• this is india seventeen

This is India! (seventeen)

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.

What I was up to other than here:

  • I wrote for Rue Magazine this week which was really fun! The article is How To: Journey Glamorously on a Budget
  • I’ve finally finished my new “business” and am going to be sharing it with you soon. It’s absolutely not blog related at all but is something I really enjoy.
  • I’m in Kochi for 5 days because Ben had work down here. It’s weird being in the house without Huckleberry, who as I mentioned on FB passed away this week. I really can’t bring myself to write about it or share how it came about- he was truly my best buddy and this whole week I just tear up at every little thing that reminds me of him. He was the absolute coolest dog. I have posts scheduled that talk about him and I can’t bring myself to edit him to past tense.
  • Okay sorry to bring you all down. Lastly calling all bloggers: I mentioned my new series I’m starting of interviews. If you want in on this just shoot me an e-mail rachel (at) hippie-inheels (dot) com.

Now your story,

Today I’m sharing another not-so-nice story about a rickshaw driver from Kochi. Another story of a man being outright crazy rude to me… I’m in Kochi now but this actually happened about 6 months ago and funnily enough I had the NICEST driver from the airport today.

Ben and his coworkers had been on the job site for 12 hours and he texted me asking if I could pick them up chicken nuggets from McDonalds. I was staying on Marine Drive and the McDonalds was over on MG Road. It was only a rickshaw ride away, so off I went.

I’ve been in Kochi too many times to count, but this was my first time there. I didn’t quite know the roads yet and hadn’t been to MG road at all.

I picked up the food and got two cokes in addition then went back out to catch a rick home.

The guy who pulled over agreed 80 rupees to take me back. It was a little high, considered I’d been taken for 40 but I had nuggets to deliver and it was a very humid yucky day.

I told him the hotel name and road and off we went. I didn’t notice we’d taken a wrong turn on Marine drive and actually were headed the opposite way of my hotel, on the right road.

I kept trying to tell the man when I realized we were in the wrong area, but he was yelling something in Malayalam that I couldn’t understand. Probably telling me to shut up.

He stopped at a restaurant with a name similar to my hotel. I didn’t get out right away, telling him it wasn’t the place. It was a restaurant, how can I sleep in a restaurant? My hotel was a massive apartment complex, and he easily could have asked around and someone would have known it. He tried to tell me it was a good place and to go inside- typical rickshaw driver tactic.

The thing about these situations is: you still have to pay unless you want a HUGE scene. There have been very very few times I haven’t paid when being ripped off.  I asked him to take me to the hotel, he said no. I told him I’d pay him more and he said no and to get out and pay. I got kind of annoyed there, because not only was I already in the wrong place paying for it, he wouldn’t even take more money to take me to the right place.

I got out of the rick and held the cokes in one arm, while I got the money out of my pocket. While handing him the full 80 rupees I said, “what you did here wasn’t right, it wasn’t nice”

He was about to get less nice.

He took the money with one hand and knocked the cokes out of my arms with the other.

Had their been police, I would have tried to report him, but there weren’t. There were about ten men on the street watching. They didn’t do anything. Reacting would have been useless and stupid because I could have gotten into some kind of trouble with such a crowd.

He drove off. I guarantee he doesn’t feel bad for what he did. These things happen so often that I could write 100 stories on my “this is india” series, but I try to balance good and bad.

I didn’t react until I got home and told Ben I “hated all the men in Kochi” over tears.

Another rickshaw driver took me- he had seen what happened and came to offer me a ride. But don’t be confused; he wasn’t my guardian angel. He was a clever businessman. He charged me 150 rupees, knowing I was desperate enough to pay. Thanks, dude.

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. Emily September 26, 2014 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    I am not looking forward to having to pay when we are getting scammed! I am optimistic that we will have more nice guys than jerks when we arrive!

    Also, sorry to hear about Huckleberry xo

    • Rachel Jones September 27, 2014 at 8:09 pm - Reply

      You can definitely try not to pay but it’s hard and usually you just have to. If the police get involved and they’re told you’re not paying you could have bad consequences. I don’t trust the police at all in India.

  2. Emma September 26, 2014 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    This seemed like a typical story of ‘rickshaw driver rips you off’ until he knocked the cokes out of your hands, I’m like ‘why’d you have to do that?!? you got your money!” Haha, how frustrating!

    • Rachel Jones September 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm - Reply

      Yeah it was so uncalled for!! and just outright mean.

