Helpers come in all kinds and varieties. They can be any passerby in India who sees a stranded tourist with his luggage somewhere on a busy intersection and knows about some reward in the hotel down the street. Such an unsophisticated amateur helper will offer to help carry things for free to one fine inexpensive hotel where, for example, his brother or uncle works. Helpers generally like to refer to family ties: for some reason, they think that in this case, a sudden desire to help a stranger looks much more convincing. However, the hotel owner, quickly figuring out what it is, will gently take the arm of his “brother” or “nephew”, and together they will show the rooms.
The rickshaws and cab drivers at the airports and railway stations, especially in Delhi and Mumbai, have a more professional approach. They know by heart all the addresses of the hotels and hostels in the city, and most importantly, the amount of remuneration that can be received there. And even if a tourist has decided in advance where he wants to stay, but the hostel does not guarantee a fee to the intermediary, the driver will offer his help. To begin with, he will tell in a friendly way about all the horrors of the tourist’s chosen place of residence. Of course, it is the dirtiest and untidy rooms in town, and the area – the dampest and dustiest, and in addition, with clouds of mosquitoes. In the selected hotel, there are frequent thefts, and the price for the room has long been not what is listed in the guidebook. If the arguments of the driver are not convinced of the tourist, and he does not intend to change his plans, the driver suddenly “remembers” that just in the morning took a nice couple of Englishmen at the address listed, and in the hostel was not available rooms. What can you do – it’s the season! The tourist does not believe it, and the driver holds out his phone, the number he remembers by heart or dials himself at the tourist’s dictation: “Please ask!” The victim incredulously picks up the phone, and there is someone who politely informs him that there are no vacant seats. To go after such a call seems silly. However, places in the tourist selected gesthouse may “not be” in the case if the driver warningly ran to ask about everything at the reception. But there is always a way out – it’s that amazing place whose address the driver knows.
Delhi rickshaws in general are always full of enthusiasm. For example, a tourist’s shopping trip is a field uncultivated for help. The driver knows the best places in town where “the richest range, the lowest prices, the highest quality” – and a good commission for the middleman. Or you can take a rickshaw to a museum for free, but stop by for a minute at “three good stores” where you don’t even “have to buy anything. Paying a tourist to drive turns out to be much more profitable than driving a rickshaw.
Another habitat for the helper population is train stations. The sight of these “buildings,” which look like a ruined anthill, is a bit shocking at first. The desire to ask someone about the location of the ticket office or the train schedule arises by itself. And suddenly a person appears with the intimate phrase “Can I help you?” After learning about the route of the traveler, the man regretfully reports that there is a big problem with tickets now, that the trains are overcrowded or none at all. And agrees to help and take the confused tourist to a beautiful office nearby, where you can buy a ticket in the right direction, but not on the train, but on a “mini-bus”, which is more like an ordinary cab. Well, the price will be higher, but since there are no train tickets. By the way, even knowing where the ticket office is, you can still end up in the hands of a helper. At the Delhi train station, for example, tickets are sold on the second floor, but already on the stairs is a man waiting for his victim, informing him that the ticket office is not working, and ready to immediately help with tickets for the same “mini-bus”.
But perhaps the most sophisticated helpers reside in the city of Varanasi, which is visited by many tourists every year. They are true professionals. Like freelance artists, they are not assigned to any particular hostel or café, nor do they mark a one-time profit; they become true “friends” and will wait for the next year’s tourist again. The Varanasi town helper will most likely be called Vicky or Lucky, he will speak wonderful English and make eye contact, he is very young and attends all his classes at school. His brother is probably a musician. His CDs can be bought nearby. He knows the cozy cafes and good stores where his relatives work. His boatman uncle can take an inexpensive boat ride on the Ganges. Vicky knows many of the stories and legends associated with the city and will be a good companion throughout his stay and may even be someone to whom the tourist will send letters long after he has returned home. A special kind of school helper is found in the city of Cajuraho. After a short tour of the temples of the city, they will invite you to their school, where the baton will be taken by the teacher, who will paint a picture of the plight of the school. The money raised from the tourist’s visit will be divided between the teacher and the schoolchildren.
However, the helper is a rather harmless phenomenon in India. After a few such meetings a traveler understands what’s what and becomes more attentive to his new acquaintances. The most reliable way to avoid this kind of adventure is to use the services of a travel agent, which is the best way to organize the delivery of the tourist to the place of rest, think about leisure and activities, will monitor his safe departure home and give a certain guarantee by taking all the work (and at the same time and money) helpers to themselves. But it will be a different journey without the nice touch of adventure.
