Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Monopoly Pricing

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. - Adam Smith.

For some reason, in all the truly amazing places I've been to thus far in India - the locals quickly realize that tourism is big business, and do their best to make as much money off it as possible. Any restaurant catering solely to Indian (local) people is quickly run out of town, the taxi drivers and internet shops all form a loose union to set minimum prices - and the tourists are kept in a semi vegetative state of fed, interneted and alcoholed bliss.. 5-6km away from the nearest Indian town, so that they must live off the unreal teat that the Indians create for them..

Perhaps i'm over-reacting slightly.. but it seems that way at least. And more important to me, than the price of the internet, is the quality of the food. We are a captive audience, of uncultured foreigners, many of whom eat with both hands (a big big no no), wanton women who have bare arms and often much of their upper chest showing - and so they treat us like culinary idiots. The indian food is watered down, or at least, in no way spicy, so as to not offend the western palate. Schnitzel appears on the menu, as does banana pancakes (which can be found in backpacker spots the world over), and as Hampi is a town of many israelis, falafel and hummus appear too. In short, the food sucks.

But, luckily, the scenery and vibe are so breathtaking that it is worth it.

I've already slowed down my (admittedly already relaxed) pace of life to that of Hampi.

Yesterday, I woke, did laundry, walked 400m to the "Mango Tree", a restaurant by the river, with an amazing view of the boulder structures... which included a good 5min walk through banana plantations on the way - quite a fun little walk.

Alas, i've turned into a space cadet in the last few days - I left my international power converter in mysore the other day, and left my latest book (Map of Love - an amazing book that is making me drool to visit egypt) at the Mango tree yesterday.

So, I now find myself in Hospet, the Indian town 10km away, purchasing a power adapter, and making full use of their cheap Internet.

After my time in Hampi, I will head west to the beach - I just need to leave before xmas season kicks in, to make sure i can find a decent room at pre-peak prices, but that gives me at least 10 days, i'd imagine.

I could always spend xmas here too ;)

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