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On Jan. 20, 2014 I departed Seattle bound for Delhi, India on a 22 day group excursion for a tour through India through Odysseys-Unlimited, the tour company headquartered in Newton, MA. I had traveled previously in 2011 to Morocco with O-U and was very happy with that tour. ... See MoreThe trip to India, however, was filled with errors from the start. O-U booked my flights to India so that I flew non-stop from Seattle to Dubai, a 14 hour flight over the North Pole. I arrived in Dubai at roughly the local time of 1 a.m. I caught my connecting flight to Delhi and arrived at the Delhi airport at roughly 3 a.m. local time. O-U arranged a van to take me to my Delhi hotel, which is where the tour began. I was checked into my Delhi hotel room by roughly 5 a.m. local time. There is a 12.5 hour time zone change between Seattle and Delhi and I had just been in transit for roughly 21 hours.

I was informed by my van driver that the tour began five hours later. I got word through the hotel to my Indian guide that I would not be able to attend the introductory tour meeting at 10 a.m., five hours after I walked into my hotel room. I asked to have the trip's itinerary delivered to my hotel room so that I would know when and where to meet my guide and fellow travelers. I had to get some sleep. When I awoke after about three hours of sleep I had received the daily itinerary break down of the tour. When I read the daily itinerary that had just been delivered, it was dated Dec. of 2013, with the first day of the tour listed as Dec. 14, 2013. I was so jet-lagged that I felt truly ill and I knew I was confused, but I also knew it was Jan. of 2014. I had no way to contact my guide, didn't even know his name yet, so I emailed O-U in Newton and explained the situation. Within an hour I had an updated, correctly dated itinerary. I managed to get to the hotel lobby by 11 a.m. and saw some other tour members for the first time. Our 1/2 day excursion of Delhi was to start at 12:30 p.m.. I looked in the shops of the hotel until my non-digital watch told me it was 11:30 a.m. (I had reset it at Delhi airport so I could get up to speed with local time). I went into the lobby and thought I would just sit there and rest until my tour group met to leave an hour later. In the lobby I saw this Indian fellow tearing around the lobby like a chicken with his head cut off. He asked if I was LD. I said I was. He said he was the tour guide (whom I will refer to as NP) and he began to chastise me. He said he had been looking all over the hotel for me, and that I was never to put a "do not disturb sign" on my hotel door again on the trip because that meant that he couldn't get the hotel personnel to open the door to see if I was in my room. I said I was sorry but I was also confused because it was only then 11:30 a.m. and I thought that we were not to leave for our tour of Delhi for another hour. He was furious and said it was 12:30 p.m. I looked at my watch, showed it to him, and told him I had obviously made a mistake; I had miss set my watch by 1 hour. I apologized profusely as we walked to the bus, where everyone else was seated, waiting for me. I was very sorry and embarrassed and I climbed on the bus and said hello and I'm sorry to the driver and his assistant, walked into the coach area and said "Hello everyone, I am LD and I AM SO SORRY for keeping you waiting. I explained I had mistakenly set my watch. Every single member of that 21 person tour was just wonderful about it. They all said things like, "we heard you just arrived at 5 a.m. this morning, was your flight late, had a flight been canceled? " and all that kind of thing. I promised them it wouldn't happen again, and I can assure you that it did not because I pride myself on punctuality and think it is terribly arrogant when people in any country keep you waiting.On Jan. 22, 2014 I departed Seattle bound for Delhi, India on a 22 day group excursion for a tour through India through Odysseys-Unlimited, the tour company headquartered in Newton, MA. I had traveled previously in 2011 to Morocco with O-U and was very happy with that tour. The trip to India, however, was filled with errors from the start. O-U booked my flights to India so that I flew non-stop from Seattle to Dubai, a 14 hour flight over the North Pole. I arrived in Dubai at roughly the local time of 1 a.m. I caught my connecting flight to Delhi and arrived at the Delhi airport at roughly 3 a.m. local time. O-U arranged a van to take me to my Delhi hotel, which is where the tour began. I was checked into my Delhi hotel room by roughly 5 a.m. local time. There is a 12.5 hour time zone change between Seattle and Delhi and I had just been in transit for roughly 21 hours.

