What an intriguing title! We will get to that part in a little bit, first I need to do a recap. Last time I blogged we were heading to Jaisalmer, cool little city with a fort as a center piece… basically like every city in Rajasthan. This fort I liked the most out of the bunch, We had dinner in the fort looking over all the city which was amazing. The next day we went on our camel safari, we had an awesome group of people and it was a ton of fun. Camels are so odd. Anyway if you want to read more about our time with the camels and Rajasthan click here for Sara’s blog.
Next we went to Jodhpur, great fort centerpiece and stayed at a nice hotel with an awesome view. One of the guys on our camel tour suggested a breakfast place for us to check out. It was awesome, just a little frying pan where a man would cook tasty omelettes right on the street. So if you’re ever in Jodhpur make sure you check out ‘the omelette shop’. We also went spice shopping and zip lining at the fort which was a lot of fun.
Udaipur was the last of the ‘purs’ and the last city we’d go to in Rajasthan. Udaipur was the nicest looking city for sure, with a beautiful lake and whitewash buildings it was a great way to end our two weeks through Rajasthan. We enjoyed all the wonderful food Udaipur had to offer, there were some great restaurants lake side which made the hectic city seem more calming. The boat trip to the nearby island gave us some good views of the city. A few days later we caught a rickshaw to the train station for our night train to Mumbai (Bombay). Sara was a little nervous for our first train ride in India mostly because of the bathroom situation, I can’t relate cause I don’t have to squat and I can/have gone pretty much everywhere so I was expecting the worst but it was perfectly okay for me and I had no issues with the train that night. Personally I think trains are the best form of travel….
Plane – have no leg room, can hardly recline and can’t walk around all the time.
Car – comfortable but can’t walk around plus usually someone need to drive.
Bus – usually full recline seats nice and comfortable and stops for food but roads can be rough and could get car sick.
Boat – usually tight, hot and bumpy.
And finally the train the true honey hole mode of transport! – usually cheap, everyone has their own seat/bed, food and drinks served to you, it’s smooth and you can always rock a good sleep on one, also you can walk around and stay standing and people don’t stare vs. in a plane you get up, 40 people staring you down cause apparently it’s a crime to stand in the aisle.
Anyway now I’m going to explain to you how you can also lose $200 in 23 seconds!
We step out of the train just after mid day to the blistering heat of Mumbai. So humid and uncomfortable. We walk to where all the taxis are waiting and then the classic swarm of taxi drivers asking where we need to go hits us in the face… I knew the price of how much the taxi should be because of my Uber app and I could get a Uber to take me to my destination for around 250 rupees ($5 CAD) so when I asked them how much to our hotel they were all saying ‘1500 sir, very far.’ I was abnormally rude to all of them and basically told them to f off. After talking to multiple taxi drivers and lots of bargaining I got this one guy down to 300 rupees to take us to our hotel, little did we know this guy was about to do the most elaborate scam I’ve ever seen….
Firstly Sara and my travel knowledge I would say is pretty good, we are always aware of scams, pickpockets and sketchy situation, we also have a few years of travel and multiple countries under our belt. I have been scammed and robbed multiple times but this one takes the cake. We got in this guy’s van cab and immediately things were off. I tried to put Sara’s big bag (nothing important in there only clothes) in the back of the van along with mine. Before I could do that he grabbed it and put it in the front passenger seat. I took my big bag and put it in between Sara and I in the back. Just as we start going he says ‘sir very hot lower the windows’ I agree and we both lower our windows to get some air moving. A few minutes later the traffic is heavy and we are hardly moving, it’s probably 32 degrees so he stops dead in the middle of the road and motions me to open my sliding door and roll up the window. Keep in mind ‘motioned’ me. This guy knew English but the very moment he needed to explain something all of a sudden he knows no English. He gets really frantic not saying anything and now he’s reaching in the back and attempting to open the door himself. It was frustrating because we didn’t know what he wanted because he wasn’t using his WORDS and wasn’t telling us what he wanted. After he was done my side he starts freaking out at Sara and motioning her to do the same thing, he looked like he was panicking because there is honking from the cars wanting to go and the heat was really getting to us. As he motions to Sara to open her door, slam it shut, then close the window, he gets so pissed that she isn’t doing it right that he leans all the way back grabs both her purse and small bag, throws it to the passenger side floor and closes it himself. At this point Sara and I are so confused with what’s going on and I try and ask for her bag back because I can’t see it from my angle. He says some Hindi/English I don’t understand and after about ten more seconds I lean forward and try and reach for the bag myself but he sticks his arm out to stop me and says ‘no no, not yet, not yet’ I’m extremely hot and frustrated with what’s going on and then he asks me ‘do you want air conditioning?’ And hands me this paper with pricing for the air conditioning for our ride. Immediately I say no and he says ‘okay okay open the windows’. I open the window and again ask to have the bags back he gives them to me and we go on about our ride. He tries to sell me on the AC a few more times and by the end of our ride I was so frustrated by all the bullshit that went on in the van. We spend the night in Mumbai and the next morning we went on a tour of the Dharavi slum and in the afternoon we flew to Goa. We didn’t think anymore of that strange taxi ride we had nor did we talk about it, until…… our second day in Goa when I ask Sara for the money so I can rent a motorbike, we look in the purse and it’s gone. We thought back to when we took it out of the ATM to that moment and the only time the purse was ever out of Sara’s hands was in that taxi. We suspect that there was a hidden compartment under the front passenger seat and when the bag was sitting on the floor out of our sight, a second person went through it taking anything valuable that wasn’t too obvious (Sara’s tablet was also in there and wasn’t stolen) so that’s what we suspect happened. We will never know for sure but we are 99% sure that is how it got stolen. Of course we were sad/mad about it but there is no point holding on to those feelings for too long. What’s done is done and we can’t do anything about it. We learned from this and have already started to be a lot more rude and literally lie about where we are from and how long we’ve been in India (We now say 6 months), just so that we don’t seem like India backpacker newbies.
We are currently in Goa soaking up the sun and beach hopping. This place is extremely touristy but a nice change from Rajasthan. We have also encountered a lot of Russians… apparently this is the equivalent to Cancun for North Americans. The Indians here speak really good Russian and try talk to us in Russian and we just look at them like ‘what.’ We will spend a few days here and then head south to Gokarna and then inland to Hampi. Will update soon!