14 November 2005

India is an extraordinary place. I've been here two weeks now, but let's take it back to the beginning.

I arrived in the wee hours of 2nd November, which was the wind-down of Diwali—the festival of lights. So everyone was sending fireworks into the air, forgetting for one night that the money they spent on projectile explosives will render them hungry for the next two weeks.

I arrived at 2 am, tired, hungry and exhausted. I knew where I was going but the cab driver insisted the guesthouse I wanted to go to was crap. I had prior knowledge of this scam: cabbies tell you your hotel is closed, burned down or no good and take you to another hotel from where they'll get commission. In this case he happened to be right. My luxurious box of a room had two manky beds and a cosy ensuite. A shower nozzle was strategically placed over the rusted toilet, which was in turn surrounded by a pool of water.

Thanks to a lot of fear mongering by the UK public health system (which I now know is bullshit) I had packed a mosquito net impregnated with DEET at the ready. I felt as though I was on safari in a claustrophobic sewer, where the smell had killed everything but the rust and mosquitoes.

I tried to avoid the toilet at all costs, but I couldn't sleep without going number twos. So I resorted to my famous hovering trick: no butt contact with anything. I have been using this technique for the last two weeks and, together with the protein supplements I'm taking, I've noticed a 50% growth in my thigh muscles.

It was a major culture shock when I first stepped out onto the streets of Delhi, but perhaps all the anxiety I felt was due to the mere 4 hours of sleep I had over the previous 48 hours. Finding out later that there is only one legitimate tourist office in Delhi, I was unfortunately taken advantage of by one of the hundreds of dodgy 'Tourist Offices'. I was sold a 3-day tour for 190 pounds but, after getting some food into me and coming back into coherence, I realised I was overcharged by about 90 pounds.

I called the company and complained to them over the phone—for taking advantage of me in my weakened state—and after threatening to report them to the Australian embassy I managed to negotiate a refund of 120 pounds from the 190 pound non-refundable amount I had paid. 70 pounds was kept for services already rendered and 'cancellation costs'. I figured it was best not to cause too much of a fuss as they had my passport and bank card details. But I am actually happy that I learned this very valuable lesson relatively cheaply.

Now I've become ruthless when haggling. So it took a day or two but I finally found my feet. Now I'm having a great time now. 


8 comments:

  1. Sevag Sarkissian15:00

    Hey couz,
    Good to hear everything is working out. keep us updated and post some pics soon.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sevag Sarkissian15:01

    Yay,
    I was the first to leave a comment, and now the second. I just feel you will be more loved with 2 comments as opposed to one.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous19:29

    Hey dude, Its your cousin Edgar, thought I would be the third person to leave a comment and wish you all the best in your effort to become an A grade Bollywood actor...

    ReplyDelete
  4. norma20:16

    Miss you! Sonia is cool and has been claning like a demon. xx

    ReplyDelete
  5. Vatchay18:55

    Ara

    Hope you have finally found a toilet in which you can total contact shit. Last time mum spoke to you you were sick so i hope you are ok. Today I took Sebastian to see Hi-5 in concert, it was totaly pimping! Check your email if you want to see some up to date photos of Seb and Sienna.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  7. Anonymous12:51

    Hey Ara, its Kachig. Good to hear from you. Viv says hi. Hope to see you soon.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous20:22

    Hey bitch. You need to spend less time writing and more time drinking you pussy!

    Gald it's going well oh enlightened one

    ReplyDelete