Monday, February 18, 2008

side effects of the "tourist" look

i went to hyderabad recently. it was an amazing trip, since i did everything i wanted to (including tripping my heart out while dancing less than 20 feet away from dj tiesto), but it started off on a scary note.

the scene:

my friend and i have been sitting in a bus for around 15 hours. it was a luxury volvo bus (courtesy of raj travels) and we did have plenty of breaks, but it was exhausting anyway. so we finally got off at the bus' last stop in hyderabad. two bags and a backpack in tow. three men crowded the door to help us with our bags. and mayhem struck.

they started fighting over our bags. and they weren't just heckling or abusing, but using their fists. on each other. and the bag. that's right, they started fighting with the bag.

a couple of minutes of my screaming and their fistfight-cum-tug-of-war later, they succeeded in tearing my friend's bag strap and apparently decided that they had fought enough for the day. they then decided to run instead. with the half-torn bag.

unfortunately for me and my friend, they were better runners and knew where they were going, while we did not.

apparently they wanted to drive a rickshaw. except that all 3 of them wanted to drive the same one.

so my friend and i are sitting in the back seat of the ric while *3* guys who just fought over and with our bags shared the driver's seat, and proceeded to take us to an undisclosed hotel.

that's when i had a panic attack.

my friend talked me out of my panic, but i was still apprehensive. i asked a passerby at a signal for directions. apparently the place we wanted to go to was just a kilometre or so, straight ahead.

the signal turned green. the rickshaw turned right. something mumbled about a road being blocked. the three men drove well over a kilometre ahead.

panic struck again.

i took off all my valuables (i.e. phone and wallet) and kept it in my friend's backpack. she did the same. we then asked the guy to stop.

they refused.

they then stopped but refused to let us get out till we told them why.

we wriggled out and paid them off (they even refused to return our change) and camped in in a roadside dhaaba till they rode off, sorely disappointed (i'm guessing if they were in a cartoon they would have had dollar signs painted on their eyes or something).

my friend and i both decided that if we ever go to hyderabad again, either together or alone, we're taking a plane.

and we will never wear tracks and a tee when getting off a bus with large bags. ever.

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