So a few days’ into our India trip and we are learning some of the quirks (slowly but hopefully surely).
One of the biggest challenges in Jaipur was crossing the road. The traffic is literally constant and even when you think you might be on a pavement and in a (relatively) safe zone, quite often you would find that a rickshaw or motorcycle also felt that that same area was their fair game. Near our hotel was a road called Mirza Ismail Road which was one of the key arteries of the new city. It’s known locally as MI but quite quickly Peter started referring to it as the M1: crossing the Motorway in the UK would probably be less terrifying. You just had to plot your route and then go for it making sure not to make any sudden movements and hope that the traffic would anticipate what you were going to do next. And then, at night-time, was the added challenge of being especially wary of the 25% or so of vehicles that were unlit.
Relying on ATMs, we initially ran into a few problems. While all machines seemed to recognise our cards and provide an individual personal welcome message, many were reluctant to actually dispense any cash to us. Once we got over our initial feelings of worrying that the machines had been tampered with, we soon learnt that only a few ATMs allow foreign cards to be used so we have to pick and choose with a little more care going forward.
There’s (nominally) lots of metal detector security gates and airport style x ray machine for bags – e.g. at entrances to metro stations, railway stations and also to major sites. However, there seem to be different policies applicable at different places. Common to all, however, seems to be that the more you beep, the quicker you are allowed through – eyebrows only seem to be raised if in fact you have nothing setting off the machine. It’s not entirely clear how they work or what in fact they stop. Indeed at the railway station, while you are told to put your big bags through the airport screening X ray machine, it seems perfectly acceptable to walk through the metal detector with your day pack.