Jeff from the METAR board is currently on a world tour. If you have any plans to take a world cruise you'd do well to read his accounts of his adventures. Currently he is in India, but by searching you can find the other countries he's visited this trip.The man knows how to pinch a penny and doesn't mind telling you how to do so in any part of the world he happens to be in.His accounts are long, but interesting and full of insights. If you just want to hear/see only what you want to hear and see then the cruise ship's tours are for you. Jeff however mealy uses the cruise ship as a base of operations and jumping off point for his expeditions into the local customs, cuisines and shopping adventures.He throws in a few cautions along the way:Usually only the local currency will be accepted (except in countries with failing currencies). It is, of course, possible to get lost in a place where no one speaks English (getting rarer nowadays), but as soon as the panic wears off, communication is generally pretty easy and people are generally hospitable and anxious to assist you in getting on the right path. Anyway, it is this last method of sightseeing that we will be using today.We headed out before the heat and humidity and decided to try to experience the real everyday life of Mumbai. We took a cab to the front of the Victoria Terminal, which is a most remarkable rail station inspired by St. Pancras Station in London. It was built during Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee year and is an extraordinary conglomeration of domes, spires, Corinthian columns and minarets in a style described by journalist James Cameron as Victorian-Gothic-Saracenic-Italianate-Oriental-St.Pancras-Baroque. Today half a million commuters use this station every day. I figured that this would give us a feeling of what rush hour looks like in one of the world’s most populous cities and I wasn’t disappointed. Trains pull in every minute with men hanging out of the doors. Since the trains frequently only stay put for less than a minute, the second a train stops people start jumping off into the growing crowd rushing towards the end of the platform. There are a couple of special “woman only” cars at the front of each train (presumably in respect to Muslim requirements).you can read the rest here:http://boards.fool.com/ot-jeff-takes-a-trip-east-indiaomanjo...
Another excerpt:After getting our fill of the slums, we boarded a local train at Mahalaxmi traveled from this station (for 5 rupees) to experience the life of a typical Mumbaikar and travelled about 6 stops to Churchgate Railway Station- another one of Mumbai's busiest hubs on the local commuter train network. We jumped off the cars shortly after the train arrived at Churchgate Station. We were greeted by a phalanx of shoe shine “boys” (some rather elderly) offering their services for 7 rupees a pair. They advertise their services by clacking their brushes and creating their own overlay of racket. Unfortunately, I wasn’t wearing leather shoes so their cacophony was wasted in my case.We had timed our arrival at the Churchgate Railway Station to see the dabba-wallahs, members of the Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association make their food deliveries. This event starts taking place at 11:30 sharp. At 11:15, a man gets off a train carrying a two meter long wood try on his head filled with lunch containers and lays it down on the platform. Our tour guide from yesterday walks a group of tourists to this, and points, while explaining what they are seeing. Then they boarded a train to head to the dhobi ghat. I realize that this event was planned to give them a feeling of authenticity without exposing them to the full chaos of the real thing. (And the Chinese male tourists involved took photos showing how they would look getting off of the train without realizing that it was the woman’s car they were using – complete with a large image of a woman’s head next to his).http://boards.fool.com/ot-jeff-takes-a-trip-east-indiaomanjo...
(Several people have suggested Jeff print up a dead tree or e-book edition of his travels as they'd be worth money to adventurous travelers. So far no commitment from Jeff.)Into the Middle East now:While the truck has seatbelts in the cab (and this was used by the handicapped passenger we took), the back of the truck doesn’t. The ride was 95% safe and 5% got a lot of adrenaline flowing rather quickly. While the handicapped guy was able to see this area from the truck’s cab and one of the ship’s passengers who is handicapped, but uses a Segway for mobility (and shows up in amazing and unexpected places considering her challenges), was seen by our tablemates at least most of the way through the Siq in Petra (I’ll have to ask her if she finally got all the way down), these two sites are unfortunately extremely difficult for those with physical challenges.http://boards.fool.com/ot-jeff-takes-a-trip-east-indiaomanjo...
He writes very well, and I have enjoyed his travelogues.Having spent a bit of time traveling in India, I have especially enjoyed his recent series of posts.
Not only does Jeff know how to pinch a penny, but he does it in style. Jeff is quite adept at getting what he wants, at the price he wishes to pay, and has a good time doing it. I am learning a lot from his tales of adventure (and bartering).Donna
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