Traipsing across North India

Being a tourist in North India ain’t easy.

These Indians have seen far and above more than their share of us foreigners, so I really don’t blame ’em for their attitude towards us, but damn.

It started as soon as we got to Udaipur, when we were crowded by rickshaw drivers looking for commissions from hotels, then nagged by shopkeepers to “just come in, look around.”

In Pushkar, people pushed poojas (pun intended) like there was no tomorrow, and refused to take no for an answer.

Hard-nosed Jaipur shopkeepers were working together, trying to con us out of our money. We were dogged by the people manning the rickshaws and bicycle-shaws, and the public bus conductors overcharged us every time (as we found out too late).

The way locals went on and on about the camel safaris, you’d think there was nothing to do in Jaisalmer except go on a lurching ride atop a camel. Most of the hotels were affiliated with an agency and though they promised to be ‘hassel free’ [SIC] they weren’t.

I nearly went ballistic on the overnight train ride from Jaisalmer to Bikaner. I woke up to an old man’s butt hovering right over my face, and long story short, we got into a yelling match before Xiker gave up his seat. I fumed as I looked up and down the car and saw a dozen other seats also with only one occupant. Why me, old man? (Instead of threatening to sit on my face with your butt, you could’ve just asked nicely…)

Later that morning, I caught a young fella (early 20’s) stealing MY samosas as I was paying for them, and whacked him on the arm really hard (without meaning to… Can’t always control my impulses!) The thing is, he wasn’t starving and he didn’t look poor either– I really think he just saw a foreigner who seemed to be not paying attention to her food, so he just tried to take advantage of the situation. (Messed with the wrong Texan, though.)

In Amritsar, however, I DID go over the edge. When trying to find a guesthouse, we were tailed by a few different people who insisted on helping, even though I clearly told them, NO THANKS. WE DO NOT NEED YOUR HELP.

One gave up pretty quickly when I turned on him and gave him the eye, but another dogged us for a good 10 minutes before I had to shoo him away, a bit more rudely than otherwise necessary… But, even as I watched, he just went up to another fella standing on a corner and set him on us. Xiker suggested we sit down for a snack. That worked out and we got a decent room for a good price, without paying any commissions.

Those are just a few examples of some frustrating experiences I’ve had since we got to N. India.

Don’t get me wrong: I still love India and her people as much as I did a few weeks ago… We still run into kind souls every single day.

I’m just quickly losing patience with all those who make a living off of us tourists. But, like I said, I don’t blame em… Just gotta learn to grin and bear it.

And then rant on my blog.