Was feeling pretty shaky after that, so instead of trying to face the buffet breakfast downstairs, I ordered toast and tea in my room ($2.20). Nibbled very slowly at the first two slices of dry toast. By the time I got to the third, an hour or so later, I was feeling confident enough that I would keep it down that I actually dared to add some butter. All seemed well. Rested for a few hours, reading mostly. I then indulged myself with a long, half-hour ($10) phone conversation with Kevin. Oh, that was lovely. We talked about where we might put stuff in the new house; we've now decided that the tv won't be downstairs, but will be hidden upstairs in the little guest room. That will hopefully mean we'll watch a bit less tv than we have been. I love tv, but in the last year, I think I should've read more books. I like books too, I do. TV is just so easy...
Around 11:30, Suchetha called, and invited me out for coffee. I hesitated briefly, but I felt reasonably okay, so said yes. Turned out that half a block away from the hotel, there's Barista, a very Starbucks-like air-conditioned caf. Lots of foofy coffee drinks, and even the art on the walls looks like Starbucks style.
Afterwards, Suchetha said that I really had to see the video store downstairs. I obediently followed him, to find a well-lit store just packed with bootleg DVDs and CDs (not illegal here). Not that I could tell they were bootleg -- they all appeared to be in their original packaging. The only difference was that a few were marked with a special sticker -- those were non-bootlegs, and far more expensive. For example, a non-bootleg version of The Incredibles was 1800 rupees, while the bootleg version was 220 rupees. I suspect Jed and other proponents of strong copyright disapprove of bootlegs, but for relatively poor countries, I can't say I blame them.
The exchange rate is 100 to 1 (so that bootleg would have cost me roughly $2 US); it's not actually that bad in terms of buying power for locals. It's more like 8 to 1. A local bus ride costs 5 rupees; a tuk-tuk to cover the same distance would be more like 75 rupees; an air-conditioned taxi might be 150 rupees. So if I translate, the bootleg DVD is costing locals their equivalent of 15-20 dollars, which seems a reasonable price, whereas the non-bootleg (same video quality) would cost 125-150 dollars. I can't imagine who actually chooses to buy the non-bootleg in those circumstances. The problem for the content creators, of course, is that they get no revenue off the bootleg versions. As an author, I'd rather these people had the ability to actually read my books, even if someone's manufacturing a bootleg version that I get no royalties from. Of course, plenty of other authors and other content creators would disagree. YMMV. I would've been tempted to buy up masses of DVDs to bring home, but I don't know if US Customs would have let them through. Ah well.