Beautiful Udaipur India

The Ups and Downs of Travel and Tourism in India

I’ve been in India for four months now and so far I’ve visited Agra, Jaipur, Udaipiur and Rieshikesh. Booking reservations and traveling around India is quite different from how we do things in the USA.

Your passport

First of all, all reservations, even domestically require a copy of your passport. They want a hard copy and copy machines are not readily available, so someone is always taking your passport from you and then heading into the back room with it. The first time that happened I about had a panic attack. I’ve heard stories about travelers getting their passports taken away only to find they have to buy it back. Fortunately that’s not the case here!

Middle men

Another thing that annoys me is that you can’t call any resort or tourist activity directly to book a reservation. You have to call a tourist service. There are so many middle men, each getting a piece of the pie, that it drives the price way up. Sometimes these middle men are just scammers that take your money and run, so you have to be very careful. Taxes are also very high, 20 to 30 percent in many areas!

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Getting my hair done in India

My Crazy Hair Salon Experience in India

First of all, my apologies to my wonderful hair stylist back home in the states!  Unfortunately it had been way too long since I got my hair colored, cut and styled and I knew I had to do something about it. So I visited a few salons and decided on one owned by a young hip looking Asian fellow just a couple blocks away from our hotel. He wears his blond hair in a man bun and looks pretty progressive, so I decided to give him a try.

My appointment was at 10:00 and I arrived 5 minutes early to find him and his staff outside smoking. Most people smoke here. Since the smog is so bad I think they figure there’s nothing to lose. Obviously he and his staff were on “Indian time.”  Everyone is consistently late here for everything. He finished his cigarette and then unlocked the front door and asked me to take a seat.

 

The first thing I noticed was that he had 8 guys (all very young) working in about a 300 square foot space. One started sweeping, one started looking through my hair, one brought me bottled water and the rest stood there and stared at me. The owner brought me a book of hair colors and I pointed to the one I wanted. Then Ramm (the guy touching my hair) asked me to sit in one of the stylist chairs. I could feel myself sweating already as the tension took over. I mean it’s my hair!!! What if they screwed it up!?

You see everything on the roads in India

The Causes of Traffic Nightmares in Delhi, India

Aside from the pollution in Delhi, the next hardest thing for me to adjust to has been the traffic, and I’m quite certain there is a correlation between the two. With over 8 million vehicles a day on the road, the result is like Mr. Toads Wild Ride, a game of Frogger and the worst possible gridlock, all combined into one horrible nightmare.  There are very few cross walks, so people just cross traffic whenever, and wherever they feel like. If you hesitate you’re screwed. You just have to do it with confidence, trusting that the traffic will go around you. It’s a new kind of adrenaline rush!

Traffic laws aren’t enforced

The next most notable thing aside from pedestrians crossing everywhere is that there appears to be no enforcement of any traffic laws. A three lane highway becomes five lanes of traffic with everyone squeezing in shoulder to shoulder and honking boldly and often. The honking basically alerts other drivers that the one honking is proceeding so they had better get out-of-the-way. It is non stop and very annoying. Most roads are one way roads, and it’s all too common to see people pull U turns and go the wrong way down a one way street just because they are fed up with traffic. I can assure you that when you see headlights coming straight at you at night on what is supposed to be a one way road, it will make even the most courageous tourist’s butt pucker!

Poverty in India

6 Interesting Things I See Almost Every Day in India

I find that I am developing an everyday routine now. It is human nature, things that used to surprise me I hardly notice anymore. So I thought that I would share with you some things I see almost every day in India.

Fruit Carts

Fruit carts are everywhere. I was warned by locals not to eat any of the fresh fruits and vegetables because I might get sick, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to live a year without fresh fruits and veggies, so I took a risk. I’m glad I did because I haven’t gotten sick to my stomach yet and they are quite delicious. My favorite is fresh guava. They cut it up for you and dip it in salt. Yummy!