Friday, September 2, 2011

Oye, you are not a foreigner?

1. I asked for a guide and autowalla in English. They talked among themselves in Hindi sure that I was a foreigner. The discussion was about how much to overcharge me. When asked about the fare I said - "Teen sau chalayga?" (Will 300 do?). Surprised and realizing I had understood the whole discussion I got away with Rs 350, unlike a Spanish guy who paid Rs750.

2. My autowalla knew I knew Hindi but was not sure how well I spoke it. Unexpectedly just before we reached the Queens palace he switched to Hindi "Lets talk a little in Hindi", he said. His Hindi was bad, worse than mine for sure but we went back and forth about the palace a little. "Good" he said in English. "Now madam when you go to buy a ticket, talk in Hindi. It will cost you Rs 10. If you talk in English you pay Rs 250"
Look foreign, talk foreign then you pay foreign :)

3. A crowd of young men were posing for photos. One walked over and asked me - "Ma'am, photo please." "Ok" I said, holding out my hand for the camera. I mean they wanted a group photo right? "No, ma'am. You take photo with us".
This happened five times during the day."Don't take offence," the autowalla explained, "they have not seen foreigners before. You are a tourist attraction for them."
 I must say on refusing most walked away politely. I really did not want to be shown as the foreign 'Humpi girlfriend' in some village.

4. Walking through the Queen's bath - a 15th Century swimming pool - I was surrounded by children. I had been shaking hand with them all day (see point 3). Some had come voluntarily and some had been pushed along by their parents - "Shake hands, say Hello". Just then a really white woman - blond hair and all walked in. I was amused to see a crowd bigger than mine following her. And then some of mine deserted me too !!! ;)

5. At the end of the day I was sitting at the platform looking through photos of the day on my iphone. Suddenly I realized there were some five people peering and "wowing" at the photos. "Ipod hai" "Very nice shot" I heard it all. I was tempted to shoo them away. Then I gave in to my exhibitionist side - I mean there was ready audience that did not care that half my friends and their SLRs shot things way better than this. I showed them photos from Seattle, of Rainer and paragliding, of fireworks. They were amazed and I was amused for the five minutes before the train showed up and I was not such a foreigner anymore.

For details on the trip read - 32 hours Bangalore to Hampi and back


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