The Pink City

Trip Start Jul 01, 2004
1
50
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Trip End Jan 03, 2005


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Flag of India  ,
Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Within the first two blocks of walking from my hotel to the tourist office I must have been stopped by 3 different people. Each of them wanted to know where I was from, where I was staying, where I was going, and essentially, what could they sell me at inflated prices. All accused me of being rude when I got fed up with questions that were clearly loaded - such as - "When are you leaving Jaipur? I know a great place to buy your tickets", etc. All conversations ended with the same line, "Don't you want to meet natives? Isn't that why you came here?" I've spent enough time speaking with Conan, Maya and random people on the train that I'm not willing to spare time for touts.

After passing up an auto rickshaw ride to my destination for 40 rupees, I found a cyclo rickshaw wallah who agreed to take me there for 20 rupees. When we arrived I tried to hand him 20 rupees, and he suddenly decided that we had agreed on 40 rupees. I told him that I knew that we had agreed on 20 rupees. We went back and forth for a few minutes, and he progressively raised his voice to sound more threatening. Meanwhile, a group of kids (ages 8-17) ran up and encircled us, much like what happened in high school when everyone expected a fight to break out at any minute. Suddenly he started telling me that since I'm a guest in his country I must be right, and he wasn't going to accept the 20 rupees. I offered him the 20 rupees one more time, then turned and exited the circle to the building that I had meant to go to all along. While I was buying my bus ticket, he came in and stood next to me. I ignored him. The manager of the place asked him what was going on, and he told his side of the story. Afterwards I told him mine. When the other guy walked outside again, the manager turned to me and said, "That guy is a bad guy, and I think he's drunk. You should exit the other side of the building, next to the police station." Meanwhile, the guy started pacing around outside the office, in front of the door from which I had entered.
Being in a poor mood from everyone harassing me, and knowing that I was right, I decided that if it came to it, I would come to blows with the drunk cyclo rickshaw wallah over USD $0.50. [Clearly I've been in India too long.] At any rate, when I left the office he immediately approached me, and we went through the whole ceremony again. The difference this time was that he offered to accept 35 rupees, then 30 rupees, then eventually took the 20 rupees while cursing loudly.
For most of this, I really didn't want to come to blows with a guy who spends his days bicycling around vs me in my 140 lb state all for a title purse of $0.50 USD. I guess I'm stubborn though when I know I'm right, even if it leads me into making bad decisions.

The following conversation takes place right after I'd given away my penultimate pen to a kid who had come up and asked me for one.
9 year old kid: "Give me a pen"
Me: "I don't have any more pens to give away"
"Give me your chocolate"
"Mmmm.. I wish I had some chocolate"
"Give me your candy then" (pointing at my container of Smints)
"Oh, you want a smint, sure you can have one"
"Give me all of them"
"Forget it, you get nothing then"
"OK, give me two"
"Too late"
Depressing how many conversations a day I have similar to that one.
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