The most persistant tout in India

#1 Apr 15th, 2004, 17:55
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Nov 2001
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Lets here your tales of persistant touts

Mine must be the drum sellers that patrol Colaba bay in Mumbai

We had a few days to waste in mumbai before returning to Europe.
Every time we went out on the street we were like a magnet for a particular group
Perhaps it was because we had our son with us ...(2years old at the time) perhaps we looked like we'd buy perhaps he just liked us and wanted to spend his time with us.

Anyway eachtime we walked up the main drag he would follow us trying to give my son a drum to which we obviously stopped
After numerous "meetings" I inquired Ok babu how much .. a fatal mistake have entered his world and he is closing in on a sale his mind
only 500 rupees sir ...You can but laugh was a 10rup drum
I usually dont entertain chancers ...and he was told this
Escape to the ice cream parlour (forget its name) after 30 minutes an hour perhaps we walk out ...He's there! ...20 minutes later he is still there or lurking waiting to pounce

That was day one continued evey tme we left the hotel or wndered into his patch the same guy ...and no other drum seller would approach us. the hunter had marked his prey with an invisible mark and the others knew we were hsi property, his prey.
By day three and probably spending many hours in this man's company through no fault of our own he said OK you have for free ....Being playful ...and wanting some fun with him i took the drum said thankyou and ran as fast as i could ...His panic was almost audible
round a corner up an alley and in for a chai laughing
most Indians also found it funny.
Pleas to my partner were met with its his drum its his problem go find him nothing to do with me

after enjoying a chai i re-emerged and was spotted ...hahahaha
to which after 3 days of following and talking etc etc etc
we purchased the drum for our son for 15 rupees ...We felt he deserved it and he'd given me the best laugh I'd had in Bombay in a long time
All i could think was thats a very poor return for such amount of time invested ...
My son still has the drum and it still makes me laugh looking at it

On a previous post touts got a bad press we really not want to have these bizarre episodes?

he got his sale my son got a drum and I freaked out a tout ...well for a few minutes as it dawned on him he'd met a crazy westerner that might just steal his drum

Lets here your stories
#2 Apr 15th, 2004, 18:13
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Jul 2002
Umeå , Sweden
  • vistet is offline

Re: The most persistant tout in India

Originally posted by Bryan
....Being playful ...and wanting some fun with him i took the drum said thankyou and ran as fast as i could ...
Funnily enough ; , I`ve had the same scene with a Hare Krishnaite in my hometown (!) , his panic when I accepted the `Gita (splendid volume, nice illustrations) and moved on was actually audible : he yelled.
#3 Apr 17th, 2004, 07:14
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Mar 2004
San Antonio, Texas (USA)
  • darthmilmo is offline

Haven't experience the touts in India yet... will do so later this summer though ...

Once in China, I had a chinese follow me on a 3 hour hike up and down a secluded portion of the Great Wall of China at Simatai... it was hillarious.. I kindly told him I wouldn't purchase the book of pictures he was selling for the equivalent of $5 USD (which was still a bargain compare to back home).... he just persisted on following me... he went ahead and showed me the interesting encriptions and details of this portion of the wall.. even though I couldn't understand him, he proved to be a great guide... he even took several pictures for me as I was travelling alone and wanted some of me .... anyway, by the time we retured, about 3 hours later... I ended up bargaining it down to about $2 USD, which was still a rip off... but I figure it was well worth it! So, it's not as much saved as you, but it was memorable nonetheless.

Wish me luck with the Indian and Nepalese touts .

#4 Apr 25th, 2004, 13:30
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Jan 2004
Manali, Himachal Pradesh
  • Dr Funkenstein is offline
Here's my nomination. This happened earlier this week in Aurangabad.

Walking down Station Rd, a young lad comes up to me.

'Shoeshine, sir? Only 50 rupees.'
'I'm wearing flip-flops.'
'OK, only 30 rupees.'
'But I'm not wearing any shoes.'
'As you like, sir. Only 20 rupees'
<Pointing to feet> 'Look! There's no shoes for you to shine!'
'OK. Just 10 rupees for you, sir. Best price.'

