Interracial couple traveling to South India

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#1 Oct 5th, 2011, 11:22
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  • Sandragon is offline
#1
Hi everyone
This is the first time I've used the forum to ask a question so I HOPE I'm asking this in the correct place/fashion... If not, I beg your pardon..
I'm a white American, my husband is originally from India (specifically Chennai) We're in our 30's.
We will be travelling around South India (Tamil Nadu/Bangalore/Kerala) on vacation for 3 weeks in December and some of his friends have mentioned we might have trouble checking into hotels.. they seem to think that the hotel operators won't believe that we are married since we're obviously different races/castes etc..
Does anyone know if this is a valid concern?
I'm not worried about the general staring at the white lady kind of thing.. and I've become fairly comfortable with peoples disapproval of our breaking of tradition and all, I just want to make sure we won't get to a hotel and get turned away.. what do you think?
If it helps we're middle of the road travelers price wise.. we don't stay at the 5 star places but we're not usually camping out at the hostels either.
I appreciate your advice
#2 Oct 5th, 2011, 11:29
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  • RWeHavingFunYet is offline
#2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandragon View Post I'm a white American, my husband is originally from India (specifically Chennai) We're in our 30's.
We will be traveling around South India (Tamil Nadu/Bangalore/Kerala) on vacation for 3 weeks in December and some of his friends have mentioned we might have trouble checking into hotels.

Does anyone know if this is a valid concern?

I just want to make sure we won't get to a hotel and get turned away.. what do you think?

I appreciate your advice
What is your husband's passport?

Since you guys are married, do you happen to have a marriage certificate? If so, carry it.
#3 Oct 5th, 2011, 11:36
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  • Prakaant is offline
#3
First of All, WELCOME to IMike.
Then Welcome to India as married couple.
Till the time you are carrying your identity proofs (i.e., valid passports) and documents you need not worry about accommodation. You will be welcomed everywhere.
Regards. PraKaant
#4 Oct 5th, 2011, 11:41
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#4
@RWeHavingFunYet My husband's passport is Indian. He is an American Resident but remains an Indian Citizen. And yes we have our US Nevada marriage certificate, I'll be sure to carry a copy of it. Thank you

@Prakaant Thanks for the welcome
#5 Oct 5th, 2011, 12:16
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  • rebeccam is offline
#5
Sandragon, let me add a big welcome to the IM family!

Here's someone who will know the answer to your question, both from personal experience and running an Indian Tour Planning Agency.
Faith Pandian and her husband co-own Indian Panorama. She is from New Zealand, he is from Tamil Nadu.
If you write, send your original question (above) and tell Faith that Rebecca M from Indiamike referred you. (It's also a great agency for help with travel itinerary /hotels/driver, but she won't mind you just asking her the above).

http://indianpanorama.in/about_us.html
#6 Oct 5th, 2011, 12:40
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  • edwardseco is online now
#6
My wife brought her marriage certificate the first time we travelled. Then she realized that a husband's brow beaten expression was universally understood..
#7 Oct 5th, 2011, 12:51
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#7
Lol!! ((-:
#8 Oct 5th, 2011, 12:59
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#8
@rebeccam Thanks for the info! I don't personally know any other Indian/White couples so that's a great contact to make, I'll be sure to email her, looks like she's got a great business going.

