Panaji, Old Goa, India | 15 January, 2007 | $5.64
I arrived in Old Goa during daylight hours and found another tourist to share a rickshaw from the train station. The driver was happy to take us to a hotel, but when we got out he asked for an astronomical amount for the ride. I had been traveling around India for a while and knew when I was blatantly being ripped off. I suggested a different amount. The driver got mad and tried to take my backpack. I reacted swiftly in defense of my camera and computer and began trying to get his hand off my bag. By the time we finished our fight and the man was tired of being hit by a woman a crowd had gathered. The women seemed pleased that I was standing up for myself, and I paid the man at least double the normal fare (still, less than he wanted) and left.
My passenger, who I had only met 20 minutes earlier, had just arrived in India and was a little shocked. The hotel she wanted to stay at was full, so we ended up walking around town looking for a new place. Old Goa was more expensive than I was used to but the room was very nice and clean. Later that day, as I walked down the street I heard a rickshaw revving its engine, and looked down an alley to see my driver. He was yelling “give me my rupees!” I was on edge for the rest of my visit, not knowing when the driver would show up next.
The next day, while I was taking a self portrait outside of a church a man stood 15 feet away, watching me while masturbating. A policeman watched the scene with little interest. These close encounters set the tone for my visit to Old Goa.
More photos of Old Goa can be seen in the gallery.