Worst experience with other travelers?

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#1 Feb 20th, 2012, 03:34
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#1
What's the worst experience you've had in India with fellow travelers?

Mine went like this - I was taking the bus from Pokhara to the Nepal/India border at Sunauli, the bus was packed so I grabbed the opportunity to ride the roof for what I knew was to be a very scenic trip.

I was joined on top by 4 Australians (2 couples). We were getting on great for an hour or two, then one of them found his wallet was missing. It seemed obvious to me what must have happened - I guessed it fell out of his pocket as he was climbing up to the roof. However, they immediately all suspected me of stealing the wallet, and for the rest of the trip, completely ignored me, and made sure that I could hear them talking about me behind my back about how I must have robbed it. Horrible atmosphere altogether.

I legged it on them as soon as we got to the border, which probably only increased their suspicions, and made it across to Gorakhpur for the night train to Varanasi. The next morning in Varanasi station I bumped into them again, and here they confronted me about the wallet. I just smiled and walked away not wanting to let them ruin my day, but I was seething inside.

Very strange/unpleasant experience. I've shared dorms with horrible, smelly snorers, spent time with some of the most culturally insensitive/obnoxious people on the planet, but this experience really sticks out for me.

What about you guys?
#2 Feb 20th, 2012, 03:47
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You probably wont want to hear this but my worst experiences travelling ALWAYS involve Israeli travellers. In India it became beyond a joke. I was subjected to frankly racist abuse from many Israeli backpackers- Rishikesh in particular was hotspot for this.

The reason? Well, i have a tattoo of Arabic writing. Thats it! The irony is im not even a Muslim( although the tattoo has meant ive never had to pay to enter a mosque-which is a bonus), but many of them mistook me for one and got angry. I seriously dont understand why people with such small minds travel- especially to India.

I didnt let this behaviour put me off though and ive met many great Israelis- but all of them are slightly older than the just finished conscription bunch. It is a great shame and I feel these are the travellers who give Israeli backpackers such a bad name.Sometimes i think they need to open there eyes to whats going on elsewhere in the world.

My next tattoo might be the words ''Chill out'' and il probably get them in Hebrew
#3 Feb 20th, 2012, 03:53
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Hi Sarcastic Nomad, I'm not Israeli, but my experience of Israeli travelers in India is similar to yours (w/o the racist abuse). Living in Israel is a different experience altogether, but has helped to shed some light on that particular type of Israeli traveler. It's not really something to get into (again) on IM, as the discussion never really ends well, but yes, it is an issue for many travelers.
#4 Feb 20th, 2012, 04:01
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[QUOTE=Shiver me Timbers;1352381 It's not really something to get into (again) on IM, as the discussion never really ends well, but yes, it is an issue for many travelers.[/QUOTE]

Yeah, lets try not to go there!
#5 Feb 20th, 2012, 04:21
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Nothing bad at all that I can recall.

Paharganj was definitely the most unusual though. I was totally oblivious to the backpacker/budget scene after having arrived in India purely for business purposes & having never read or even browsed an LP or RG. An Indian colleague suggested that we go to Paharganj & hangout as it was one of the most popular gathering holes for westerners in Delhi. 'Yes! Absolutely, let's do it!' I said.

I had pictured in the back of my mind sports bars, ex-pats within the business community, plenty of conversation, mingling, good music & an abundance of cleanliness. However, what I found was anything but ..... a bunch of hippie-esque travellers in a sort of state of semi-meditation, staring out over their chai & who either did not speak a lick of english or were too burnt out from the night's previous activities to say hello or give a nod of acknowledgment. 'Hello! Hello, How are you! Which Country you from?(joking) I said in passing to at least a half dozen of them. Nada. It was a bit of an eye-opener to say the least .... for me not them.

