• this is india

This is India! (five)

Welcome back to This is India! I always have funny/weird stories about India to share with friends or family when I talk to them. This is just meant to be an honest portrayal about my life in India through short anecdotes. I also share here what I’ve been up to online outside Werkenntwen.

Ok, now your story.

Strangely it’s the small things( like trying 10 different stores looking for a dog cage, and being offered multiple bird cages, before just making it ourselves) that are impossible, while the huge tasks are completed with ease.

In Hampi, Karnataka, India, there is a river and the cool kids stay on one side, while the city people are on another. The catch is, you can only cross the river a certain time of the day and sometimes it’s by traditional Karnataka boats.

this is india

While in Hampi, we met a kid (a driver of a traditional boat across the river) who could literally make any happen and would respone to all our yes or no questions with, “Of course! Anything is possible in India!”

“Hey kid, if I asked for a tiger for a pet would you get me one?”

“Can you send someone to pick us up from the other side after the river crossing closes?”

“Can we have this boat?”

We asked a lot of joking questions as he answered them yes in all seriousness. Little did I know, Ben wasn’t joking when he asked to have the boat. The kid said he could buy it for 7,000 rupees. Babu drove us 8 hours to Hampi from Goa and was driving us back the next day.

this is indiaPeople can talk about the scams in India, because they are real and they suck- but when things like I’m about to explain happen it gives you a new hope and totally proves my theory when you trust in India, it rewards you.

The kid took us to a boat maker. The boat maker said give me the money now- I’ll make you a boat. I will send a boy with the boat to the bus station in 3 days. He will pay the driver 200 rupees to deliver the boat to a man in Goa. The man in Goa will take 100 of the 200 rupees to take the boat in a truck and deliver it to your house. You wil have it in 4-5 days max. Just give me the money now…

I’d just spend a few months on my own backpacking, being scammed left and right. I looked at Ben like he was nuts to make the deal.

this is india

Ben thought it sounded great, knew there was no way they’d rip him off and handed over the cash. I told him he was an idiot.

3 days later a truck showed up to our home in Goa with a boat in it. They forgot the paddles but those even showed up two days later.

This is India!


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About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Hope & Sugar July 4, 2014 at 9:16 am - Reply

    You guys own a boat?! That’s freaking amazing!!

  2. Ashley July 4, 2014 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Ben must be a great judge of character if he knew they wouldn’t rip him off! Looks like a sweet boat too!

  3. Haili July 4, 2014 at 11:53 am - Reply

    Wowzers! Sweet deal and boat for just $120 buckaroos! I think making deals in India is like loaning money to anyone, never do it unless you’re ok with the possibility of never seeing it again and you can live without it. That way if you are ripped, no biggie, twas pretty much expected. But when they do hold up their end, it restores your faith in humanity and power of honesty. Nice story and boat!

    • Rachel Jones July 5, 2014 at 9:29 am - Reply

      Yeah, lots of my friends do give loans out to locals but I dont think I would… they never get their money back.

  4. Rika | Cubicle Throwdown July 4, 2014 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    Oh man, I am LOVING this series!! Ben is super brave…I would have definitely been worried about a scam!

  5. Emily July 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    I’ve heard both the good and bad side of India – but I think I especially love this story! Way to go Ben for being positive about humanity!

    • Rachel Jones July 5, 2014 at 9:28 am - Reply

      He’s more positive than I am! But then again he’s been here 4 years.

  6. Karyn @ Not Done Journeyling July 4, 2014 at 11:58 pm - Reply

    lol, I hope you’re getting good use out of the boat now.

    • Karyn @ Not Done Journeyling July 5, 2014 at 12:08 am - Reply

      Also, I don’t quite understand the hate on Eat, Pray, Love in that link! :) I loved that book. Liz might not have seen the “real” India when she was there, but that’s not why she went. She went to focus on her spirituality and that’s exactly what she did. I can’t be the only one who doesn’t hate that book, surely. :)

      • Rachel Jones July 5, 2014 at 9:26 am - Reply

        haha well, the titles was made by the author of that website I posted on and it was a collaborative post with a lot of bloggers. Personally though I still didn’t like eat, pray, love that much! Some people love it!!