I was informed by my van driver that the tour began five hours later. I got word through the hotel to my Indian guide that I would not be able to attend the introductory tour meeting at 10 a.m., five hours after I walked into my hotel room. I asked to have the trip's itinerary delivered to my hotel room so that I would know when and where to meet my guide and fellow travelers. I had to get some sleep. When I awoke after about three hours of sleep I had received the daily itinerary break down of the tour, with my guide's name. When I read the daily itinerary that had just been delivered, it was dated Dec. of 2013, with the first day of the tour listed as Dec. 14, 2013. I was so jet-lagged that I felt truly ill and I knew I was confused, but I also knew it was Jan. of 2014. I had no way to contact my guide, didn't even know his name yet, so I emailed O-U in Newton and explained the situation. Within an hour I had an updated, correctly dated itinerary. I managed to get to the hotel lobby by 11 a.m. and saw some other tour members for the first time. Our 1/2 day excursion of Delhi was to start at 12:30 p.m.. I looked in the shops of the hotel until my non-digital watch told me it was 11:30 a.m. (I had reset it at Delhi airport so I could get up to speed with local time). I went into the lobby and thought I would just sit there and rest until my tour group met to leave an hour later. In the lobby I saw this Indian fellow tearing around the lobby like a chicken with his head cut off. He asked if I was LD. I said I was. He said he was the tour guide (whom I will refer to as NP) and he began to chastise me. He said he had been looking all over the hotel for me, and that I was never to put a "do not disturb sign" on my hotel door again on the trip because that meant that he couldn't get the hotel personnel to open the door to see if I was in my room. I said I was sorry but I was also confused because it was only then 11:30 a.m. and I thought that we were not to leave for our tour of Delhi for another hour. He was furious and said it was 12:30 p.m. I looked at my watch, showed it to him, and told him I had obviously made a mistake; I had miss set my watch by 1 hour. I apologized profusely as we walked to the bus, where everyone else was seated, waiting for me. I was very sorry and embarrassed and I climbed on the bus and said hello and I'm sorry to the driver and his assistant, walked into the coach area and said "Hello everyone, I am LD and I AM SO SORRY for keeping you waiting. I explained I had mistakenly set my watch. Every single member of that 21 person tour was just wonderful about it. They all said things like, "we heard you just arrived at 5 a.m. this morning, was your flight late, had a flight been canceled? " and all that kind of thing. I promised them it wouldn't happen again, and I can assure you that it did not because I pride myself on punctuality and think it is terribly arrogant when people in any country keep you waiting.


So, in the first 48 hours, O-U, which is a TRAVEL company, had me arriving in Delhi 5 hours before my tour began after a 21 hour transit period and a 12.5 hour time change. Their designated agent, NP, gives me an outdated itinerary, and yells at me because I set my watch wrong when I was so jet-lagged I barely knew my own name. We toured Old Delhi that afternoon and I can honestly say that the only thing I remember about the several hour tour is being at the Gandhi outdoor memorial, where I seemed to "come to" for a minute from my jet lag, and the bicycle rickshaw ride through the bazaar streets of Old Dehli. I had my point and shoot digital camera and our ride went so fast that all I could do was click the button and hope a couple of pictures came out. You should see the pictures I have from that ride; it is as if my Nikon was as jet-lagged as I was for the pictures are all out of focus and capture only the colors and frenzy of the bazaar. What a terrific waste of a day on a once-in-my-lifetime visit to Delhi. After the group dinner that night, I went to sleep and when my alarm clock awoke me for the next day, I felt sick. I assumed it was just jet-lag. I by this time had NP's cell phone number and email address and since I did not yet know if my iphone through AT&T coverage was working, because I had not been able to connect by phone with another single traveler on the tour, MB, I wasn't sure my guide was actually receiving the calls I made to him that morning. He didn't answer his phone. So, I sent him an email, which seemed to be working well for us, and told him that I was terribly sorry but that I did not feel up to that day's tour. I asked him what time we were to have our luggage out for pick up for the following morning for our departure to Agra.

The next time I saw NP he read me another riot act about not showing up for the tours. I said, I tried to notify you. I called your cell and you didn't answer. I sent you an email. He complained that he received the email several hours after I had sent it and so he had been looking for me all around the hotel again. I said, well why didn't you call me on my hotel phone.

I got through day 3 (2nd day in India) by eating some snacks I had brought from home and sleeping almost 12 hours straight, up for an hour, sleeping another 8 hours. I felt like a zombie but I managed to get myself and my belongings on the bus on time the next morning and off our tour goes for Agra.

