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Saturday
Dec052009

Houseboys Rule - OK?

This is not negative, in fact I admire it. Become used to the fact that everything about India is designed to 'de-money' you. Not in a rip-off sense (although that exists) but more in the sense that supply exceeds demand by about 500% and everyone is selling to you all of the time. Before you develop a little bit of a tan, they can tell that you are a 'new bug' and everyone wants to be your friend. 'Hello, my friend, what is your name, where do you come from, you come look in my shop'. As you walk up the street, every single trader will try to get you into their store, or failing that, a commitment to go into the store later. Then, every few yards, there will be taxi drivers offering to take you to Anjuna market, or similar 'very cheep'. After you develop a bit of a suntan, and the technique of smiling and nodding but, importantly, never stopping walking, they become marginally less persistent. If minus 5% can be described as marginally less.

The only ones that have managed to irritate me seriously, are the 'houseboys' at the hotel. Your room is not cleaned by a chambermaid, but by a pair of houseboys. Fair enough, you might think, at least your room is being cleaned, and the towels changed, what are you moaning about? I am moaning because, like everything else in India, its not that simple, and they have developed complicated into an art form.

Within my room, resides a fridge, and jolly useful and handy it is. It is stocked with mineral water, coca cola (pepsi actually) and beer. Over 24 hours, my normal consumption will be a couple of bottles of water and, of course, a couple of bottles of beer. Total cost of this will be about 120 rupees - say 1.60 great British pounds. You learn very early on to leave 150 rupees, neatly tucked beneath the empty bottles, on top of the fridge. You do this to maybe save yourself a visit.

Because visits are the problem. There is a seperate, senior, houseboy that has to come and check the fridge. He doesn't take away the empties, or the money, he just generates a fridge report. The fridge report generates another houseboy who will visit to come and take away the empties, and the money. Then there will be the receipt boy, who will visit to give you a receipt for the correct amount of money, but no change. Then, finally, there will be a visit from the restock the fridge boy, who will solemnly count in two bottles of beer, and two bottles of water, into your fridge. Total (inflated) value 1.60.

Now I don't really mind them having a procedure for this, at all. Just take my money - I'll always leave a reasonable extra amount for them, I don't want change. Just DO IT WHILE I AM OUT DURING THE DAY.

The problem is, of course, in the name of 'service' they like to do all of this while you are in the room. They don't take no for an answer. They will keep knocking till you answer. And they will wait, until you get back from wherever, and then they will schedule a visit, at roughly 20 minute intervals, while they run through the cycle described above. Now I don't know what you use a hotel room for, but I tend to use it to sleep in, and to conduct the more personal daily routines that I have never needed the assistance of All Bran to maintain. I don't need the door knocked every 20 mins!

It's no good, I am going to have to pay them!!