I’m here today with my mate Tony and we are going to give you a bunch of tips to travel safely here in incredible India and we’re especially going to be talking about the Golden Triangle tour, which most foreigners take when they come here to India. and I’ve chosen Tony to chat because he was an ex-police officer in New Zealand. How long were you a cops for?
Tony: Twelve and a half years in New Zealand.
Karl: Twelve and a half years and so how many people have you arrested? Tony: Oh Karl I couldn’t really say but it would be well into the, well into the multiple hundreds. So I was a frontline officer then detective qualified so I investigated rapes, murders, bank robberies. Karl: You’ve seen it all.
Tony: I’ve seen it all.
Karl: and because you’re on the frontline every day you’ve had to deal with the bad guys, right? Tony: Absolutely! Unfortunately, that’s part of policing. There has been a huge amount of interest in him that he’ll be wearing a turban. He is been turning heads with his turban. People were just giving one look and then looking again and then suddenly their eyes got wide and they had a surprising look and then looked that ‘ohh, Oh my God! who’s that?’ Karl: Actually, I learned a lot of what I know about safety from Tony because I used to work with Tony. He was my boss when I used to work in anti-piracy before I moved into computers and so Tony was the boss of the Motion picture association in New Zealand. He represented the main studios, all the major studios from the U.S. So I used to work for him in anti-piracy and we would basically go around busting people selling counterfeit movies. So that’s where I learned a lot of what I do from this guy here and Tony has been my teacher in life for a long time. There’s been a couple of people in my life back in New Zealand who have always guided me in my careers and Tony’s one of these guys. So I’m taking him around the Golden Triangle, or we’ve just been around the Golden Triangle for the last few days. So we went to Agra, we went to Jaipur and we spent a bunch of time in Delhi. So these, these places are the tourist hotspots in India, so you’ve seen a lot, right? Tony: Oh, I am blown away with what I’ve seen. I think India is a unique place to come. It’s beautiful. The people are Incredibly friendly but one part which we need to talk about today because as I had no intention of doing a video, but as we were going through the various hot spots and and the locations that we did, I had some concerns.
Karl: Yeah, from a policing perspective. Tony: Absolutely!
Karl: You’re an expert.
Tony: When we were discussing it at night it was hey, look let’s do a video for all because I’ve been incredibly blessed by coming here my first time to India where I’ve had the assistance of Karl Rock. I’ve had the assistance of Manisha who is spoken Hindi, I don’t speak Hindi. So and also your knowledge has made it a lot easier for me but also even with all your knowledge and with going to these places there were a few times that I put my hands in my pockets because I was thought I was going to get pickpocketed. Karl: So let’s start at Agra. Let’s start at where we went and give them some tips on how to travel safely in India. So Agar we went and took you to the Taj Mahal. How was the Taj Mahal? Tony: That was a bucket list thing for me. We were there for three hours, after an hour and a half I had seen everything I needed to see. I didn’t want to leave. l literally, Manisha and I just sat by one of the corner towers and just watched people and It was such a beautiful experience, but also at that same time as I pointed out to her there were people there that I thought were pickpocketing to a point that a lady left her handbag and went off and took a photo. Her mobile phone was on the outside of the handbag available to take a call if needed.
Karl: Yeah Tony: But that to me is just a temptation to anyone that wanted a new phone. I could have taken that.
Karl: Your bag needs to be zipped up and locked, right?
Tony: Absolutely Your bag needs to be zipped up and it needs to be in front of you. The most ladies like my wife you know you carried over your shoulder or in your hand but the zippers at the back, so people can slightly open it and take something. It’s very easy to do.
Karl: And it’s the same thing for the back pockets right? Never use them. Tony: Oh absolutely, look even today my and I’m sitting with Karl who is one of the most trusted people in India, I am sitting with my wallet and my mobile phone in the in my front pocket. I always learned it, the first thing I learned as a detective at Detective qualifying school you put your hands in your pockets. Now that goes against all rules of mine. I’ve never walked around with my hands in my pockets because I think it makes you look like you’re not interested. When you’re going to a major crime scene the first thing I was taught and I taught my staff as you put your hands in your pockets you do that So if you’re going into a crime scene, you are not touching anything you are not contaminating evidence, you are not moving evidence. When you feel threatened or you feel you have that sixth sense that somebody’s close by put your hands in your pockets, if your hands are in your pockets protecting your valuables they cannot be uplifted from you. So please and I must have done that about half a dozen times on my trip with Karl these last four days. Karl: Yeah, exactly and I’ve been pickpocketed before and if I had have had my hands in my pockets during that busy period where people were pushing past me I wouldn’t have lost my phone on that metro here in Delhi. Tony: Yeah,
Karl: It’s a brilliant tip and something else happened after the Taj Mahal you guys got and I’m not sure if you realized that this could have been dangerous but you guys got him with a friendly rickshaw driver and he was very very friendly and to the point where he invited you back to his home.
