1. What’s all the fuss about? Trying to get from one place to another takes time, planning, and problem solving. Local bus to sleeper bus to sleeper train to local bus…things will go wrong, they’ll take longer than you anticipated – hell, your train may arbitrary decide it’s going someplace else. Yesterday a booking agent claimed to be a “government booking office,” where prices are much cheaper than travel agents, and then proceeded to try to rip us off to the tune of 500 rupee. Be careful, gather information, and always check ticket prices online before booking with an agent. One of our trains is wait-listed, so we have to deal with a travel agent, but we know roughly how expensive it will be.
2. In the three days we’ve been in Hampi, we’ve been trip planning a portion of every day. That’s why it’s nice to stay in one place longer than four days – at least two of those days you aren’t thinking about how to get to the next place.
3. It may be the last bit of haggling that pushes you off the tipping point. Last night we went to a place called Chill Out Cafe. At the end of the night – after four hours in the cafe, and at least an hour trying to get the bill – they attempted to charge us 10 rupee more on every main course dish. We argued that this information wasn’t listed anywhere, and they pointed to an unreadable ripped off sticker on the front page. We argued for a good ten minutes, but the customer isn’t always right in India. In fact, it’s possible they are never white – especially goras. At the end of the day we paid them the extra 50 rupees and vowed to give them a bad review on Trip Adviser and find a new place to eat. Finding a new place this morning was rewarding – we got a bakery and a real cup of coffee out of the deal.
4. Talking through these scenarios with other people is necessary. Otherwise, you hold all your bad haggling experiences inside until you explode about 10 rupees.
Lots of love,