  3. Christine @thetraveloguer September 26, 2014 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    What a horrible thing to do, I don’t even understand why he’d do that after he got away with ripping you off!
    Really sorry to hear about your dog, you poor thing. :(

    • Rachel Jones September 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm - Reply

      Thank you, we miss Huck a lot. And yea why did he have to do that!? I think he had been drinking actually.

  4. Justine September 26, 2014 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    I’m so sorry to hear about Huckleberry. It sounds like he was an amazing dog and best bud!

    • Rachel Jones September 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm - Reply

      Thank you.. he was my buddy since the first month I lived in India.

  5. Rebekah September 26, 2014 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Losing a pet is the worst, I’m sorry

    I would flip my shit if that rickshaw story had happened to me. I’m super impressed with your restraint.

    • Rachel Jones September 27, 2014 at 8:07 pm - Reply

      You’re right.. I’ve never been so sad than I was losing Huck. And thank you- I held back but don’t always. I try!

  6. Andrea Anastasiou September 26, 2014 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    Urgh, how rude!! I so wouldn’t have coped well with that! Not sure how I’m going to keep my cool when I’m in India, being the hothead that I am!

    P.s. I’m really sorry to hear about Huckleberry.

    • Rachel Jones September 27, 2014 at 8:06 pm - Reply

      I’m a hot head too. You’ll learn quickly that it’s no good here and you’ll adjust. Thanks about Huck.. he is so missed.

  7. Ashley | Ashley Wanders September 26, 2014 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    That’s so brutal that he ripped you off and then had the audacity to knock those bottles out of your hand! And shame on the second rickshaw driver for ripping you off after he saw what happened. Jeez!

    Also, I’m so sorry to hear about your dog.

    • Rachel Jones September 27, 2014 at 8:06 pm - Reply

      Audacity is one thing Indian men have a lot of! I get “erotic massage” phone calls all the time b/c i have massage fliers in Goa and I always scream at them and say to Ben, “the AUDACITY these men have!!!!!!!”

  8. S A Joshi September 26, 2014 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    nxt time click the number of the auto. always do this B4 the journey begins…helps big time. I am an Indian yet I do this every time I visit different city

    • Rachel Jones September 27, 2014 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      That’s a good idea and something I did as a backpacker but often forget to now that I live here. I’ve let my guard down a lot and shouldn’t.

  9. Rika | Cubicle Throwdown September 26, 2014 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    Aw, sorry to hear about Huck :( That’s tough.

    Also, holy what a jerk that rickshaw driver was! You are pretty spectacular to keep your cool in a situation like that. I would have caused a scene because I have the self-control of a 5 year old.

    • Rachel Jones September 27, 2014 at 8:04 pm - Reply

      Thank you, about Huck. I miss him! and I didn’t totally keep my cool I was ranting “wtf” this and “wtf” that until I got in the other rick… but nothing too crazy!

  10. ellen Bak September 27, 2014 at 12:45 am - Reply

    Im so sorry to hear about Huck. Do you feel really threatened by these rip off drivers? Would they haul off and hit and rob you if you created a scene? Would that be Normal behavior in India? Would they be so rude to Older people?
    Thanks for all your posts . Love your Blog!

    • Rachel Jones September 27, 2014 at 8:04 pm - Reply

      Thank you about Huck.. and no, I don’t feel threatened. It was a busy street and my driver was probably drunk. There’s a huge alcohol problem in Kerala. They wouldn’t hit or rob me but if a huge crowd happened, as it does, and police got involved- well, let’s just say it’s best not to have your name in the system at all in India. They would not be so rude to older people in my opinion!

      • venus john September 28, 2014 at 11:20 am - Reply

        I agree..

  11. Charlie September 28, 2014 at 1:03 am - Reply

    Oh my gosh, that’s so lame! I’m sorry to hear an escapade to McDonalds ended in such an unfortunate way.. I guess things like that happen all over the world, especially with taxi drivers (of sorts) – it’s such a shame because there are so many nice taxi drivers who get given a bad name by the mean ones.

    • Rachel Jones September 29, 2014 at 7:38 am - Reply

      Yes and usually after having a mean one, the next one will be really nice. It’s a toss up!

