Thursday, June 18, 2009

Adjusting to life here...

It's kind of odd, but I haven't really experienced much culture shock. In fact, of all the places I've been to, I'd say the middle east is more intimidating than India. Why? Well for one, you can get by pretty easily with english alone....which is always helpful when you're placed in a new environment. But more importantly, because the people here are so damn open and friendly! Granted, half of them are nice to you because they want to sell you something (sidenote.....soft-selling is alive and kicking over here). But for the most part, people are willing to give a helping hand at every corner. They're are genuinely intrigued with foreigners, and are eager to learn as much from you as they can. 

So what adjustments have I made thus far? It's taken a few days, but I think I'm getting a handle on haggling with rickshaw drivers. It's a pretty standard routine once you know what to do. First off, you should agree on a price before getting in the rickshaw, and always pay at least 25% below whatever they quote you. Sometimes, if there is a group of cabbies, they'll collude on a which case you just have to name your price and walk away. Within 10 seconds, one of the colluders will inevitably break rank and undercut his peers.....thats when the bidding war starts :)

Haggling has also taught me a lot about reading people's body language. Indians are very slick with their words, and can be extremely convincing at face value. BUT....if they quote you a price and crack smile, you know that you're being fleeced. Usually you'll haggle over 30 or 40 rupees (75 cents to a dollar). It's not the money, but rather the principle that counts. You shouldn't let people take full advantage of you just because you are a foreigner. Nonetheless, I have to admit that it's damn fun....and is usually done very jokingly.

I guess that's all for now. I've got a few more things I'd like to write about later, most notably the ridiculously chaotic "driving" that endemic in this country, and the zoo that lives in the streets.

1 comment:

  1. i have no trouble imagining you haggling with rickshaw drivers. when you get back, i'm sure you'll start haggling with cab drivers, just out of habit.

    also i spot some gre words in there, i'm jealous of your new vocab. haha