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Age and Treachery will triumph over Youth and Anger

Monday, May 09, 2011

Our trip to India started badly, and rapidly got much, much worse. It's a long story, but we went to Kashmir on the spur of the moment to stay on a houseboat, and they held us hostage till we agreed to buy a tour of Rajasthan! Well of course we refused, so they threatened to cancel our flights back to Delhi and throw us in the water! It was quite scary, but using cunning and deceit we escaped. This is what happens when middle aged people go backpacking without a plan - we've never been people for package tours.

After that the trip improved immensely, we ate some wonderful food and saw some wonderful things.

I put on almost a kilo, but I don't think it was the food, I think it was sitting in the car for too long. Anyway, I'm back now and ready to lose that kilo and a few more besides
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    WOW -- just saw your "answer" post now. Good for you for having guts and the self-assurance, even in a foreign country, to insist on what you need, and to not get pushed around, AND not give in to the "I'm a tourist so I guess I'd better just go along with what's happening right now since I don't know anyone here" impulse. I like the Headmistress philosophy -- I must try that sometime soon! :D
    2583 days ago
    Puffpastry - no, we refused to buy their tour, and stuck to our guns. Until we arrived at Srinegar (Kashmir) airport, had not realised our mobile phones would not work there. On the first day they took our passports (needed if we wanted to go into the Himalayas, apparently) and 5000rupees. I woke up at 2am, and DH had not been to sleep

    "Am I mad? I handed over our passports to a stranger, we have no receipt, we do not know where we are, none of our family know where we are and we have no contact with the outside world!" When he put it like that, I too was unable to sleep. Rami turned up first thing next day with out passports, explained that he is illiterate (learned English from tourists) so could not write a receipt. Every time DH tried to go for a walk, he was headed off at the pass by Farouk, who got him in conversation, so we could not find out where we were (Mr Bashir drove us there from airport)

    We made a plan. ~I told Rami I HAD to speak to my son on an important family matter. He offered his mobile, even though it was a UK number. I said "No, I want to go to an internet place NOW, and I want to be left alone for an hour to have a private family conversation"

    I gave him the full Headmistress, and am taller than him, also family is very important in that part of the world. Turned out we were only 10 mins walk from an internet place! In my purse I had a card from a friend who recommended a car company in Delhi who did tours of Rajasthan. Called them, asked them to meet our flight, sent email to son explaining all.

    Then we agreed to sign up when we landed at Delhi, and all we had to do was ascertain which of the 2 drivers waiting with our name was the right one - spotted him immediately, but then Naz's driver came running up, followed by another man with a huge bunch of flowers - darling I couldn't make this up, could I?

    This outfit is recommended in Lonely Planet and were fearful I would write a bad review (their fears entirely justified) I took the flowers, thanked them and went with the first driver.

    One of the great things about getting older is that some young people are quite intimidated by age. All you need to do is imitate the strictest schoolmistress you ever had - the one you were really scared of. You'll be surprised how often it works
    2599 days ago
    I agree - I want to hear the whole story, as long as it doesn't pain you or give you anxiety to tell it. If so, then I will wait. :) My DH and I were learning Punjabi several years back (before the twins) and we learned a lot about the culture. I was warned that if you refuse an offering of a drink or food - they consider it an insult and as if you don't care about them or their feelings. Another gentleman reminded me to be wary of their intentions as well - because many are so business driven that they may be deceitful and greedy. I'm sorry you got in with the wrong crowd but I'm relieved to hear that it got better. My DH and I are spur of the moment people too.
    2601 days ago
    Are you totally serious?! You are not making this stuff up -- you were forced to buy a tour package while on a houseboat?! Okay, you have GOT to get into the storytelling world and share this life of adventure you have -- it would be selfish not to! emoticon
    2601 days ago
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