Some notes from my trip to India:

  • Customer Service doesn’t include a smile. Very few service providers smiled at customers, and at first this was unnerving; but I began to realize families still smiled at each other.  This could be because many of the service providers were of a different class, while families are on the same level.  I’m not sure.
  • The infrastructure is strange. For a trip to Taj Mahal, we chose a bus tour that was competitively priced.  In order to catch the bus, however, we had to take an auto rickshaw to an unmarked location (the driver got lost three times), then get picked up by a cab, and then catch the bus.
  • You get what you pay for. As for the trip itself: what should have been a 12 hour complete trip became a 22 hour trip, including an hour at a gift shop no one cared for.  It was far less comfortable than a similar trip in Costa Rica costing a tenth as much.  And the actual tourist attractions cost 10x more for foreigners.
  • Class level is more apparent. Going to a liberal university, I see America as a society with a lot of poor.  But in India, the difference is more striking. A true mix of rich and poor, new and old.  The Metro in Delhi is very nice: rfid coins, clean trains, and many stops.
  • The concept of personal space doesn’t exist. Metro passengers would sooner push into a train than wait 2 minutes for the next one.
  • The concept of lines is not appreciated. It was completely normal to jump lines, whether at the Metro or in traffic. This is true in the US, but at the Delhi Metro they actually had door guards to manage the chaos.

Thoughts on India