May 27, 2006
Autorickshaws in this city have an infuriating tendency to: a) refuse to take you to perfectly reasonable places, b) try to convince you to pay a flat rate or a surcharge, even though they have meters, and are legally required to use them, and c) ask you to please pay them a little extra after you’ve arrived, when you’ve already argued over the meter before you started.
In the case of (a) you’re basically screwed, you just have to keep asking until someone says yes. In the case of (b), they usually relent if you insist, but not always, and you may find yourself taking the long way around to your destination. In the case of (c), you can just hop out and tell them to shove it, but you shouldn’t expect exact change to be forthcoming.
Today, I had at least a half dozen drivers refuse to take me to the City Market outright, and another handful refuse to take me on the meter. I got into one rickshaw whose driver refused to take me unless I would stop at a jewelry store along the way. I ended up walking all the way downtown (about 2.5 miles, as the crow flies) to the India Coffee House, where I enjoyed several cups of light, sweet coffee (the first decent cups I’ve had in this country).