18 November, 2009

Beware When Arriving in India


For the novice, India can be a difficult place to maneuver.  Arriving at the airport will feel as if you've left planet earth and ended up in some very crazy place. Outside of the arrival area, crowds are overwhelming.  People are shouting, everyone is trying to get your attention by waving signs. Just take a deep breath and you'll be fine.

If you can, have someone pick you up. If you  must take a taxi to your hotel or other destination, there are a few rules to follow:
           1. Change only as much money at the airport bank as you will need for one day . ATMs are better places to change your money.
           2. There is an office in the arrival  lounge where you can get a taxi voucher for your destination. Take that route. Not everyone shouting "taxi" is really a taxi driver. Taxi drivers will over charge you if they can. You need to know how much it really costs.
           3. A person outside will guide you to your taxi.
           4. If there are two people in the taxi, ask the second person to exit. Do Not get in until the second person gets out. As in many places in the world, everything is fraught with some danger. One to one is better than two to one.
            5. If the taxi driver tells you that your hotel is not good, full or any other thing to discourage you from going there, beware. He gets a percentage if he takes you to the hotel of his choice.
            6. When you arrive at your destination, give the cabbie the voucher.  If you want to tip --- fine, but it is not necessary.

India is a wonderful place, but it is often exasperating.  You will enjoy it more if you know what to expect. I will tell you more as the days go by.

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