December 20, 2007

Haggling in Jodhpur

Haggling in India is very much about the "walk-away." Compared to haggling in China or South EastAsia, where it is very much about a softer discussion in which both parties try to save face, the Indian Haggle is in your face, involves a bit of raised voices, and, to get that last little bit, requires walking away. It is not, however, as involved as the middle-eastern haggle, in which both parties are expected to yell at each other and I will invariably be accused of being the "mother of a goat."

With Indian rickshaws, the routine is very much:
Rickshaw driver: "Where you go? Rickshaw?"
Me: "Sure, take me to the clock tower."
"Ok, ok, get in. No problem."
"How much?"
"Get in, get in, no problem."
"How much?"

(pause as he sizes me up)
"100 rupees."
"100 rupees??? No way. 25."
"No. Those people (pointing at a random rickshaw) pay 100."
"Ok" (walking away)
"Ok, no problem. Get in. 70 rupees. Last price!"
"No. 30 rupees. Let's go."
"No vay!" (I start walking away again)
"Ok, ok. Last last price. 40 rupees. Indian price!"
"30 rupees"
"Ok. 30 rupees. Get in, no problem."

On the other hand, haggling for larger sums is more involved. This morning, I negotiated a taxi for tomorrow from Jodphur to Udaipur with our hotel owner. We both sat down at a table, exchanged pleasantries, commented on the weather, and talked softly. After about 20 minutes of chatting, we got down to business and I knocked about 40% off his first asking price. I am still paying 10% more than market price (if I had gone directly to a taxi driver), but I wanted the security of going through a hotel and having accountability.

We spent a lazy day up in Jodhpur's fort. Even after seeing multiple forts, castles, palaces, and temples over the past10 days, this one still stood out. I would highly recommend it to anyone. The views are incredible, the fort is beautiful, and the audio guide (commissioned by the Maharaja himself) is extremely informative and helpful.


Post a Comment

<< Home