I had one of the most ridiculous conversations with two yachties last week. The couple were complaining that India was really expensive. Incredulous I responded by arguing that food here is so cheap one can eat out at a restaurant for a quid.
“We can’t eat out because Jacques is allergic to people.”
Hmmm, I thought she said ‘people’ there for a minute. I think she meant spices or something. “OK, so you can’t eat out, so you go to the market and buy the local fruit and veg to cook on board, don’t you?”
“But buying food to cook on board is really pricey” they moaned.
What were they buying, gold-leafed lettuce?
After spending a few minutes on this topic they explained that Egypt was a much cheaper place to live. “In Hurghada I knew where all the best food shops were”, she said.
“I don’t understand”, I replied. “India is quite possibly the cheapest place for food I have ever been to in the world”.
“Orange juice is so expensive”, she continued.
“But India isn’t really famous for its orange juice”, I replied.
“Never mind orange juice, oranges cost a fortune”.
“Well it’s not really an orange-producing country. It’s much better at bananas”.
“But I don’t want to eat bananas all the time. And a packet of Corn Flakes is extortionate.”
“And the Gouda cheese they once sold in the supermarket” she continued. “That’s the only cheese Jacques would eat but they’ve stopped doing that now”.
“The internet here is so expensive too”, they both claimed.
“You are joking, aren’t you?” I scoffed. “It’s so cheap it’s unbelievable. It may not be 3G but it’s good enough and I’m a heavy internet user, I’m uploading photographs all the time” I explained.
“But Jacques likes to stream French radio all day”, she complained. Well that’s going to cost you a lot wherever you are! Why not do what we do and download podcasts? They had clearly forgotten that in Salalah it cost €3 for 48 hours internet connection. In Yemen you had to go to an internet cafe, and that was only if there wasn’t a power-cut. Forget Eritrea and Sudan. In Egypt we had a novelty connection in the marina that stayed online for 5 minutes at a time. I asked what they were paying and it transpired they were forking out around €20 a month. I pay €7.59 for nine months.
Look, my next blog entry might just be a massive rant about some marina price increases and the way in which the management is handling badly its customers’ expectations. If the marina pulls its finger out I might just spare you the pain, but that’s a separate rant altogether (as is the potential rant on our visa renewal escapades). However you won’t find me complaining about food that is so cheap I can make a one euro food shop last two days. If you want the luxuries you are used to whilst cruising the Med, the availability of milk and Cornflakes, cheese, sausages and expensive internet connection, you have to make a decision: pay through the nose for the luxury; adjust to the local diet, or get the hell out of Dodge. What are you doing in a sub-tropical continent like India if you want to ponce around on your boat all day eating croissants and Port Salut listening to live broadcasts of Monsier Leterme on Radyo Fréquence Eghezée?
It continued: these yachties had been complaining at the ‘rip off’ behaviour of the locals offering various services to us visiting yachties. It saddens me when European boat owners get arsey over the difference between a 5 rupee and a 10 rupee delivery fee on a litre of diesel (one rupee, by the way, is 0.01 euro cents). OK, you feel you are being ripped off, I understand the principle, so don’t pay it. Take it up with the nasty, thieving culprit directly, last seen stuffing his huge pockets with hundreds of your hard-earned euros. Don’t moan at me about it, I don’t want to hear you tell me how shit an entire country, nay, subcontinent is just because you got done out of a few quid and the food is too spicy.
Needless to say the yachties in question have since left India. Let’s hope they find their Continental Breakfast Nirvana in Asia.
Honestly? I’m glad these Moaning Myrtles have gone. Moan moan moan moan moan. Oh p!ss off and let the rest of us enjoy India for what it is.
I just thought I’d put this article into perspective by listing a few random items I paid for today. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if these people are justified in their whinging.
|Internet connection for one month||€1.65|
|½ kilo of tomatoes||€0.58|
|Loaf sliced bread||€0.35|
|3M marine rubbing compound (200g)||€1.85|
|650ml bottle Kingfisher beer||€0.84|
|Raw water pump seal replacement (+ labour & delivery)||€6.58|
|Thali all-you-can-eat lunch, inc bottled water||€1.35|