And it Never Fails…
February 7, 2013 § Leave a comment
Oh, tuk-tuk drivers… it’s a love/hate relationship with every single one. When I arrived in Agra, I walked out of the train station to find a sea of drivers ready and waiting. Is all I could hear is, “Hey miss, right this way”, “Hey miss, very, very good price for you”, “Hey miss, me know good hotel”, and my personal favorite, “Hey miss, he’s no good.” One person saying that, fine. Twenty, not so fine. It’s enough to make your head spin. Personally, I almost always go with someone who isn’t jumping down my throat. This time, my selection was a young man by the name of Shabu. He was calm, spoke decent English, charged 20 rupees less than the guidebook suggested, and he didn’t try to pressure me, which I appreciated.
While seated in the back, he handed me a small notebook with several entries from travelers alike. After flipping through it, I thought he might be able to offer a good suggestion for my evening meal. I said that I’d prefer to eat where the locals do, and he said he knew just the place. On that note, I asked that he return to fetch me in a few hours.
He arrived just before sunset and took me on a quick spin around the city, and then to see the backside of the Taj Mahal (AMAZING…more on that later!), where there’s no entrance fee. After that, he offered to take me to the train station to sort out my ticket for Varanasi, which is next on the list. He was so incredibly helpful and patient, and best of all, he let me drive his tuk-tuk! As a kind gesture, I offered to buy him dinner, to which he declined, but opted for some tea instead, and joined me at the table. This is where things went south…
Our conversation quickly went from where did you grow up and how large is your family to why I am traveling alone, do I like massages, and what is my relationship status – let the red flags wave! Somewhere in the middle of our twenty questions routine, another man seated next to us, grabbed my leg from under the table and attempted to remove my shoes and socks! What the hell!?! I practically leaped out of my seat. Long story short, my boyfriend is now my husband, I didn’t finish my dinner, and I ended the night on an uneasy note, curled up in my bed, missing home. Deep breaths.