Bakh and I left our hotel early this morning to make our way to Matheran. Matheran is a hill station with great scenic views and great hiking. We took three trains and a taxi up a winding road. They crammed as many people as they could in our taxi. This meant that Bakh was in the middle in the front seat, so he was situated precariously with respect to the gear stick. Our taxi’s speedometer kept jumping up and down, making it impossible to actually know what speed he was going. Nevertheless, he got us to our destination.

Vehicles are not allowed to operate in Matheran, so the taxi dropped us off as far as it could. There are horses and human-pulled carriages that you can use, but we decided to hoof it. After paying a small fee, we began our ascent. The views were amazing. Green countryside, huge waterfalls, and fresh air. It was such a great break from the air and noise pollution of the city. The only thing to be wary of are all the monkeys. They are always on the lookout for somebody holding food. The trip was a great success. I got some good exercise and saw some terrific terrain. Unfortunately, my shoes took quite a beating.







After getting back, I took a shower and went out for dinner. The restaurant I went to is located near an auto rickshaw stand, which I use all the time to get home. Unfortunately, the rickshaw drivers like to drop the “foreign tax” whenever I try to get a ride home at night. Using the meter, I should only be charged 22 Rupees. They ask me for 50, 80, or sometimes 150 Rupees. When I ask them to use the meter, they always say it’s broken. So, I usually try to negotiate 30 Rupees as a fair price. When this doesn’t work, I like to screw with them and ask if they’ll take me home if I pay them 1 Lakh (about $2,000) or 1 Crore ($200,000).

Fortunately after lots of “negotiation” I found a guy to take me for 30 Rupees. He asked me what country I’m from. To drive the point further that I know what a fair price is, I told him I’m from India. He said “Nooo! I’m from India, where are you from?” I told him I’m from Kolkata. He responds with “No sir! I am from Kolkata!” Too good to be true. I tell him that we’re brothers and I say a few words in Hindi to him. He responds with long sentences in Hindi, to which I respond with “Acha” (which means “good”) and “Nahi” (which means No). It was very funny.

This entry was posted on Saturday, August 18th, 2012 at 5:29 pm and is filed under India. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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