Deception the Indian way, or Popular Scams to Cheat Tourists
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For most Europeans, India is a fairy-tale country with beautiful architecture and a mysterious culture. But when you go there as a tourist, it is worth throwing off the rose-colored glasses and dispel the romantic haze of upcoming adventures. Do not forget that the Indian people with fair skin – a potential prey, with which you can get something. In order not to spoil the pleasure of rest in India, it is necessary to get acquainted with the different types of fraud that may be waiting for you in a distant country.
1. Street massages
Do not be surprised if you will be approached by locals on the street in India and without any preamble give you a massage. The massages usually start on the hands and end on the head and most of the masseurs on the street are professionals and know how to give a quick indulgence. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a gift or a gesture of politeness. After the massage the Indian will ask for payment, and in case of refusal he will scold you from head to toe. So, if you are not ready to pay for imposed services, immediately push away the intrusive passers-by.
2. public transport
Tourists in India always pay more. In cafes and restaurants there are two kinds of menus: one for locals, the other in English for visitors. Naturally, the prices in the tourist one are much higher. The same goes for the fare. When you ask for the price of the ticket, be prepared that you will be told the amount by 20-30 rupees more than in reality. So if you don’t want to be cheated, ask the locals for the real price and pay on the bus without change.
3. “Helpers” at the train station
If an Indian approaches you at the station and offers to help – politely decline. The scheme is simple: the local will ask for your ticket to see the train number or track, and then surprisingly point out that your ticket is fake and offer to sell the real one. You can be sure that the ticket you buy will turn out to be a fake.
Many travel agents make good money on tourists offering to cash their cards. For this service they take about 12 percent of the amount, saying that for the conversion of funds in an ATM you will pay even more. In fact, it’s a scam. Most often, the commission at an ATM does not exceed 100-150 rubles.
5. Travel arrangement
Travel agencies know how difficult it is in India with everything that concerns traveling around the country. It is also not easy to find a good hotel on your own. Therefore, travel agents kindly offer everyone who wants to visit India services for planning and organizing leisure time. This usually includes tickets for intercity buses, tours, and hotel reservations. Of course, this is very convenient, but be prepared to pay for such service two and sometimes three times more than it actually costs.
Beggars in India are at every step. And they do not sit modestly on the sidelines with a sign, and openly pester tourists. People with disabilities, women with babies, children and men of all ages literally attack passersby, demanding to buy them food or give money. Tourists should by no means indulge the beggars. Once the other beggars see that you give someone local something, they will jump on you in droves and it will be very difficult to get rid of them.
When you are in India, you are bound to meet people who will ask to be photographed or offer to have their picture taken with them. Often they dress up in sadhu clothes or do something unusual. Don’t think of their offers as a courtesy. They will definitely ask for money for the photo.
8. Cab rides.
Before you get into a cab, talk to the driver carefully about your route, ask for a final fare, and find out what is included in the price. In this country cab drivers charge extra for services such as loading luggage, air conditioning on, stops, and driving on toll roads.
Getting change in India is something of a fantasy. Do not be surprised, but in this country no one has petty cash, or rather everyone pretends that they do not. When you look at your large bill in the store, bus or cab everyone will just shrug, secretly hoping that you will spit and leave without change. So if you want to save your money, make sure that you always carry change.
When you come to India, be prepared to be plunged into an atmosphere of courtesy. Help will be thrust upon you at every turn. Take your bags to the train station, show you the way, take you on a shortcut – you are always welcome. But for their help Indians expect financial rewards. But they never say anything in advance.
11. hotel room
Hotel rooms in India always look better on the photo than it is in reality. But that is not the worst news. The thing is that your pre-booked room can easily be given to people who arrived earlier and paid on the spot. So when you’re in India, it’s best to look for a back-up plan.
12. Prices .
In small stores in India all products are often marked. This, however, does not prevent vendors from charging 10-20 rupees more. Inattentive tourists often fall for this trick and pay.
13. Bottled Water
When you buy water from local vendors, you can not be sure that it is purified and not poured from the tap around the corner. In a country with water problems, you shouldn’t be so careless. Before you drink something, make sure the bottle is sealed and the cap matches the color. If in doubt, go to the store and buy a soda, they don’t know how to counterfeit it in India.
Locals often ask tourists if they have been to India before. If the newcomers answer that they have not, it is a call to action. Those who come to this country for the first time are sure to try to cheat or overcharge. Often when tourists ask to be taken to a certain hotel, they are told that there is no such hotel in the city and offered to take them to another. Naturally, the driver gets money for each guest, and the hotel itself turns out to be much worse than the one where you originally planned to stay.
No doubt India is considered one of the most beautiful and interesting countries in the world. However, there are so many contrasts in it, but it does not fit in your head. As a continuation of the topic 20 shocking facts about India that you did not know before.