Well, it’s been quite an eventful day here in Delhi. I’ve left Buddhi’s protective custody and I’ve gotten the whole college course in travel in India in one day! (It doesn’t help matters that I am now with a full-blown cold (Thanks, Carolyn, for reminding me that it’s better to have a cold in India than to not be in India!)
As I went about my day at first I imagined I’d title this post “ROOKED”. That happened first–right when I arrived in Delhi. A porter came onto the train and asked if I needed help with my bag. I must have seemed like the perfect sucked with my moment of indecision because I knew Buddhi has arranged for a driver to meet me at the train–but I didn’t know where or whether it was like the airports where folks can’t come past a certain security point. (yeah, right, high level security in India) I should have known it would be a teeming platform and I also hould have known how organized Buddhi is and his driver met me right as I got off the train.
But the porter had already grabbed my bag and was hauling it off the train, so I thought “why be a hero with my 70 lb bag? For a few rupies I can pay someone to haul it for me…)
OK, so we’re walking along, chatting, since it turns out the person that met me is Budhi’s nephew, and MBA student here in Delhi. I am trying to keep from coughing, attend to the conversation, and keep an eye on my bag all while walking through tens of thousands of pedestrians.
We get to the car, and I want to take a pic of this porter who has hauled my 70 lb bag ON HIS HEAD the whole way. He says no pictures, and in a bold moment I tell him to turn around then. 🙂
OK, then he tells me 500 rupies.
WTF? WHAT? That’s TEN DOLLARS! He starts talking in Hindi to my companions, and evidently tells them that I agreed to it earlier. Heck no, I’m a budget traveler…I’ll haul a 70 lb bag 7 miles to save $10. My companions shrug. I pay the 500 rupies and chock it up to another lesson learned in India, which I’d rally already known from my Central and South American travels:
- Always ask in advance how much something will cost.
- Never let yourself feel pressured or be in a hurry in these situations.
_and (this i am adding to my list just today_
3. ALWAYS carry a variety of bills with you. If I’d had a couple of hundreds, I might have given him that and told him that was all he was getting (still a FABULOUS wage for that guy, who I am sure too the rest of the day off thanks to my stupidity) but since I only had the 500 rps notes that the cash machine dispensed, I was stuck.
Plus, I’m NICE.
Which is my downfall, and probably need to make that lesson #4 above.
So. I get a ride in a lovely car (drat! too shaken up to take a pic!) that looks like the ones all the British dignitaries used to use. They guys deliver me to my hotel, wish me a pleasant stay, tell the hotel guy to be nice to me, and I go to my room. Thankfully it’s cool, the bed is comfy, I order some food and take a nap for a few hours since I was up at 3:30 am and I am getting a cold.
The day’s events aren’t over…I’m going to take a dinner break and tell you about getting hijacked earlier tonight…