@edwardseco HAHAHAHA! That's hilarious, however my husband has a perpetually cheerful demeanor (so much so that it can almost be annoying at times! hehe) so I'll probably take a copy of the certificate just in case Thanks for the laugh!
#9 Oct 26th, 2011, 03:01
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#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandragon View Post Hi everyone
This is the first time I've used the forum to ask a question so I HOPE I'm asking this in the correct place/fashion... If not, I beg your pardon..
I'm a white American, my husband is originally from India (specifically Chennai) We're in our 30's.
We will be travelling around South India (Tamil Nadu/Bangalore/Kerala) on vacation for 3 weeks in December and some of his friends have mentioned we might have trouble checking into hotels.. they seem to think that the hotel operators won't believe that we are married since we're obviously different races/castes etc..
Does anyone know if this is a valid concern?
I'm not worried about the general staring at the white lady kind of thing.. and I've become fairly comfortable with peoples disapproval of our breaking of tradition and all, I just want to make sure we won't get to a hotel and get turned away.. what do you think?
If it helps we're middle of the road travelers price wise.. we don't stay at the 5 star places but we're not usually camping out at the hostels either.
I appreciate your advice
In 2011? I know mixed couples experienced it in the mid 1980's.
#10 Oct 26th, 2011, 03:28
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  • jaz is offline
#10
it shouldnt be a problem in the urban areas, l know a indian punjabi-chinese couple & an Italian-Indian Sindhi (though they both look italian!) couple. Both had no issues. You might encounter some stares, esp in more rural areas but other than that l wouldnt expect any discrimination, India after all is mixture of all sorts of ethnic groups itself
#11 Oct 26th, 2011, 03:34
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  • kmalik is offline
#11
Similar situation, but never encountered any issues - including the need to show the marriage cert (which we never carried to India). This is a non-issue.

Stares, on the other hand, are a common occurrence with women in general, more so with foreign and particularly white women. But, you will live through that...
#12 Nov 2nd, 2011, 12:18
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  • nayantara is offline
#12
My husband, who is Anglo-Australian, and I (Indian background) travelled around South India for our honeymoon and didn't experience any problems. Even the staring was minimal (he got more stares and photos taken in the north!).
#13 Nov 2nd, 2011, 12:46
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#13
In Benares's Sarnath when I was travelling with my ex-colleague and friend who is an Irish volunteer (she is white female and I am pure chocolate male), I was asked by police to show my "guide licence" and it was not in a very friendly tone at all !!! That's the most shocking thing that ever happened to me while accompanying a lady foreigner. I don't know what would have happened if we had to check into a hotel together.
I had once gone to see another ex-colleague cum friend of mine in my own Calcutta's Fair Lawn hotel (very famous with foreigners) and I was not allowed in till my friends came out and threatened to check out en masse for being so crudely racist.
My suggestion is don't go to hotels which are populated entirely by foreign tourists in the touristy areas of the city. These hotels are very wary of local boys disturbing the white women (I think Fair Lawn had similar concerns with me). Avoid looking up Lonely Planet/Rough Guides for hotel suggestions. Most of their suggested hotels in the lower to mid budget are very foriegner oriented and discourage Indians.
In your case a marriage certificate should help but be prepared for anything. If your husband looks very NRI-ish (as opposed to looking local) then it should not be a problem. I cannot explain or pinpoint what NRI-ish looking means but ask any Indian and he will know what I mean :-) Best of luck.
#14 Nov 2nd, 2011, 13:22
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  • NonIndianResident is offline
#14
I think all the above are correct. I've never had any problems with my Indian spouse (except once when my friend and I were waiting at a table hidden in the garden and kept asked the staff if my husband had come with the car yet. Finally the staff told me the driver had brought the car but they didn't think my husband was with him!) But I have definitely heard of occasional problems for other people, such as Calcuttan describes. So it's not likely you'll have a problem (especially if the husband is NRI-looking -- my husband's not an NRI but maybe he looks plausible, I don't know). Carry your marriage cert neatly folded in the pouch where you keep your valuables. Hopefully you won't need it, but who knows. And anyway maybe it's time to apply for a PIO card, and then you'll need it.
#15 Nov 2nd, 2011, 14:10
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  • Calcuttan is offline
#15
Quote:
Originally Posted by NonIndianResident View Post Finally the staff told me the driver had brought the car but they didn't think my husband was with him!)
This is hilarious and I can identify with this. Even I look like a chauffeur !!! Every time I try to park at the "self driven cars only" side of the parking lot in Taj Bengal here (not very often do I go there), the security guard comes running to tell me this is not the right place. My reaction depends on what the fellow looks like !!!!
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