Hawkes Bay NZ Water trail

Friday, December 16, 2016

Dinner in South India

I was footsore and starving after all of today's architecture. It took so damn long to figure out how to walk from the Green Park Metro to Hauz Khas Village that I almost gave up. But eventually I made it to a sort of Delhi Bellevue, a narrow bar-jammed street alongside Green Park. Saw more foreign tourists here than at Indira Gandhi airport. This fabulous thing is a butter fried potato/vegetable dosai, made of flattened rice , served with 3 dipping sauces, including one of fresh coconut, and a cup of thin lentil gruel, which was also delicious. I finished off with chai, and the dessert special, a bowl of grated coconut caramelized in condensed milk. What I really wanted was kulfi (ice cream) but I let the waiter up sell me. I should have stood my ground. The sweet was beyond cloying. Plus the restaurant was a pain because it didn't want to give me change from a brand new 2,000 rupee note. The money antics here are irritating in the extreme. The 2k notes are what the bank gives you when you exchange currency. You need cash because credit cards just aren't an option for so much that you, as a visitor, needs to buy. In November, the Indian government outlawed 500 and 1,000 rupee notes to clamp down on tax evasion. I'm not sure why this is the answer. Forcing people not to hoard cash? Making existing hoards worthless? Forcing transparency through ATM monitoring? Beats me. The daily queues at the local ATMs (2,500 rupee limit for Indians) are everywhere, and everyone is now hoarding the smaller bills, like 100 rupees. It will have to have an impact on India's tourism sector for sure, hurting every mom and pop merchant out there (I suspect they account for 99% of all Indian businesses). What a pain all round. As a tourist, you want to support the locals in a 3rd world economy, and not keep giving your spend to big corporations. But, I suppose big companies are easier to track for tax compliant, so appeal to government agencies trying to solve revenue shortfalls. However, restricting the free flow of money in the total economy may have unintended consequences. A nuisance for me, a hardship for others?

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