Monday, September 13, 2010

One of the coolest things we have noticed about the historical sites in India is that they are FULL of Indians! Everywhere else we have been in the world, tourist sights are patronized by exactly that - Tourists. You aren't likely to catch a Parisian climbing up the Eiffel Tower. You won't find a Peruvian on the Inca Trail (unless he's a porter). And I don't suppose you'd see a Tanzanian enjoying a safari in the Serengeti.

In India, it seems the residents are fascinated by their own history. Every place we have visited, we find ourselves to be two of MAYBE five or six westerners, and a whole slew of enthusiastic Indians from all over the country. It totally throws us off seeing tourist buses pull up outside of monuments with dozens of what appear to be camera-yeilding locals pouring out. We thought perhaps it's just the time of year, maybe it's a fluke or a holiday we don't know about. But then we saw this little chart at one of the musuems we went to, demonstrating that Indian tourists do in fact far outnumber their overseas counterparts.

Perhaps it due to the government making it more accessible here than they do in many other countries? While entrance fees to popular sites will usually cost foreigners 250 rupees (about $5), a resident ticket is only 10 (about 20 cents). Even the Taj Mahal, which costs us a whopping $15 to lay our eyes upon, sets a local back less than a dollar. Some visitors complain that they are getting ripped off, while I see it completely opposite. If we can afford to board a flight across the globe, we can cough up five bucks to see stuff. I think it's great that the folks who call this place home are able to enjoy the things that draw so many visitors here.

Look at all those tour buses!  And not a single pale face in 'em.

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