Sunday, April 27, 2008

Srinagar, India: 26July2007

5 Dollar of Arguement

After breakfast, i walked to the houseboat that i wanted to stay. Half way through, someone called me. It was Michael, one of our car-mate from Vashist to Leh. He said he stayed at a nice hourseboat and asked if i wanted to stay there as well. So i went with him, who knows it might be a better decision.

The owner wasn't there when we get there, so we couldn't ask for a price. The houseboat was kind of luxury. Since most of my time will be outside instead of staying at the houseboat, so i am not willing to pay too for much for that. The worker at the houseboat mentioned a price of 1000RS for twin sharing. i don't see how could the price to hike up for another 300Rs from the 700Rs that Michael was already paying. But as the house owner wasn't there, so we decided to talk about that later and went to the shikara lake ride first. Well... this proved to be a bad decision later.

The shikara ride was a good chill out. We passed by the old city, the lotus pond, the floating garden and people's farm. The boatman was good in English, so he was a competance guide as well. It ended up that, we spent almost 6 hours on the lake. It was such a coincident also that, i saw Eneko, my travel partner at Vanarasi on the lake. He was on another shikara, fishing. We intended to have dinner together, but in the end, it just doesn't work out.

When we got back to the houseboat, it was already 10pm. i was tired to move to another place and i am reluctant to pay the steep 450Rs for the room. The owner was unhappy that i wasn't willing to pay the price and he was rude too. i was trying to explain to him that, it wasn't that his houseboat was not good or the price was too expensive. It was, i don't want to pay this kind of money just for a night of accommodation. i have never paid more than 300Rs for accommodation. That was not a big sum of money if you convert to other currency (Rs 450 is around USD 10), but for all these time when i am in India, i knew that this was not a small sum in Indian standard. A normal worker might earn 500Rs a month and i have tried not to convert. So in the end, to end the 'dispute' between the owner and me, Michael insisted he would still pay his 700Rs of room rate, while i pay the rest of 300Rs. i feel bad about this (it was just a matter of a few dollar ...), but since he insisted, then i just guiltily accepted. i would move to another place tomorrow.

Sometimes, i think there is no point to argue over a few Rupee. But sometimes, i would think, if i compromised with every few rupees of extra, then i would easily get over budget. Sometimes, it would really depends on mood as well. When i am in high spirit, i give tips like 10 Rs, but if i don't feel good, i won't hesitate to bargain over 5 Rs. :)

The child was trying to sell something to Michael. Normally they ride their shikara and approach the tourist in other shikara.
He was trying to sell some jewellery.
i told him that i am a Nepalese courtesan, so i do not have money to buy things from him. :P
In the end, i bought a dolphin bangle. i gave it to Wei Kwan when i came back.

Eneko on another shikara.
May be we both got some influence from Dario to want to come to Kashmir.
Eneko is from the province or area in Spain (can't remember the name of his place) where the people is asking for independent (The similar case of Quebec, where people have their own language and culture that is different from the majority others in the country). So he thinks he should really come to Kashmir.

The exquisite Mughal Garden.
We came with Shikara, by the lake, but many would come with the land transportation.

The local with their own shikara.

The shikara passing by the old town. Most of the houses are ancient and i think they looked beautiful. But some of the houses are abandoned or destroyed partially due to the war.

How a houseboat room looks like.

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