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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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Lunch time in India is a Little Different 

   Lunch time here can be quite an ordeal. Over 4000 people work in our clients building and most all of them take lunch between 1:00 and 3:00. So needless to say it’s very crowded. Luckily we have a lot of options. Probably at least 50% percent of the workers bring their own lunches and…

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My weekend white water rafting and “camping” in the Himalaya Mountains

   I received a call late on Friday night from an Indian friend inviting me to join him and some friends for a weekend camping trip in an area called Reishikesh, in the Himalayas.  Physically I knew I should decline because I was still getting over a bad cold, but emotionally I needed it. My…

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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!?

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Our delightful visit to an Indian Home

Recently I had the pleasure of being an honored guest in an Indian home. One of our Indian colleagues asked us to join him, his wife and their one year old son for brunch.  I did some quick research on customs and culture but you never really know the credibility of the stuff you read…

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