Tony: Correct. Karl: And now I know my wife Manisha thought that he was just being very genuine and honest there maybe he was but for most tourists in Agra when a friendly local is inviting you back to their house and when their a taxi driver or a rickshaw driver, it’s not out of pure intentions. These guys are businessman, they need to make money and if they can get you back to their house, they can give you things they can, they can treat you really well, they can invite you to stay the night and it just means you’re going to give them a huge tip the next day that’s what they’re thinking. It’s, it’s not, it’s not an innocent thing they’re doing by inviting you back there.
Tony: Absolutely not, look they were speaking in Hindi. So, unfortunately, I couldn’t follow the conversation but when Manisha advised as we’re travelling I hit her on the leg and said it isn’t happening. Purely and simply because you are in their environment, they know the exit points, they are in full control of your personal situation.
Tony: That just was warning bells to me like you wouldn’t believe.
Karl: You don’t go anywhere with strangers and that’s, these are the tips for anywhere in the world, right?
Tony: Yeah, correct. It’s, it’s stranger danger. You don’t know this person. What I found was each and every rikshaw driver, tuk-tuk driver as such, very very nice guys, Karl: Yeah
Tony: in general. But literally, you are their target because you are the person that is going to feed them by paying what you pay. Please be aware when they ask you for or you discuss with a price of a ride don’t take the first price because what they will do was highly inflate it and then from there it’ll be a bargaining thing. Remember what you’re arguing and please you know, we’re if we’re arguing over 80 rupees or a hundred rupees that’s fifty cents and New Zealand dollars. I’ve actually investigated a homicide for someone that did not hand over the wallet and they had a dollar 20 in their wallet. That was it. Karl: They had 60 rupees in their pocket and they got murdered.
Tony: and they lost their life for that because they wouldn’t hand over their wallet. They’re not worth dying over and also it’s not worth creating a scene arguing over 20 cents.
Tony: because once that starts happening all the other tuk-tuk drivers or rikshaw drivers come in and and start hassling.
Karl: They’ll support the driver. Tony: and then you are the only person in that environment that you don’t know. It’s a safety issue. So barter, but remember what you’re bartering with, in rupees versus what you earn in dollars wherever you are around the world. It’s not worth dying for. Karl: Yeah, true. I never mentioned this actually because I live in India so I now think in rupees so I’m always bargaining for near the local price, but I always end up paying about 20 rupees over to be honest. So whatever they quote you, bargain 50% down and then maybe add on 20 or 30 rupees. It’s kind of like a tip for them that’s usually what I get away with as a foreigner here in India It’s as low as you can go. Tony: I think one other thing I’d like to say is with driving through the Golden Triangle which I would personally absolutely recommend. It is exceptional. The roads are different from Western roads, some of them haven’t been finished but also the lane markings, if we and we were going down a four-lane highway I have counted on average there would be seven cars wide and that would include buses and trucks all going in the same distance. We’re going about thirty to forty kilometres an hour on average. But you certainly learn and I thought Manisha was an exceptional driver, I really
Karl: What about me? Tony: Manish is better. but what I would
Karl: Cut, cut we’re done. Tony: But what I would say is you definitely as a passenger in a vehicle it’s like that radar. You’ve got to know what’s around you 360 degrees more so than any other country I’ve ever been to and I’ve done sort of twenty or thirty countries that I’ve toured.
Karl: You’ll get used to the driving here is what Tony saying and you had a few shocks though, right? How many buses tried to kill you?
Tony: I would say to that I was in the backseat that I moved over to the left hand side because I actually thought I may have been entering their bus. Karl: I turned around to look at you when that happened because I was worried and I could just see you clenching your butt, you were just like Tony: Oh, I thought, I thought we were gonna have an accident
Karl: Me too
Tony: but that’s India, but Karl: You get used to it. Tony: um also when you’re in the car It’s, it’s an offence to blow a horn in New Zealand, in Australia if it’s not required for an emergency.
Karl: Yeah Tony: Here the horn, the driver’s horn is going constantly. Please be aware of that. That’s not a road rage incident. That is just telling the driver to your left or to your right that you are there, you are in their blind spot and for them to be aware of you that something from a Western culture I certainly wasn’t aware of. Karl: Yeah, it’s different. It’s called sonar technology, drive-by sonar. Now across to Jaipur Tony, we got to the pink city. How did you find it? Tony: Look out of all the places I went to that was the best for me. I was Photos don’t do it justice in regards to me doing a bit of googling to see what I was coming to. It just didn’t do justice. I was blown away with the size, the elephants taking people up the up to the fort now in saying that it’s literally a very easy 10-minute stroll to the top of the
Karl: Amber fort
Tony: Yeah to Amber fort. To me, I would do that because you get we’ve got a better sense of everything that was around us. Karl: And while we entered Amber fort, the beautiful fort in Jaipur. Who did we meet Tony? We learn something about the Indian police. I think, he saw it all firsthand. How do you compare to New Zealand police? What is going on? Tony: Look that just wouldn’t happen in New Zealand.
