The Hard Sell
One of our travel reps recently travelled on tour with us to Varanasi where she experienced the ultimate in dogged perseverance!
“We had taken an overnight train to the city from Agra. Varanasi is one of the oldest and holiest cities in the world, built on the banks of the Ganges. If you want to experience ‘India’, this would be one of the best places to do it. It was exceptionally chaotic and it really does overwhelm you, if you let it. I remember that we had an organised a boat trip in the evening to experience Varanasi from the river. Walking down the boardwalk, we were bombarded by people trying to sell us things. There was one particularly persistent fellow and he followed members of the group to the edge of the boat, shouting as our boat left the shore. He looked hopeful as someone shouted “maybe later.”
We returned from our boat trip and disembarked. Our tour leader organised cycle rickshaws for us all to take us back to the hotel. We all got on our designated rickshaws and off we went. There were bikes, cars, people everywhere; it really was manic on the streets. I was having a lovely evening, trying to take everything in. I turned around and jumped slightly because jogging beside our rickshaw was the man who had been previously trying to sell us his wares! He was not going to give up or leave our side. Our rickshaw driver shouted at him to go away. He was not listening. He was adamant that we were going to buy a plastic snow globe which had a tiny representation of the Taj Mahal inside! I started to laugh and repeatedly said I did not want to buy anything from him so he went to one of the other rickshaws and ended up running along aside our group’s rickshaws for more than 20 minutes. It was so comical to watch but I could not help admiring his determination. A couple of the rickshaw drivers tried to cycle quicker but the man would start to speed up too. FINALLY one member of our group relented and bought something. A few people cheered! I turned around to see him beaming. He then gave a little wave and started to run in the direction we had come from – his persistence had paid off!
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