Maybe I didn't quite fit into the dresscode or looked a tad like a narc with a business suit & briefcase ..... but I did realize that it wasn't exactly the recreational-get-together hotspot that I had been picturing or hoping for.
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. ~
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#6 Feb 20th, 2012, 04:55
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Originally Posted by Sarcastic Nomad View Post The reason? Well, i have a tattoo of Arabic writing. Thats it! The irony is im not even a Muslim( although the tattoo has meant ive never had to pay to enter a mosque-which is a bonus)...
Actually, tattoos are haram in Islam.
#7 Feb 20th, 2012, 07:01
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Nothing particularly bad from me but my last train journey in India wound me up sufficiently.

We were due to leave Goa for Mumbai but decided to stay another day and I managed to get 3A instead of the 2A I had booked. Normally I prefer 3A but that's an all day train so 2A made sense for the four of us.

We got on a Madgaon and an hour of so later a man, his wife and their twenty-ish year old son got on and appeared confused to see us there and ordered us to move. I refused and said our seats were here. He'd booked the lower berths and told me it was a sleeper train so I had to move. Typically there were none of those signs around stating the times for sleeping, but I agreed "yes, it's a sleeper - at night, not now'. I told him to find the TTE, which he did and got waved away. When the TTE came for our tickets an argument started and the TTE clearly told them they were wrong and they should take a spare berth if they wanted to sleep.

And that's what the two men did, leaving the wife to sit for the whole journey, never offering her the chance to sleep. A couple of times they said to me "if your daughter wants to sleep she can go on the middle berth" but she was happily reading so I refused. And that's the way the atmosphere stayed for 10 hours.

We decided to get off at Dadar rather than CST as it was closer to the airport, but we got confused about which station we just went passed, so got up, donned rucksacks, struggled to the exits, only to find out we hadn't even reached Thane. Our annoying neighbours found this hilarious.

After getting off at Dadar the taxi driver then tried the "you've only handed me Rs100" when I'd clearly given him a lot more. At that point I may well have completely lost it.

Nothing bad but not a nice way to end a wonderful trip.
India blogs: monsoon meandering (2011) and big cats & holy ghats (2009)
Type 1 diabetes blog: circles of blue.
#8 Feb 20th, 2012, 09:30
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Oh what a fun thread! Dare I confess my recent pettiness?

I was recently in Agonda at my favourite beach place. I was happy to get my shack from last year, a beautiful rustic place with a porch and chairs, right on the beach…absolutely no one around, and a chill vibe with the other travellers. (as usual, at this beautiful place!)

About two weeks into my idyllic stay, a French family with one small child decided my part of the beach (a very LARGE beach) was IT for them. They proceeded to park themselves about 10 feet from my porch, directly in front of my shack. EVERY DAY, ALL DAY. I tried coughing like I had tuberculosis (they complained to the owner of my shack!) and getting into fake obnoxious phone calls on my phone. Yeah, I know, pretty low, but I was pissed.

Finally I got the shack owner to talk to the woman. Her husband came back later in the day and threatened the shack owner, who is not a guy to be threatened!

Things were getting a bit ridiculous, so I thought I’d take things to the max. I never do stuff like this but…. When she showed up as usual, I borrowed the shack owner’s IPOD and speakers, locked them in my shack and put AC/DC “Highway to Hell” on repeat and left for lunch. When I came back, the shack owner was laughing, he said “she lasted 15 minutes” (thanks AC/DC!)

Anyway, on my last day, the whole fam damily walked down the beach, almost in the surf, and they all craned their necks in my direction and KEPT GOING, YES!!!

I think this is called “shack rage”!
It might be the best of times or the worst of times...but it's the only time you've got!
#9 Feb 20th, 2012, 09:35
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Brilliant! The AC/DC tip has been duly noted
#10 Feb 20th, 2012, 12:39
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#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiver me Timbers View Post What's the worst experience you've had in India with fellow travelers?

Mine went like this - I was taking the bus from Pokhara to the Nepal/India border at Sunauli, the bus was packed so I grabbed the opportunity to ride the roof for what I knew was to be a very scenic trip.

