Checked out the town today.
At two different times, groups of Indian tourists asked me to pose in photos with them. I'm not sure if it's because I'm a foreigner, or because i'm wearing a lungi (the skirt that the working men wear in the south).
It's the weekend here, and so the town is filled with tourists from Bangalore (7 hours away). I sat with one couple for dinner, and talked with them for a while. They had a love marriage (as opposed to the much more common arranged marriage) - it was quite a cute story, and they had to involve a marriage broker so that her mother thought it was arranged (and thus honorable). The husband worked for a big IT company in Banglore, and told me a bit about the working conditions there. Pretty much every firm requires a minimum 12 hour working day. That's crazy! I will certainly have a new-found sense of respect to the Indian call-center workers I talk to in the future.
I was the only foreigner in the restaurant (with the love marriage couple), and pretty much everyone else there was an Indian tourist. All the families at the nearby 3 tables were craning their necks to try and listen to our conversation. And at one point, even laughed at the jokes we made. The lack of privacy here certainly takes a bit of getting used to.
I found a killer deal on flyertalk.com (a complete mistake on expedia.com's part), and booked a 9 day stay at the Tokyo Hilton for $3 per night. If Expedia honors it, I'll call United and arrange to spend a week or so there on my way back to the US in May 2006. For $3 bucks a day, how can I say no? Plus, my friend Austin is teaching english somewhere in Japan, and this'll give me a way to visit him.