The time is nye and we are still making final arrangements on the India side of the trip. Our learning curve is big right now and some days life is very frustrating. Testing the limits of our civility.
First, we do not know how much to take the info obtained at face value. October seems to be a busy time in NE India and the ‘books and net’ say you should have arrangements for accommodation and transportation made ahead of time. Sometimes we do that, but a good portion of the time we arrive in a town and look over the accommodation prior to making the commitment. We are getting older and maybe not so free spirited as we once were so we have made the decision to book a few places ahead of time.
The Indian ‘system’ is not the same as ours. Surprise, Surprise! Credit cards are not accepted as readily as here. So, deposits are made by Paypal, which works good for us, or by bank transfer, not as easy or as secure as it may sound.
First, is our banks. They want $35 to transfer money anywhere. This is often as much, or more than, the cost of the deposit, and second, I have read a few hotel reviews saying that when the guests arrived at the hotel, the hotel had not received confirmation of the deposit from their Indian bank and even though the guest had a confirmation from their own bank, the hotel had given away the room and ‘there was no place at the inn.’
We have run into a couple of hoteliers that understand our problem and stated that they “still believe, for the most part, humans act in good faith” and will hold the room for us without deposit. I like this, it bolsters my faith in humanity as well. Barring disaster, we will be there.
We were in conversation with a hotel on Havelock Island. The correspondent had said that there was a tentative reservation made for us, to be fair to him he did say the reservation would not be confirmed until a deposit had been paid. Anyway, we were emailing back and forth and then we received a return email that stated the room was no longer available. They were waiting payment of a deposit from another guest. We were not contacted for the first right of refusal, something I found odd since we had been in daily contact through email. C’est la vie, we immediately contacted The Emerald Gekko, another place we were interested in, and they seemed to very interested in our business so we booked. This is without paying a deposit so far. I do believe this room will be waiting for us when we arrive.
One more piece to the puzzle is to make sure we have transport to Havelock Island on the day we arrive. That should be resolved today. The rest of the trip we should be able to do on the fly. We will have enough time at each step to book transport or find a hotel and it should suit us more than this long distance ‘ we might end up with what we expect, we might not’ system.
As I said above, it is a bit frustrating, but it is a learning experience and I have to keep remembering Debbie’s mantra “travel mode”.
Definition: Travel mode-Chill, go with the flow, you are not in control so see where life takes you. Just be wary.