The Taj Mahal is everything you have read about in a guide book and a whole lot more. It is astounding. Part of what made it so amazing to me is that I felt like I was on an acid trip (this is a metaphor, I have never done LSD) with exhaustion. Sometimes it felt like I was hallucinating. But I managed it and myself and life seemed good. I thanked our driver and his assistant without fail for all the miraculous feats they managed like not hitting oncoming traffic, be it camels, goats, motorscooters, pedestrians, cattle, dogs, etc. etc etc. I particularly thanked NP for an extraordinary day and told him that I was already running out of superlatives for the trip because the marvels of India are almost beyond belief. However, unless you have been there yourself, you will not understand that for every marvel, there is something that will break your heart; human and animal rights violations all around you all of the time.him that I was already running out of superlatives for the trip because the marvels of India are almost beyond belief. However, unless you have been there yourself, you will not understand that for every marvel, there is something that will break your heart; human and animal rights violations all around you all of the time. Nevertheless, this was the trip I signed on for and I expected the balance of good/horrible. That certainly was not NP or O-U's fault!

A day or so later I noticed I was beginning to feel like myself and not so jet-lagged. I should have told you at the beginning of this dissertation that I am an art historian, having been both a museum curator (including at the MFA, Boston for 3 years, 1987-1990) and a college professor. So, I know a little something about art and culture. In fact, I first discovered O-U because one of my good friends is the director of the Baltimore Museum of Art and her museum's special interest group used O-U to take their supporters on a trip to Morocco and had been very pleased with the outcome. That is how I came to go to Morocco with O-U myself, although not with the Baltimore group.
s the director of the Baltimore Museum of Art and her museum's special interest group used O-U to take their supporters on a trip to Morocco and had been very pleased with the outcome. That is how I came to go to Morocco with O-U myself, although not with the Baltimore group. I took a course on the history of Indian art at UW last fall in preparation of my trip to India, and I read every recommended book on the subject in advance and watched every Indian movie I could find on Netflix. So, to say I was prepared in advance to appreciate the artistic/cultural marvels of India would be an understatement. I rush to tell you however that I am very respectful and sensitive to how I present myself in this regard. I have been a teacher and tour guide myself and I know how annoying it is both to the guide and the tour members when a novice with some level of knowledge likes to parade that knowledge ad nauseum.

Many places we went were naturally thronged with other tourists from India and various European countries. When we were touring one of the magnificent forts built in the 16th century, I believe, we were walking through a smallish room lined with Indian marble. I tried to position myself in a place so that I could hear NP's discussion of the room and the palace, but getting close to the speaker wasn't always possible in a group of 22 people, particularly when there are other tour groups in the same room and lots of loud discussion in various languages.

In this particularly small room, I could not understand anything NP said. So, having been on tour groups before, I just accepted it for what it was and enjoyed looking at the details of the room myself. I started noticing these roughly quarter sized circular discs set in the marble in an irregular pattern, and each one of them was engraved with what appeared to me to be a Hindu symbol. It intrigued me. When the tour of the fort was over and we were all collecting ourselves before heading to our bus, I found an opportune moment to ask NP about those disks. I said "I noticed and I was wondering...". He replied "I already discussed that." I said, "I know you did, NP, but you need to understand that it is not always possible to hear every word you say in a small room with competing voices in other languages." He said that wasn't his problem. I was gobsmacked. I said, "Look, here's the thing. I am a paying guest on a tour of India and you are my guide. I am entitled to ask you questions and if you have to repeat yourself, then that is unfortunate but it is a part of your job." He got right up in my face and told me that he had already discussed the issue I was wondering about and it was time to get on the bus.

I have been on a lot of tours with a variety of companies, including tours of Spain, France, the UK, Italy and Corsica, and as a young person, on tours around the US. Never in my life have I been treated with such disrespect by a guide. Usually, the guides are so happy to have found an eager learner that you soon become their favorite pupil. That has been my prior experience to NP.

The tour continued. A few days later, we had a day with just a morning excursion and then the rest of the day was free time. Now, unfortunately, as you probably hear all too often, these tour companies will put their tour groups up at a hotel that is on the outskirts of whatever city you are visiting, presumably because that lowers the cost for them. That is exactly what happened at this point in the tour. NP told our group a day in advance that we were to have the afternoon to ourselves the next day which we could use to enjoy the spa at the hotel, or he could arrange horseback riding for anyone interested, or we could walk to the nearby village which was a walkable distance according to NP.

Now, i don't know if the Boston BBB keeps abreast of the latest news in India, but within the past year all the big newspapers in the world carried a story of the Dutch 51 year old woman who was gang-raped in India in January of this year, exactly a week before my trip began. Here is a link: www.telegraph.co.uk.new/worldnews/asia/India/10574342/Danish-woman-gang-raped-in-the-heart-of-Dehli. Here I was, a single woman traveling with a group in India, and although I am 61 I can usually pass for 50 and I am in excellent condition. Did I want to walk to a village in a country I didn't understand, but where I could sense the underlying disregard for women by all the men I met there. I often thought the only thing that kept me from being lunch to this country's inhabitants, should I be unlucky enough to get separated from my group, was my Visa card. Money talks in India. But, back to the question: did I want to walk to the village alone. No.

