Saturday, September 18, 2004


One day they are dropping bombs on your head over here and next day you get served Lobster tails, mmmmmm! It's a strange world after all. Speaking of which, today I had more chats with Kumar, my friend from India. What a different world! His India employment company told him they would pay him $600/month but they only pay him $340/month. These guys do a 14-hour day 7 days a week. That comes to less than $1 an hour!!!

But things are cheap in India. His parents live with his wife and 2 boys and their monthly expenses come to $133 for food and education, etc. That means he saves $220/month or so toward his goal of 1 million Rubees--he'll be able to retire in about 9 years if he continues to work like this. His wife works as a "housekeeper" (I think that means "homemaker") and therefore makes no money. He has an arranged marriage and firmly believes it is a good idea. Divorce is not allowed by the government unless you have a very good reason and no one ever does.

Kumar thinks that is a great idea too. Males must marry between ages 25 and 30 and females between ages 18 and 22 or the government won't give you a license. He thinks Americans will do anything for money. But we are both over here.... He says the purpose of life is to be surrounded by family and enjoy that. Whenever he needs to be happy, he thinks of his family at home. All his brothers and sisters and their spouses some to visit every week. So I don't think of Kumar as poor, in fact, he is doing very well. But it goes to show you what a strange world this is.

For example, one of my bags was not delivered. It had all my NBC (nuclear/biological/chemical) gear in it. However, I took some out and replaced it with my skateboard, binoculars, leatherman, and, well, several pairs of dirty underwear. Needless to say, I am short in the shorts, if you know what I mean. I miss the other stuff too, but nothing REALLY important was lost, and the gas mask and helmet I put in my other bags are still with me. So that's the latest from Ernie, reporting from Iraq. Have a lovely evening this morning... Ernie

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