  12. Richelle @AdventuresAroundAsia September 28, 2014 at 9:58 am - Reply

    This is so upsetting. I’ve run into a few situations like this in China, with cab drivers refusing to turn on the meter and charging ridiculous prices just because it’s late and I’m foreign. Thankfully there’s a little more regulation with the taxis in China, and there’s actually a number you can call to report someone. One time though, I rented bikes in Tianjin and the guy only gave us half our deposit back, claiming that he only charged us 100 kuai, not 200. We started arguing and making a big scene in which he screamed “foreigners always try to take advantage of Chinese people!” We didn’t get our money back and I felt really upset for the rest of the day. Now I remember to ALWAYS get a receipt. I’m really sorry about your dog too, both my dog and cat passed away in the last few years and it’s so hard.

  13. venus john September 28, 2014 at 11:19 am - Reply

    the best article so far..the real thing..very well written..i could feel it..thanks Rachel..and I would like to subscribe to your new series your mentioned with interviews..do I have to pay for it? my email id is [email protected]

    • Rachel Jones September 29, 2014 at 7:40 am - Reply

      Hi! No you don’t have to do anything. I’m going to start running the series on the blog on Sundays, starting next weekend :)

  14. Colleen Brynn September 29, 2014 at 10:05 am - Reply

    Oh no!!! I can relate to this… I didn’t experience anything this harsh, but I KNOW what it can be like there. I would have wanted to wallop the a-hole. And then yell obscenities at the jerks who didn’t help. But one mustn’t. Urgh.
    Can’t wait to hear more about your business!
    And again… so so sad about Huck. If you are alright with it, I would love to write about him. I was really touched by his gentle soul when I was there, and I feel lucky to have had that time with him and you together.
    Sending warm hugs. xo

    • Rachel Jones October 1, 2014 at 7:24 pm - Reply

      That would be so freakin’ amazing if you wrote about him. I mean he tried to destroy eveything in your path while you were here but he was quite behaved at vinayak while watching us eat! lol but then when he decided to cuddle.. its like the most amazing feeling EVERRRRRRR man he was the best.

  15. rebecca September 29, 2014 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    love this series! first time reader of the series… I just cant believe this happened, I cant believe you held your tongue! I am heading to India soon and must say I am a little worried as I tend to be a bit bad at holding my tounge in these sort of situations. Atleast it makes for a story – you certainly have a good attitude to be in India with

    • Rachel Jones October 1, 2014 at 7:26 pm - Reply

      Thanks & I’m glad you like it I hope you come back to read more :) I think after some time naturally you’ll hold your tongue because it feels very out of place here as a foreign woman to speak up too much. And if you have some minor (or major ) freak outs.. people will understand! they think us foreigners are crazy lol

  16. [email protected] The British Berliner October 1, 2014 at 1:09 am - Reply

    That is dreadful behaviour and pretty awful, but I know what you mean by crowds. They can gather rather quickly, and before you know it, you’re surrounded by all these strange men, edging the rickshaw driver on to get more money from you!
    It’s quite scary, and you’re stuck between demanding your right and just trying to get the hell out of there! It’s happened to me a few times. I’m normally quite solid about what I want and need, but in India, I was defeated and just had to learn to let things go. In some situations, I just wanted to go home! I didn’t, but I so wanted to LOL!

    • Rachel Jones October 1, 2014 at 7:34 pm - Reply

      Yeah, I’ve learned my lesson before with the crowds. I feel ya, there are times when I want to leave too. It can be very hard!

  17. [email protected] The British Berliner October 1, 2014 at 1:14 am - Reply

    P.S. I’m so sorry to hear about Huckleberry. It must be awful for you. Losing a loved pet is one of the worst things.

  18. Shirine Taylor October 3, 2014 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    I love how you so these little stories! I have read through a few and you do a wonderful job portraying India though these little anecdotes.. This is what people want to read, especially to experience a place for your air chair.. Thank you! That being said, I’m sorry about the stupid tuktuk drivers.. I hate them as well!!

    • Rachel Jones October 5, 2014 at 1:19 pm - Reply

      silly tuktuk drivers! lol . I starte this series as a place where i could show the good and bad by story instead of writing a post like “10 reasons why india is pissing me off! .. i can now spread them out and not piss off my readers lol

  19. Rahul November 27, 2015 at 11:53 pm - Reply

    I think tourists if they need help ,they should ask for help..
    We as locals are so used to seeing such loud talk around us hehe thats our habit so we dont know whats quarrel or whats a argument… or if someone genuinely needs help so we are bit reluctant to get involved unless we know for sure,but if you have just asked someone for help…Im sure a dozen or more of them would have come to support you :)

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