Thursday, January 10, 2008

Day 8 - Delhi again

This was my last day in Delhi. I didn’t have much on the itinerary other than to go to the National Museum and get some souvenir shopping done. I accomplished both with nothing substantially noteworthy. Thus, I will take the opportunity to share some random interesting facts about India.

(1) Indian tourist sites have no problem charging foreign tourists more than locals. At the National Museum, a ticket for foreign nationals costs 300 rupees. If you are an Indian citizen, it costs just 20 rupees. The Taj Mahal was even worse. It costs 750 rupees (US$20) as a foreigner. If you are local, it costs less than US$1. I understand that local visitors should get somewhat of a discount, but all the sites end up being overrun and crowded by crowds that climb all over the historical monuments and take flash pictures where they shouldn’t.

(2) The retail market in India is horrendous. I know India has some complicated regulations regarding the retail sector that prevent companies like Wal-Mart and Carrefour from setting up wholly-owned operations. The rule extends even to convenience stores like 7-11, which are all too present throughout the rest of Asia. This makes life difficult if all you want is a Diet Pepsi (or any other cold drink) and you can’t find a stall that sells it. It also means that each tiny stall carries only a small selection of the most popular (i.e. Indian) snacks and that every stall will have the same exact set of products.

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