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Travel Story by Lydia Docker

  Secrets of India

Traffic chaos

If you are going to India here are some tips:
(Most of them are suitable for women).............

1) You have to be prepared with auto-rickshaws - they are very annoying and are a rip-off. You have to tell the driver where you going and ask for the price before getting on the rickshaw. If it’s too expensive, just walk off and find another one (there are rickshaws everywhere!). I'm sure that the driver will run after you and will agree to reduce the fare! Let them think that you are the boss!

2) Be prepared that auto-rickshaw drivers may take you to the wrong location and then ask for more money before taking you to the right location - just be firm and say no.

3) Remember that auto-rickshaws get lots of commission from the hotels. Actually the driver will try and persuade you to stay at a different hotel (not the one you want). If you agree, they will get a large commission (from their contacts/friends at the hotel) and the hotel will charge you more. If you are firm and refuse, the driver will take you to the hotel where you really want to stay (but you haven’t booked the room yet). But the driver will go and see the receptionist and tell them he brought you there, so he will get commission as well! The best solution is to ask the driver to drop you off somewhere like a restaurant or a famous landmark that is close to the hotel then walk there.

4) For women - when an Indian man asks you if you are married - just say yes! Don't say that you have a boyfriend because this means nothing to them and is interpreted as you having male friends.

5) Don't give the poor children sweets. Bottled water and fruit would be better for them, and even rice. Children in India don't look after their teeth properly and eating too many sweets destroys their teeth. The main problem is that tourists give them lots of sweets. The children also have a problem with kidney stones because they do not drink enough water!

6) If touts come and bother you - just walk off and don't make eye-contact with them. If they still bother you, just say, “po” (it is an offensive word to them!) or shout, “NO!”. But do not say, “po”, in front of children.

7) You will be photographed all the time by Indian people. This is because they want to have pictures of white people in their holiday albums.

For women) If men want to take pictures of you - just say no, because they will show the pictures of you to their friends and say that they have been sleeping with you!! But if a man want to take pictures of you with his wife and children - that's fine. If women want to take pictures of you that is also fine.

8) If you want to buy things, the shopkeeper will charge you more because you are a tourist. Just be firm, haggle and try and knock something off the price if you can. If you are not happy with the price, just walk off, they will run after you and will agree to reduce the price.

9) If a man is staring at you just stare back! He will look away - no problem, but if he won't look away, just say, “What?” And if this still doesn’t work just try and throw some water at him - he will walk off.

10) Beggars and disabled people in India will give you a hard time - just ignore them and walk off. I know it is hard to ignore them and you will feel sorry for them. But they will beg at you all the time; if you give them money then this encourages them and they will ask for more.

11) Tipping: just give 10 rupees for the service in a restaurant service, or when someone delivers the drinks to your room - so they will appreciate you and give you their attention and better service. You can give 20 rupees if you are really happy with their service.

12) Do not smile too much otherwise Indian men will think that you are up for anything and are flirting with them! This was a big problem for me as I always smile! But I improved a lot (different faces/moods) while I was in India!

13) If a man offers to buy you things such as drink, food, etc - just say no. This is a common scam in North India, as he will buy you things, then lead you to his shop or his family's shop - then take all your things such as money, passport, etc, or worse. If you say no in the first place they will leave you alone.

14) Never go out on your own at night. Always make sure that you are with someone.

15) It's sad but true - don't trust Deaf men either - just be careful with them or they will take advantage. You shouldn’t have any problems with Deaf women.

If you follow all the tips and keep your wits about you then you will be fine.

If you plan to travel around India - just drop us a line, ask any questions and we will be happy to give you as much information as we can!

Click on photo to enlarge

Auto rickshaw

Date Submitted: 18 Dec 2008

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