About Me (2)
General Stuff (9)
New York (3)
People I've Met (6)
Preparations and Inspiration (3)
Lurking Around on Travel Sites
In My Own Bed
Pray For It
Seattle and Interesting Uses of Pyrex
Heading to Seattle
Weekend Out of Hippyville
The $330 Trip to the Oregon Country Fair
July 4th, 2004
More Books I've Read
Why Are These People Talking to Me?
There And Back Again
I Wanted To End It All
Summing Up the Gobi
October 19, 2003
The Taxi Haggle of Howrah
Bottled water: 10R
Chowringhee Street at the corner of Sudder was a taxi scrum. A river of yellow tops stood stalled; there was hardly room to cross the street, though of course people managed to squeeze their way.
Claudia and I, pack-laden, were cab-hunting for Howrah Station so we could catch our 2045 train to Bhubeneswar. Many hire lights were off. A taxi pulled into the "lane" nearest our bit of curb. I saw the flash of a hand. "It's all you babe," said Claudia.
Game face, on. I walked over and stuck my head in the open window. "How much to Howrah?"
"Ninety? We went there for 70 the other day!" (Well, not really. But from our other day's arrival in the City of Grey Air the metered fare from Howrah to Sudder Street was 78R.)
"All right." Claudia and I piled in, and he turned around into the taxi scrum. I'll spare you the details of the drive to Howrah. It was hair-raising here, mellow there, and always smelling of diesel, pollution, and a few million people stuck in a hot, humid city. Really, it wasn't too bad at all, if you're used to feeling like a salmon swimming upstream with 2,000,000 other fish on both sides of you.
Wait, one important detail, that we didn't see till we got in, and that of course our driver hadn't mentioned: the taxi was metered (not all of them are).
This changes things.
I leaned over to Claudia's ear. "He and I agreed 75, but this taxi's metered. What do you think?"
"That could work in our favor."
Eventually we arrived. Claudia got out of the taxi and started taking out our bags. I stayed put behind the driver and drew my wallet. The meter stopped at 27R. He turned to me, hand out.
I handed him three 10-rupee notes.
I pointed at the meter. "It says 27."
"No," but there was little conviction behind it. He held the notes tight in his hand and looked at me petulantly. "That's not--"
"Then why do you have a meter?"
He said nothing; I got out of the taxi. Keep the change, I thought.
Taxi to Kolkata's Howrah train station: 27R (plus 3R tip).
Winning your first minor haggling battle: priceless.
Posted by Ant on October 19, 2003 09:30 AM