Saturday, March 18, 2006

Getting a Rickshaw

Yeah, I'll admit it, I tried to strangle a tout in Varanasi. They are such persistent, interfering people. I wasn't really mad, it was more of a "these people are annoying so I need to kill one now to set an example" kind of thing. You tell them no, I don't want a tuk-tuk and then they mess with your negotiations with a cycle-rickshaw nearby. Honestly, the biggest problem with touts and rickshaw drivers is that they are too busy talking to you to listen to your reply. Once you realize this and stop trying to talk to them, everything becomes much simpler. Only because these people are so small and non-violent have I developed a more confrontational approach to the worst of them (don't worry I won't use it outside of India). Maybe I've been thinking of Sky too much lately but I honestly believe I can fight 10 of them at a time if I have to. Thus I've found that the quickest and most effective way of dealing with a group of touts that have surrounded you and are all shouting at once, is to feign anger, start screaming at them and maybe shove one or two. They quickly get the idea. As an example of what I have to deal with here, in Jhansi we had to get a half hour ride from the train station to Orchha. The tuk-tuks were out there waiting. They started at 200 rupees (double the real rate). I say "no (I always do the negotiations), I'll find someone more reasonable", and they quickly go down to 150 when they see I'm not totally stupid. By then I am surrounded by a dozen guys all shouting the same thing and grabbing you by the arm and trying to pull you to their tuk-tuk past the other guys. So I say no, 125 max. They do their mocking laugh like I am completely unreasonable and say it is impossible. Ok, fine, I'll leave and look somewhere else. As I start to turn away one of the guys that was just laughing suddenly yells "ok, 100!". What the hell? I offer 125, they laugh at me and then I get it for 100? Somebody should explain math to these people. Of course he was a hotel commission tout and tried to make up the difference by taking us to an overpriced hotel but we are totally onto that trick and know how to avoid it no problem.
Then, a few days later, in Gaya, we are negotiating for a ride to Bodhgaya and I am telling them I will pay 50 rupees total for the ride. They wanted 100 of course so we walk and talk to those that stop to try us out. Then to one guy I say "50", he says "no, 10 rupees each". What the hell? There are 5 of us!
If that doesn't prove that they don't listen, I don't know what does. Really there's just no way to tolerate people that are that unpredicatably stupid. I'm not as mad as I pretend to be (most of the time) and I'm still enjoying the experience that is India. We laugh about it a lot afterward. I can see why all the long-term tourists in India don't move around as much so they don't have to deal with the hassle every few days. We have done way more than everyone else travelling this country and keep blowing them away with how much we've covered in India.


At 3:17 AM , Anonymous Andrew Chobaniuk said...

sounds like you got everything down pat :P
reminds me of ensenada mexico

At 2:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah yes, thanks for reminding me why I'm glad to be back Stateside...


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