Monday, February 27, 2006

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Walla in Bangalore

Millions of wallas (street vendors) are found all over the country.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Security

When I first moved to India, I was recommended by a foreigner to "permanently carry a knife or an anti-aggression spray" (sic). Foreigners are indeed an easy target as they are in unknown territory but the same applies to any country!

India is relatively safe for foreigners. While they are reported cases of rape/killing of foreigners, the most common crimes against tourists include pickpocketing, passport theft and scams.

To be on the safe side, observe the following precautions:
-Protect your belongings
-Avoid being alone in the streets late at night (especially if you are a woman)
-Don't accept food or drink from strangers
-In doubt regarding the safety of an area, check with your embassy 

Looking back, the excitement of being in such a different country might have made me careless if not slightly euphoric (e.g. arrival alone in unknown areas in the middle of the night, sharing food with complete strangers). Overall, I felt very safe during my stay in India and Mumbai is the only place were I felt real animosity towards foreigners. Having said that, our experience was probably affected by our trip timing as we visited the city during a large gathering of Shiv Sainiks (who threw stones at us on the streets!).

Building site

Monday, February 20, 2006

Water

It is recommended to drink bottled water or boiled water. If you opt for bottled water, make sure that the cap seal is not broken. Some bottles are recycled and refilled with tap water.

The same precaution applies to the water used to clean fruits/vegetables and to make ice cubes.

In addition, avoid contact between your mouth and potentially contaminated water (e.g. brushing teeth with bottled water, keeping mouth shut while taking a shower, etc.)*.


*To be honest, I didn't follow the last recommendation without any negative effect on my health. Luck or resilient body...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Visa

As rules and validity of visas might differ based on citizenship, double check with the Indian embassy in your country.

Note that visas are valid from the date of issue, not the date of entry. In addition, beware that you can not switch from one type of visa to another one in India itself (I had to go to Sri Lanka to replace my tourist visa by an employment one. Read about it here)

Visa Application

Tourist visa
-Six month validity
-Minimum two month gap period between consecutive tourist visas

Business visa
-Six month, one year or more
-For visa of more than 1 year and up to 5 years, a letter explaining the nature of business and duration from you company and a letter of invitation from an Indian company might be required

Student visa
-Up to five years
-A letter of admission from a recognised educational institution with duration of the course might be required

Employment visa
-One year
-An employment contract signed by both the parties might be required

Missionary visa
-Mandatory when visiting India "primarily to take part in religious activities" (used to combat religious conversion)

Registration with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office

The following groups need to register within 14 days of arrival with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (alternatively, go to the local police station if the place you are staying at doesn't have one):
-Student
-Employment
-Research
-Missionary
-Visitors who intend to stay more than 180 days in India


Update: In 2010, India has introduced a TOurist-Visa-on-Arrival scheme for citizens of Japan, Finland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia and Philippines. TOVA Visas are valid for stays of up to 30 days and are available at selected airports (Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata).

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Biharri License Test

DERIVING LICENSE APPLIKASON PHOROM

NOTE: Please do not soot the person at the applikason kounter. He will give you the licen.
If you dot know how to fill ,copy from your phriend (dost)applikason.
For phurthar instructions, see bottom applikason.

1. Last name: (_) Yadav (_) Sinha (_) Pandey (_) Misra (_) Dont no
(Check karet box)

2. phust name: (_) Ramprasad (_) Lakhan (_) Sivprasad (_) Jamnaprasad (_) Dont no
(Check karet box)

3. Age: (_) Less than phipty (_) Greater than phipty (_) Dont no
(Check karet box)

4. Sex: ____ M _____(F) _____ not sure _____not applicable

5. Chappal Size: ____ Lepht ____ Right

6.Occupason: (_) Politison (_) Doodhwala (_) Pehelwaan (_) House wife (_) Un-employed
(Check karet box)

7. Number of children libing in the household: ___

8. Number that are yourj: ___

9. Mather name: _______________________

10. Phather Name: ____________________
(If not no,leabe blank)

11. Ejjucason: 1 2 3 4
(Circle highest kilass attended)

12. Your thumb imparesson : ____________________________
(If you are copying from another applikason pharom, pleaje do not copy thumb impression also. Pleaje provide your own thumb impression.)

PELEAJE DO NOT USE PHINGERS OF YOUR LEGS
Use thumb on your lepht hand only. If you dont have le pht hand, use your thumb on right hand. If you do not have right hand, use thumb on lepht hand.

NOTE : IF YOU DONT HAVE BOTH HANDS, YOU CANNOT DERIVE. WE ARE VARY ISTRICT ABOUT THIS

Sensuality in Konark

The surfaces of the Konark Sun temple are carved with stone sculptures with a wide variety of subjects, including many scenes based on the Kama Sutra.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Friday, February 10, 2006

Autorickshaws

Auto rickshaws are motorized three-wheelers. They are common all over India and provide efficient door-to-door transportation. Auto's can also be shared. My record: 10 adults and 1 child!

Travelling by auto shouldn’t cost you more than Rs5/km (+50% at night). Fares are set either by bargaining or by using the meter (the fare is directly linked to the number of kilometres). You might not have the choice. From past experience, I often had to bargain in Delhi while the meter was almost always used in Bangalore.


Avoid being fooled:
-When using the meter, some drivers take the longest possible route to increase the fare.
-Most meters are tampered or defective.
-If you feel you have been fooled, don’t pay directly. Take the auto-number and make sure the driver sees you taking note of it. He will undoubtedly ask you what you are doing. Tell him you plan to call his boss. He might spontaneously reduce his price. It worked for me.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Be resourceful

India, a chaotic country? Westerners are so used to follow guidelines that having none is sometimes slightly troubling.

Travelling in India is a great learning experience. To name a few, you will learn to:
-Fight for a train ticket or a bus seat. Yes, use your elbows!
-Bargain to the last rupee.
-Convince people to do things for you using sign language. It can be tough, especially when your interlocutor pretends not to understand you to avoid your request.
-Be flexible regarding your travel arrangements. Even if it means squeezing yourself with 11 other people in an autorikshaw.

Be resourceful and creative!

Travelling by bike in India

A bike can be a good alternative to cars, buses, trains and autorickshaws. It gives you a real feeling of freedom!

Bikes can be rented easily. The owner will probably ask for your driving license. Most documents with your name and written in a foreign language will do the trick.

If you stay in India for a longer period of time, you could also envisage buying a bike (and selling it back when you leave the country).

Comment from the pic's author:

"I was offered a super deal on this "builder" in Karol Bagh (Delhi).

The seller said it ran, and with a little paint and work

I could ride it for another 100,000 kilometers."


Friday, February 03, 2006

Wednesday, February 01, 2006