Our arrival having slipped to stern less than a week ago and no good coffee having passed our lips, the streets beckoned us to stroll amid pedestrian and motor vehicle alike in search of a decent cuppa joe.
We set about destined for a short abroach, settin’ along side the fore desk to obtain the necessary charts. New to the East India trading company, we be nay certain of our course through treacherous waters and reasoned an exchange of coin fer the local denomination a wise decision. Me first mate and I approached the lass mannin’ the fore desk with caution, eager to engage a reasonable exchange.
The lass skipperin’ the counter appeared a lovely specimen, impeccably dressed in the uniform o’ the tide; her fresh face disarmingly adorned from ear to ear with a broad, tooth-filled smile. Her skin be a soft, light brown, as smooth t’ the eye as I imagined it be to the touch. It be the skin o’ a wee child, the years o’ solar abuse absent from its pigment. As we made our windward approach, her grin did widen w’ anticipation an’ her brow did raise slightly, addin’ a bstarboardness to her one good, dark brown eye. “Namaste. How might I help ye?” she asked in an Indian accent that betrayed her British schoolin’.
“We be wantin’ to exchange some foreign coin fer rupees,” I replied, me smile mirrorin’ hers.
“That be nay a problem. How much would ye like to exchange?” She asked, her unrelentin’ smile still beamin’, unsettlin’ as it was.
“Two hundred, if that be possible,” I replied, me cheeks startin’ to hurt from the lingering simper pasted upon me own face.
She glanced down at her keyboard an’ started typin’. I watched as her one good eye waned momentarily, her smile softenin’ as she read from the monitor. Feelin’ as much like the grinnin’ fool, I allowed me own jaw to relax, relievin’ some of the strain in me cheeks. When finally she digested a bit o’ the information, she returned her gaze upon us, the aforementioned disarmingly bright smile once again beamin’ in concert with her one good sparklin’ eye.
I reposted me smile into it’s original position, feeling the strain upon me already burdened cheeks as I widen’d me own two good eyes to appear more interested.
“The exchange rate be 65.2 rupees to the piece o’ eight,” she stated, her smile seemin’ to broaden further with the knowledge the rate be highway robbery, but also realizin’ our few options.
I wondered which of us was the pirate and which the wench. I should consider running her through, save for my first mate; her demeanor, that more o’ a tiger shark than a mate, were like screams from the brig. “That be fine,” I spake, as me first mate sunk deeper into her dark, caffiene-less, doldrum. I reached into me pocket an’ placed the 200 coin atop the counter with nigh a small hesitation.
Again the counter wench’s smile faded inversely to her concentration. She splay the gold out in front of her with her port claw and began countin’ the treasure, stoppin’ occasionally to pry apart the coin still wet with the blood o’ their previous owner. Convinced there nay be swindlin’, the lass reached into the open drawer afore her waist an’ retrieved a like amount of rupees. Her expression remained dour as she counted it out onto the counter, speared it with her starboard hook, an’ presented it to me. Jolly wit’ the knowledge of her conquest, her smile returned from it’s brief respite looking as fresh as before.
“Do ye be havin’ plans fer today?” she queried, her daub interest nay the least noticeable.
“We’re goin’ to Starbucks fer a bit o’ coffee. It be almost a week at sea and me first mate be ready to fire upon women and children for a dram. Might ye share the most advantageous means of reachin’ our destination?” I beckoned, hopin’ fer an underground or overhead path missed durin’ our previous excursions ashore.
Her smile still beamin’, owed to her satisfaction we’d be settin’ sail soon, she explained, “Exit the hotel and take a port tack,” motionin’ with her starboard hook in the direction we ortin’ ta be headin’. “At the corner, make a U-turn an’ come aft. Ye will be seein’ the Starbucks off yer port gunnel.”
Her directions accurately represented the needed path; however, our transportation did nay include a motorized carriage; we be on foot. Perhaps thar be a more expedient route fer them usin’ leg power? I queried as such.
Startled, her smile disappeared and her bung hole opened wide as our frigate’s companionway, as if ta say, “Be ye touched in the hade?” Her brows raised and her one good eye widened to a round orb, her lovely brown iris overcome by the surroundin’ ivory. Surprised at our query and finally gainin’ her composure, she exclaimed, “Oh my! Perhaps ye will take a ferry?”
Havin’ recently completed a chapter in a book about Indian cultural and conversational nuances, we be attuned to her meanin’. Her question, “Perhaps ye will take a ferry?” be nay a question at all, but a plea to reconsider our proposed course. Accordin’ to the instructional literature on the subject of Indian communication, her question about takin’ a coach would roughly be translated into, “Please, honored guest, we don’t want ye sinkin to the depths of Davy Jones’ locker after bein’ hit by a car or a passing two-wheeled, sciff. Please ferry instead.”
Any assurances that walkin’ be nay a problem did naught to assuage her fears. The more I insisted on our preparedness, the greater her concern manifested in her expression and speech until finally, interpretin’ our determination as unwaverin’ foolhardiness, she stated with emphatic voice, “Sir, let me give ye one of our hotel cards in case ye need to call us.”
I accepted the card and her kind gesture with the same excruciating smile donned at the commencement of our exchange; however, her pleadin’ glance toward her mate suggested our conversation be nay concluded. “They be goin’ to keel haul to the Starbucks,” she spake, her distinctly Indo-British accent unsteady, her grimace unable to bunk her speech in anythin’ less than genuine worry.
“Oh my,” gasped her mate, a young man in the sophmore of his life. He too be impeccably donned in the same uniform; however, unlike the first attendant, nay smile brightened his round, tan, Indian face—only the burden of worry that comes from charges who fail to heed sound advice.
I reassured them both we be quite capable of walkin’, despite the traffic. We’d actually been walkin’ most of our lives in big cities an’ wee.
Unmoved by me supplications, the exasperated young man, unable to winch in his fear, explained, “Sir, the Mini Cooper be here. I will be havin’ them drop ye.” Sensin’ our imminent objection, he smartly scurried toward the fore door of the hotel. Although we spied the Starbucks across the lane from our hotel port hole, any hope of obtainin’ charts faded into a distant, foggy memory. We followed dutifully.
“Sir, the Mini Cooper will take ye an’ drop ye at Starbucks.” He had made up his mind; his guests be nay goin’ to kill themselves transitin’ the Indian highways an’ shipping lanes simply fer a cup o’ grog. The risk be far too great.
Me first mate, exhausted and cravin’ a hot cup of the hot tar, stumbled into the coach; she’d faced the futility of our argument and relented, boardin’ the Mini Cooper. We sailed fer nigh three minutes to the Starbucks.
The first mate’s thirst quenched, our thoughts turned to our reputations. Not wantin’ our status as feared pirates besmirched, we vowed to make amens; we keel hauled aft, dodging all manner of coach and two-wheeled skiff, and returned from whence we came unscathed; living to pen the tale.
We aint no swabbies who ortin’ to be keel haul’n!
Translation: We wanted to walk for coffee but the hotel staff was concerned for our safety and called for a mini cooper. But we showed them, we walked back to the hotel.
If ye be enjoyin’ that which you be readin’ or ye be feelin’ left out, make yer mark here to be notified as new ill gotten booty arrives in port.
Much of the translation courtesy of Jeffrey R. (Sydd) Souza’s pirate translation engine.
Unless otherwise noted, I drew or took the photographs in the article—as lame as they may look. Sometimes drawings come from my head, other times they’re from something I saw somewhere. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is probably planned. Copyright can be found here for my original work.