简要说明一下，让大家知道我’m OK…I made it to 曼谷, after 36 hours of travel hell in 印度. I now understand why 的Delhi airport is crawling with soldiers, armed with rifles and submachine guns: after 36 hours of dealing with double-dealing taxi drivers, extortionate bus drivers, and clamoring beggars, not to mention 的WONDERFUL people at Air 印度, terrorism seemed like a perfectly rational response. (Heck, even 的bathroom attendant tried to cheat me.) However, I managed to navigate my way through all 的various travel hazards, and landed in 曼谷 yesterday morning at 2am. There I promptly fell over dead, having not slept for two nights and eaten exactly one meal in 36 hours.
It is said 那 印度 is one of 的most difficult countries in which to travel. This is entirely true, although it depends, of course, on what part of 印度 you’re in. The current 印度 covers far more territory, and encompasses many more cultures, than any historical government of 的region. So traveling from one region of 印度 to another is almost like going to a totally different country.
那 said, my experience with 新德里, and Himachal Pradesh province generally, has been 那 any 印度n shopkeeper, taxi driver, etc. who interacts with tourists regularly, will not hesitate to cheat or lie to you; and 那 anyone who is being nice and solicitous to you, should be treated with grave (but polite) suspicion. Also, talking to any 印度n male for more than ten minutes (or sometimes five) is generally considered a sexual invitation, if you happen to be female and single.
当然，此规则也有例外–the hotelkeeper where I stayed in 新德里, and 的thangka shop owner, were both perfectly sweet, decent, and very nice guys–但我认为总的来说’s a 好 idea to be on your guard at all times in 印度. Especially since many of 的people who lie, are very smooth and scrupulously honest right up until 的point where they decide a lie would serve them better. This is apparently extra-true for Kashmiri merchants. So, if you go to 印度, do take care.
It was interesting talking shop with 的Kashmiri merchants: I know a lot about fiber arts, of course, and can distinguish most fiber contents 通过 feel (it’s not 那 hard). So, after one or two bad encounters, I started playing dumb to test people. It was pretty hilarious: guys were swearing to me 那 polyester and cotton were silk, rayon was wool, and shatoosh was spun duck feathers (!). The last was really funny–shatoosh, as you may or may not know, is 的finest, softest fiber in 的world, way softer than cashmere. It’也是非法的。这是因为’s made from 的fur of an endangered antelope–必须杀死两个或三个chiru才能制成一条shatoosh披肩。
So it was really funny watching this guy swear up and down 那 it was made from 的feathers of a very special duck, not from antelope at all (“that’s just propaganda”). He even went so far as to explain to me 那 的feathers were from big downy tufts on 的ducks’ throats, and 那 not only were 的ducks not hurt, but villagers had to go down to 的stream every morning to collect 的few feathers 那 had fallen from 的ducks’ throats 的previous night. Then they took these downy feathers and spun them into yarn. He was so smooth, I almost would have believed him despite knowing all about 的chiru–except 那 I *know* fiber, and if 那 shawl was spun from duck feathers, I’我要开始嘎嘎叫
Of course, 的same guy also assured me fervently 那 pashmina (i.e. cashmere) was sheared from 的throat of a kid goat, and 那 adult goats couldn’t be used. (Cashmere actually comes from 的downy undercoat of adult goats, and is combed out, not sheared.) So I’m not sure if he had absolutely no clue (his supplier could have been cheating him), or if he was merely trying to put me on. In either case, it was a masterly performance, especially since 的rest of his stuff was precisely “on”, and he even went out of his way to point out some of 的cheats “其他克什米尔商人”用于不幸的游客。
（指出其他人’事实证明，s作弊是试图欺骗您的人们的最爱策略–想法是让您措手不及。尽管如此，它还是有用的–first, because it’本身就是一个危险信号，其次，因为它告诉您*其他*的人可能会试图拉扯您。当然，诚实的店主也会指出作弊行为，所以它不会’它会自动意味着您应该走出去。买者自负。）
在此稍作休息：尽管我很少提及特定的商人，但根据我的经验，达兰萨拉有一位印度商人，他们完全可靠且价格合理。他’是在McLeod Ganj的Temple Road上经营Mementos 印度的人。在整个达兰萨拉地区，他还藏有最好的藏族手工艺品，并非完全偶然。因此，如果您在该地区，一定要看看他的商店。它’位于McLeod Ganj的汽车站附近，横跨Temple Road和与其平行的道路；在天普道（Temple Road）上，标志牌写着Mementos 印度，在另一条路上，标志牌上写着Namaste 印度。他拥有我以前很喜欢的精彩唐卡（后来我去看了其他供应商’坦卡，他们发现它们的质量要差得多，价格要高得多），*华丽的*手工雕刻的银和青铜佛像，以及来自旁遮普邦的带有精美银饰手柄的Damascan钢匕首。古董银制的磨坊，精美的金饰等（很多）。他也完全诚实。所以，如果你’曾经在Dharamsala / McLeod Ganj，请不要错过这家商店。它拥有我最好的手工艺品’我曾经在印度或其他任何地方见过。在那买东西不会出错。
My experience with Tibetans, 通过 的way, is 那 they are generally honest and helpful, one of 的best 亚洲n peoples to deal with. There are, of course, exceptions to this, as to every other rule.
（不，我’我不会撒谎。作为一般原则，我赢了’除非我的生命处于危险之中–总的来说，这不是’t. Not only 那, but despite 的fact 那 I don’t support 的war at all, think we’ve committed a serious act of aggression, and agree wholeheartedly with 的many people who are upset at us, I’我仍然是美国人，而我’ll stand with 的rest of my country. Even if it means I spend 的rest of this trip apologizing for our behavior–我可能会的。）
无论如何，我现在已经将国籍更改为“美国战争是愚蠢的布什是疯狂的”, which seems to help somewhat. It is not 那 people hate Americans (at least, not yet). But there is a hesitancy here, and a latent hostility, 那 wasn’t there before. (No one, incidentally, is talking about anything *but* 的war, either in 泰国 or 印度.)
因此，如果您计划出国旅行，我会考虑推迟它，或者仔细考虑您的确切位置’re going. (I’我非常感谢’t go to Kashmir, 通过 的way: 24 people were blown up in a Kashmir terrorist action a few days ago, 的border has flared up again, and there have been some pretty nasty anti-American protests.) You could lie and say you’来自加拿大，但是如果继续下去，我不会’t think anyone on 的American continent is going to be popular, either.
明天我’m going to meet with 的editor of Farang! magazine, and 的body painter, and then…well, we’我会看看会发生什么。 ðŸ™，一般而言，接下来的几天是“quiet time”–I plan to write some travel retrospectives, and maybe a few pieces on 的Dalai Lama’s teachings–因此您可能会也可能不会收到我的来信。但是我’m in 曼谷, and I’m OK. ðŸ™‚