Karl: It blew my mind as well.
Tony: He’s sitting there eating peanuts. He recognized you. We had a two-minute dialogue via at which stage the police constable was notifying other people in the area that it was you.
Karl: Yup Tony: But the concern to me and I sort of got into police mode was He was telling the touts the people that were actually Karl: In some of my videos. Tony: Yeah, yeah that was in your video he was notifying these touts that Karl who had done a scam on was back,
Tony: and that was confronting.
Karl: It was unbelievable. So the policeman was literally going around to all the scammers and touts in the area and telling them that Karl was here and he was actually hugging them like that, like hey, look it’s Karl, look it’s Karl. Tony: Yeah Karl: That shows you their relationship of the police and the scammers and the touts here in India and I was just mind-blowing that he would do that. Tony: To the point that when we came back after we’re done the tour. He was actually wanting to identify and introduce one of the scammers who was one of the main scammers in Karl’s video to him, which just blew my mind and then literally we got a little bit lost our tour guide put us on a wrong Well, we came in a different way back.
Karl: Oh, yeah,
Tony: and at that point, I was asked if I wanted to have a hookah with a hookah pipe, with this guy who then presented me with a small sealed bag of what I believed was cannabis and then in his other hand, he bought out of white powder Karl: Heroin Tony: and offered that to me.
Karl: This was literally ten meters off the main track going down from amber fort and about 15 meters from where a policeman was sitting during the day
Tony: eating his peanuts
Karl: and these guys are selling, you know, heroin, and cannabis and they had the chilam ready for you to just get high just a few meters away from the police. Tony: I would say
Karl: I didn’t expect that.
Tony: No, I would say here that boy samples his own product. Yeah, yeah Karl: He was hiding it under a branch just, I just watched the whole thing.
Tony: Yeah, Karl: That to opposite to you, an ex-police officer.
Tony: yeah Karl: it’s just
Tony: That’s India I suppose but
Karl: It just shows what the police are doing in that area in these tourist areas they have tourists police but the tourist police aren’t doing anything at all. Tony: I was surprised in all the major places that I’ve been like Taj Mahal, Taj Mahal, Amber Fort. Where we are going to pay respect to that building because it is just so iconic and whilst we are doing that literally within 50 meters of any of those major monuments I was asked that I want a magnetic photo of that. Do I want a photo? Do I want a snow globe? Do I want postcards? Do I want balloons? Do I want books on this?
Karl: Weed Tony: Absolutely everything, where I just wanted as it as and look I understand that they need to make money, but in my opinion, they need to be outside. I pay a lot more than the local and I know I’m more than happy to do that because I’m a one-off visitor. But I actually want to experience that that opportunity instead of being asked every five minutes and those are the times when I put my hands in my pockets because I had a serious concern that I would lose something. Karl: Yeah So the police should be keeping these scammers and touts outside of the end before at least but they’re just hugging them and sitting around eating peanuts together.
Karl: It’s just unbelievable the police aren’t doing anything there and these touts should at least be kept to the on the roadside of at Amber fort and Taj Mahal. Tony: Yeah
Karl: That’s crazy. Tony: Indeed! Look if I could say anything, Do your homework, know who you’re going with in regards to any of these touts that come up to you and say that government warranted, I inspected six people at the various locations
Karl: Their ID cards of government.
Tony: Yeah, as tour guides and every one of them was different and the quality of what they had, in my opinion, was not legitimate. Karl: Yeah, they’re all using these fake ID cards to say that they are tour guides.
Karl: Around the Taj Mahal especially and so when it comes to these guides, I think you need to judge the guide on how well they’re presented and their English capacity, okay? You are gonna know straightaway if this guy has rubbish English and he’s dressed really badly. The good guys, they dress well and they speak impeccable English. So that’s how you can know if a guide is good or not. That’s the only way I think. So Tony overall, how was your trip here in incredible India? Tony: Ahh, incredible is the word.
Karl: It is yeah.
Tony: It is unique on so many levels. The major the Taj, Amber Fort and the lights are just truly mind-blowing when you get there and stand in front of them. Photos, videos, TV shows don’t do justice. Look I also and I’ll put a plugin for Karl’s book. I purchase Karl’s book before I came. I knew what I was walking into, the good and the bad and all I say is be aware of your surroundings when you’re talking to the people that you are going to talk to a lot of people that it’s that gut sense if you don’t feel comfortable don’t continue the conversation. I always just said no and a louder voice put my hands up said no, hands in pockets and walked away. They may continue following don’t engage Karl: Yeah,
Tony: because if you’re engaging that’s what they want. Just you’ve said no, hands in pockets and walk away. You’ve given them the subliminal message. You’re not interested and literally, there are so many tourists here. They’ll go to somebody else.
Karl: Yeah, exactly. So hit that join button and become a channel member get a bunch of member-only benefits, so I can keep creating videos here in incredible India.
Long live India