Making friends in South Asia is not hard at all.
We had a couple of friends visiting from the USA last month,
And on a free day James decided to take them into "the real India" where we get to spend so much of our time. The real, enormous-idol loving countryside!
In Metro Delhi or Kolkata, many times it's easy to blend in as a foreigner.
But driving through miles of land dedicated to agriculture and brick making,
Then stopping in a little town on the side of the road,
Blending in is not so easy.
But this, the real India, is where we make so many of our friends.
How does this happen?
Pull into a little tea stall like this...
And let the pure Americanness of you and your visitors immediately draw a crowd of curious men like this...
Then, while your American visitors drink roadside chai and taste South Asian sweets,
Chat with the guys at the back of the crowd.
Get to know them.
You might make contacts... dare we say "friends," like
Mohammad Akbar Ansari.
Obviously, he isn't into the idols, being a Muslim.
But he's a good guy who still needs your thoughts and prayers.
He's a good friend of ours.