        • Karyn @ Not Done Journeyling July 6, 2014 at 1:35 am - Reply

          It’s ok, I know the title was not yours. I’m just saying, I liked the book. :)

    • Rachel Jones July 5, 2014 at 9:27 am - Reply

      we haven’t taken it out in a few months but we have taken it in the rivers in goa! it’s fun!

  7. Empty Rucksack July 5, 2014 at 5:09 am - Reply

    This is India series is gettin better and better, now we need to get to Goa as soon as we can

  8. Empty Rucksack July 5, 2014 at 5:15 am - Reply

    And the 5 dollar traveller is everywhere but somehow I can never open that link you shared, shows some pop up about signing up for a newsletter and then gets stuck

    • Rachel Jones July 5, 2014 at 9:25 am - Reply

      Hmm, I just clicked it to check and it went to the page! Not sure what the problem is.

  9. Veena July 5, 2014 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    That is awesome! I love Hampi and all the people there – I’ve been there 6 times and can never get enough – and I love this story that highlights how wonderful a place it is. Hope you guys had fun, and enjoy that boat – they’re so much fun!

    • Rachel Jones July 8, 2014 at 5:13 am - Reply

      It’s such a great place! I Think I get to go back in Sept :) yay!

  10. Franca July 6, 2014 at 5:49 am - Reply

    I can’t be;live you guys own your own boat, that must be so cool! The more I read about India and its amazing people the more I want to go, I need to make it happen :)

    • Rachel Jones July 8, 2014 at 5:05 am - Reply

      It’s not much of a boat, but it floats lol, and yes you should totally come to india!

  11. Chantae July 6, 2014 at 5:52 am - Reply

    What a brave soul Ben is – I don’t think I could ever hand cash over and expect a BOAT in return! How fun!!! How many people can it fit? I’m sure you’ll have a great time with it, haha!

    • Rachel Jones July 8, 2014 at 5:05 am - Reply

      haha yeah he’s shockingly lucky! it fits 3 okay, but supposedly 4 although I won’t go in with that many. It would sink I feel like!

  12. Justine July 6, 2014 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    That’s incredible the boat was actually delivered! During my travels I have learned the hard way, time and time again, not to give people money upfront. Ben must be a good judge of character, indeed :)

    • Rachel Jones July 8, 2014 at 5:00 am - Reply

      haha yes, I think had I done it the boat wouldn’t have come because I was skeptical, but he just somehow knew he could trust them! He’s a lucky soul.

  13. Anna July 7, 2014 at 9:28 am - Reply

    Well, that’s fun that you have a boat now!

    • Rachel Jones July 8, 2014 at 4:57 am - Reply

      lol it’s not exactly a yacht but I like it ;) tar and straw hold it together .. it floats for now ! haha

  14. Elora July 11, 2014 at 7:51 am - Reply

    How awesome! And to have your own boat…and that kid sounds so adorable. I wonder if he’ll realize in the future that you were poking fun a bit, and get a good laugh.

    • Rachel Jones July 14, 2014 at 3:05 am - Reply

      I think eventually he will, at the time though he was dead serious! It was very cute.

  15. Lauren December 11, 2017 at 8:46 am - Reply

    Omg! This is your best “this is india” post ever! What a hilarious story. And the funniest thing is that Ben saw it through to the end. And the boat actually showed up at your house! It does prove that not everyone is a scam in india. Lets take the boat out sometime!

    • Rachel Jones December 11, 2017 at 9:12 am - Reply

      hahah yes! we have taken it out on the chapora river and it almost sank – but we fixed it. Basically, the tar melts off in the hot sun while it’s just sitting at our house so it has to be patched sometimes. but it’s so fun – lets do it!

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