I was joined on top by 4 Australians (2 couples). We were getting on great for an hour or two, then one of them found his wallet was missing. It seemed obvious to me what must have happened - I guessed it fell out of his pocket as he was climbing up to the roof. However, they immediately all suspected me of stealing the wallet,
My lot are still doing our bit to be remembered abroad. See also Paul Theroux, "The Great Railway Bazaar", 1975.

"He put me in second class with three Australians. It was a situation I grew to recognize over the next three months. At my lowest point, when things were at their most desperate and uncomfortable, I always found myself in the company of Australians, who were like a reminder that I'd touched bottom."
Last edited by unclelach; Feb 20th, 2012 at 12:40.. Reason: Punctuation
#11 Feb 23rd, 2012, 23:51
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#11
Not the worst - but:

Kasol in Parvati Valley.

I did not have dreadlocks. Or a Blanket draped about me. Nor a chillum on the go. This did not go down well with the other western patrons of the chai shop!

I walked in. Clocked the stares and mumbled comments, did a 180 turn, and left.
#12 Feb 24th, 2012, 03:16
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#12
OK - My worst!

I had been staying in Mcleod Ganj for a few months and had made good friends with an English lady staying in the same guest house as me.

She was suffering with Multiple Sclerosis and was sick of the drugs she was being given in England, and had decided to try herbal therapy from the Tibetan hospital.

She had also developed an interest in Buddhism during her stay, and decided she wanted to go to the Dalai Lama's public lectures at his residence which were taking place at the time.

We stuck up a good friendship, and being a big bloke at 6 feet 5 or so I was her wheelchair porter of choice particularly when it meant scooting about town or pulling her wheelchair up flights of stairs!

The Dalai Lama's lectures are always very busy. I had no idea about wheelchair access, so we figured play it safe and get there a couple of hours early.

After negotiating the flight of steps, we made our way over to to the foreign tourists seating area and manoeuvred her wheelchair where she could have a half decent view of the proceedings. (This was pretty easy as the seating area was basically a large shallow stepped area)

While we were waiting there we noticed lots of scraps of paper and cardboard with peoples names on them on the floor. Turns out a lot of people had arrived very early in the morning to stake their seat, to return later.

Not a problem I figured. She's in a wheelchair. no one is going to move her on.

How wrong I was:

A western lady arrived and (this is the bit that really wound me up) she "namaste'd" us with the held together hand gesture and in a sing song lovey dovey voice said "Im sooo sorry - but you're going to have to move - this is my seat. You're in my place. I put my name down".

This was said whilst smiling at us with much batting of eyelids. I noticed she had a cushion and had bought lunch with her. Clearly no-one was going to spoil her planned afternoon at the temple.

I was so angry I actually couldn't speak...

A German lady behind us suddenly flipped out and started shouting how people were behaving like tourists reserving sun loungers. She started grabbing all the little pieces of paper and card laid down and started throwing them over the edge of the seating area.

My friend turned to me and said "please get me out of here", so we quickly left the temple. Me stunned with what we had just witnessed, and her close to tears from the humiliation.

I'm not one for confrontation, but I do regret not saying to the lady:

"If the Dalai Lama mentions compassion in his lecture - listen f*cking hard"
Last edited by ChrisJ; Feb 24th, 2012 at 04:43..
#13 Feb 24th, 2012, 03:33
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#13
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Originally Posted by ChrisJ View Post A German lady behind us suddenly flipped out and started shouting how people were behaving like tourists reserving sun loungers.
Ah, the irony
#14 Feb 24th, 2012, 03:37
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#14
Can we confess here too?

I would like to publicly apologise to the young mother from Kullu who, with her two small children, had to share an overnight train journey with me snoring my arse off...

#15 Feb 24th, 2012, 03:50
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Originally Posted by ChrisJ View Post Can we confess here too?

I would like to publicly apologise to the young mother from Kullu who, with her two small children, had to share an overnight train journey with me snoring my arse off...

A confessions thread could do well here I think.
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