And so on and so on, all the way down the street until I had to dive into a rickshaw for cover!
Out There Somewhere : My Travel Blog.
#5 Apr 25th, 2004, 14:26
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Apr 2004
  • beach_hippy is offline

Thumbs up

I think you are on the right track there with the insane westerner approach.....very effective
#6 Apr 28th, 2004, 22:49
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Apr 2004
  • lobo is offline
I was in goa in a nice place called benaulim but because I had "very white skin" the touts knew i was fresh to goa.
They were coming at me from all angles. I ws on the beach and i saw one spot me about 100 feet away ,a woman selling saris.
She quickened her pace and I had a bright idea, i kicked of my shoes and walked into the about up to my waist and turned round.
She loitered near the waters edge and waved at me, i waved back (safe in the sea). That was it she hoisted up the bottom of the sari she was wearing and came in after me.
she stopped when she got into about 2 feet of water and started to show me what she had, always telling me that "looking is free" .........just when u thought it was safe to go into the water......................... ...
#7 Apr 29th, 2004, 03:15
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Nov 2003
  • Wanderer22 is offline
Good one Lobo. The most important thing to keep handy is your sense of humour! I was approached in a Kathmandu bazzar by a woman selling khukuri knives. Most of the ones I saw were flashy and made for the tourist trade. Fortunately this lady had a couple plain ones such as the locals would use. We started dickering and the price approached a reasonable level then stalled. I suggested that we flip a coin.... If it came up heads I would buy for 20 rupees LESS than the last price. Tails and I would pay 20 rupees MORE. There was a huddle while the woman consulted with her friends. Lots of chatter in Nepali that I did not understand..... Finally with a huge toothless grin the lady said "Yes". By this time a crowd had gathered to watch the fun. The coin was flipped high into the air and when it came down was tails! The knife cost an extra 20, but the added FUN was priceless. Everyone was grinning and smiling.
Still have the knife and its edge is as keen as ever. Probably made from an old truck spring as the steel is quite good.

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#8 Apr 29th, 2004, 04:11
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Jun 2003
  • fat freddy's cat is offline

Great stories!
Wanderer how the heck did ya get THAT through customs?! Hee hee
#9 May 14th, 2004, 13:23
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Jan 2004
Manali, Himachal Pradesh
  • Dr Funkenstein is offline
That's a good story, Wanderer.

I had a similar one in Ho Chi Minh City. There's a lad there that sells photocopied books - Lonely Planets, 'The Beach', 'Are You Experienced' - the usual stuff ...

When you're haggling with him, he challenges you to a game of 'Scissors, Paper, Stone'. If he wins, the book costs $1.50, if you win it's $1.

It just so happens that he's probably the best 'Scissors, Paper, Stone' player in the whole world . He beat me easily and I saw him beat about 3 or 4 other people, too. When he's victorious he goes 'Show me the money!', too.

Well worth the extra 50 cents.
#10 Jul 13th, 2007, 20:11
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Sep 2001
  • steven_ber is offline
Not a funny story, just an idea.....

A Kashmir tout wouldn't leave me alone on my first day in Delhi, he was a nice bloke and I was really pleased to be back in India, he kept saying he just wanted to get to know me.

So I said I'd take him for a meal and a beer, but that he wasn't allowed to mention Kashmir in the time we were together, he agreed.

We had a good meal, too many beers and I learnt a lot about his family and his life in Delhi, he never mentioned Kashmir.
#11 Jul 13th, 2007, 21:35
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Sep 2005
Abode of Glooscap
  • PeakXV is offline
There's one extremely persistent one on Baba Kharak Singh that has been attempting to escort me to a nearby Kashmiri emporium ..... for at least the last 12 years.

He must have a memory like a mensa elephant because he seems to remember everything about each previous encounter/conversation and thus begins his spiel by jawing ....... " yeeeeeeeeees sir, soooooooo long since I see you ...... the last time you say that you come for a quick look on your next visit ..... sooooo coming now sir?"
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ~
T. S. Eliot

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