In Siliguri my strings of patience broke the first time and twice in one day.

At 6.30pm we made our way to NJP train station. With the help of our hotel we organized a rickshaw and fixed the price.

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We had a great driver, fast and ruthless. After only 30 minutes we had reached the train station and hopped happily out of his vehicle. We handed over the agreed 30Rs but he didn’t accept the money. He started to talk in Bengali, a language I am not fluent in and the only word I could understand was something with hundred. I was not willing to pay ‘something hundred’. So we started arguing back and forth in Bengali and English.

After 1 minute we were surrounded by a group of rickshaw driver and voyeurs. They all gathered for the show and it seems there will be no help. Roughly 100m away from the station building with no street lights it was a scary situation. Eventually a young man stepped out of the group and started to translate for us in English. Our driver was asking for 300 Rs. So our guy was not only a ruthless driver, no he was a ruthless money leech too.

‘When did you hire the rickshaw?’ our new friend asked us. Well we told him about 30 minutes ago we hired the bicycle with the help of our hotel. ‘Mmhh… the driver says he picked you up at 4.30pm and now we have 7pm.‘ Fuck you I thought. The whole day was crap and then a person that can lie like that. I lost control and started screaming at him. I grew louder and louder, full of anger. I must have looked like a Furies my finger pin-pointing in his face scolding and swearing at him in high-pitch voice. I didn’t care.

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Finally our translator looked at us and told us to give the 30 Rs to the driver and go. ‘Just give him the money and then go.’ We passed the money to the driver and our friend was building up a huge discussion with him, engaging him heavily.  We run as fast as we could to the station building and disappeared inside.

Boing, boing, boing our load resting on our shoulders dropped heavily to the floor.

Alex

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