I’ve been M.I.A for the past few days as I’ve been a tourist and its hard to be able to find a good connection on the go.
For some strange reason there was always bizarre childhood dream of mine to be able to goto a hotel restroom where theres someone there to hand you towels… it was probably in some of the movies I had watched somewhere. So here I am in India, and I guess you can say … my dream had been fulfilled? And no, its not glamourous at all, its really quite creepy. In India, theres always seems to be someone in the toilet waiting there, paper towels at the ready, from dodgy hotels, the airport and shopping centers. If you do take the offered towel, they will block the exit until a tip is forth coming.
When you are a foreigner, especially as a tourist, you are in a perpetual game involving how to get as much money out of the foreigner as possible.
In Agra, our waiter approached our table four times. First time, “Good food? You happy, me happy” Second time: “Good food, good tip”, Third time: “Please leave good tip sir”. Fourth time: “My job not finished till you leave tip sir” and then stood there next to the table until we opened our wallets to give him a tip. I didn’t really have the chance to discuss with my friend how much to actually pay.
At times I am torn between, should I just pay them, they don’t get paid much anyway and I refuse to get ripped off just for the sake of it. Most tourist sites have a different ticketing price for foreigners and locals, normally a difference of 25 times more.
To be fair, we had probably gotten a crappy experience as we stayed or ate at the wrong places. In most places which are not tourist infested there are no awkward problems, but after being hassled wherever we went for a few days, it made me defensive whenever someone happened to be nice about anything. No, I do not need anyone to help me with my luggage, open the car door, turn on the hot water, and no I do not need those damn hand towels!
Im in Faridbad at the moment, I’ll be blogging about what its like there soon enough as well as about the places Ive visited.
Sounds like the India I remember – the late night arrival, crazy traffic, people trying to extract every last rupee from you one way or another. Eventually I got into the habit of doing everything myself to avoid the need to tip. Also bargained hard with things like rickshaws (always in advance) and rarely took the first offer. Tough decision whether to succumb to the exorbant prices (relatively speaking) that tourists typically get charged. May be worth finding an english-speaking trustworthy looking person prepared to take you around for the day for x dollars who ensures you don’t get ripped off left, right and centre – as a bonus, they’ll probably tell you their life story.
Anyway, it brings back memories. Happy travelling!