Hearty Welcomes & Salutations! Originally an action-packed travel blog from a globe-trotting Scotsman, An Ache for the Distance has, over the years, slowed down (I post less often), mellowed out (my dogs and kid have found their way on here) and become more of an expat blog (I German things up). Take a look around, leave a comment and share the love if you like something.
Stuart Mathieson, Lübeck, Germany

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

India Preparation

Travelling starts in the book shop. The first commitment you make to the trip is when you spill coffee onto the guidebook in the bookshop and are forced into finally buying it. A combination of Scottishness and backpacker penny pinching means I've normally read the book cover to cover before I'm forced into opening my wallet.

Although you can easily get most books second hand online, for some countries you have to splash out a little more to buy the most recent copy. If you don't believe me, try navigating your way around Shanghai with a 10 year old lonely planet. Streets move, buildings disappear and hostals are gobbled up by car parks...

For India, my savings took a little spanking as buying a new English copy in Hamburg costs approximately 100 bhajis more than it would in the UK. That's not slang for anything, it literally cost 100 bhajis more. According to the book a bhaji on the street should set me back about 6 rupees. That's big bunch of bhajis I'm missing out on... It also translates to the equivalent of 8 beers in a restaurant. A hefty amount for a Scot with an alcohol problem.

Von Travel Photography
Book Shopping

The next blow to the savings comes from the consulate. The visa photos, always a confidence booster, cost another 4 beers or 50 bhajis. The visa itself costs 500 bhajis or 40 beers and the consulate surcharge is another 135 bhajis or 10 beers. Which means before I've even set foot in the country I'm already 785 bhajis down. A shocking amount, even more shocking when translated into 62 beers...

Von Travel Photography
Visa Photos

In addition to these statistics, in exactly one month, every taxi driver in New Delhi will be trying to take the piss to get a few extra rupees, fake touts will be conning Ghandi out of my wallet and I'll be paying twice as much for most things, just because I'm white. However, the most shocking aspect of it all, I can't wait....

Von Travel Photography

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