had shortchanged me. I should have gotten 400 rupees back, if not more.

Been in India for two hours, already been ripped off, I thought to myself. How stereotypical.

I chuckled, and sent that message to my friend Vinay, back home. His family is straight from India, but Vinay’s about as American as they come. Still, I thought he might get a laugh out of it. Plus, I could really have used a friend. Being that it was the middle of the night in Colorado, he didn’t answer. India is 12 hours removed from Colorado— I was literally on the other side of the world; about as far as I could get from home.

When the pizza finally came, it was terrible. Nothing at all like home.

***

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10 thoughts on “Nepal 6: Dominos Pizza

  1. I am an Indian living outside India and I could not help but laugh at this experience, just as you said your Indian friend would too. I recall an incident that a friend narrated to me. This friend is an Indian but looks Chinese. She comes from the North Eastern part of India and people there genetically look Chinese or Nepalese. Again in Delhi airport. She was looking to buy some coasters and the salesman tried to dupe her by over-quoting the price. She found out when the two salesmen were discussing what price to quote in Hindi, not knowing that my friend can not only speak but also read and write in Hindi! She walked out of the shop after giving them an earful. Duping, shortchanging and cheating is a sad reality of India and many other developing countries. All one can do is try protect oneself as much as possible. 🙂

  2. Wow, that was incredibly lucky! I wonder what would have happened had someone not found it. Glad you got on well though 🙂

  3. We never seem to forget the experience when someone tries to shortchange us when we are on a trip. I still can remember the clerk in London when I asked him how he figured out the change he gave me. It did not faze him at all, he just handed me the correct difference without trying to argue. A sign to me that he admitted shortchanging me on purpose.

    It was as if it was a standard procedure to shortchange a tourist.

    Sad but true.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

  4. I wonder why we develop an appreciation for certain food. I miss my mother’s home made pizza, but I don’t like any pizza chain pizza. You were alone and a long way from home, your food need was more than merely nutritional.

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