I found a quiet moment with NP and asked him how I could get back to the fort we had just visited, so that I could see some of the government run shops that sell handicrafts culled from all over India. He said he could arrange a car and driver for me. Two of my fellow travelers, a couple from TN, heard my conversation with NP and said they'd like to join me. Fine, I said. NP said he would arrange it. I also told him I needed to purchase a few feminine necessity articles and didn't know where to find them. Shops in India are nothing like shops in the US. I still don't know where women buy their personal care products. NP didn't seem to understand, so I told him I needed to buy things like toothpaste.

The next morning we toured someplace and then went back to our hotel. I checked in with the couple from TN about our afternoon plans and they had forgotten about them completely and now weren't interested. So, still on the bus on the way back to the hotel, I went up to NP and told him that since the TN couple weren't going, I wasn't comfortable going off in a country I didn't understand with a driver that I didn't know. I was sorry but I just didn't feel like I could do it. NP was annoyed but said he would cancel the driver/car.

I didn't really know how to spend my time that afternoon, but we were in a drop-dead gorgeous hotel with a 360 degree view that was astounding. I went to the spa and made a reservation for a massage and for the first time I had a moment to myself, I didn't want to sleep. I wasn't jet-lagged anymore! Hallelujah!

I had an incredible massage at the spa, then sat next to the beautiful infinity swimming pool for the rest of the afternoon, watched the sun set, and relaxed. We had a group dinner that night and I sat next to a terrific couple I liked a lot from AK. The husband of the couple couldn't wait to tell me at dinner about his afternoon's adventure: he had been in the town with the fort and had somehow communicated to a local man that he would like to ride his motorcycle. The man took him on a spin and then let AK man drive the motorcycle himself alone. This was the trip's highlight thus far for him. I listened to the tale and then asked, when and where had this happened? Oh, that afternoon in the town near the fort. Oh, I said, that’s fun. How did you get there? Did NP get you a car and driver? No said AK man, we all took our bus. I said what? our bus went back to town? He said yes, all of us rode back to town, did our own thing, and then met up for ice cream and called the driver and he came back with the bus and picked them all up and brought them back to the hotel in time for dinner. They had pooled their money and paid the driver.


I listened to the tale and then asked, when and where had this happened? Oh, that afternoon in the town near the fort. Oh, I said, that’s fun. How did you get there? Did NP get you a car and driver? No said AK man, we all took our bus. I said what? our bus went back to town? He said yes, all of us rode back to town, did our own thing, and then met up for ice cream and called the driver and he came back with the bus and picked them all up and brought them back to the hotel in time for dinner. They had pooled their money and paid the driver. I finished dinner and went back to my hotel room. I was very upset that the tour bus had gone back to the town and that no one, particularly NP, had the courtesy of telling me this was an option. There was a shop in particular that I very much wanted to go back to to buy a hand-made quilt for my son.

I called NP on the hotel line and told him that I had just heard that most of my tour group had "rented" our tour bus to go back to the town where he knew I wanted to go that afternoon and I wanted to know why he didn't inform me. He got very angry and said he had a toothbrush for me. I said, NP, that toothPASTE was a euphemism for what I needed and that that wasn't the point. I said you knew that I wanted to go to that town. He said yes and I arranged a car and driver for you. And I said, I explained to you why I wasn't comfortable with that, since India scares me. He screamed at me, what do you want me to do? I try to make arrangements for you and your turn them down. It isn't my job to tell you that the group got together and hired our bus and driver. He said, do you want the toothbrush or not?

At this point, I could see that NP was not only being difficult in general to me, but he was actually going out of his way to thwart me. I don't know if it is because he is Indian and I am American, he is in his 40s and I am in my 60s, he is male and I am female. But he was quite cagey. That night he apparently contacted O-U in Boston to head off any potential complaints I might be going to make (he knew I had already complained to them about the out of date itinerary). I am not privy as to what NP said to O-U, but the next morning NP took me aside and gave me a letter from Bruce Epstein of OU, addressed to me, with an attempt to intervene. I have the letter which I would be happy to share with you should you like. The gist of it was this: NP had reported to OU that I was seriously jet-lagged and that OU hoped I wasn't truly ill and if I were, NP would be happy to arrange for me to see a doctor in India. Bruce also stated that his company's primary concern was to make sure that everyone on their trips were above all safe and that it was the guides job to make sure that everyone had a good trip, but that it wasn't possible for NP to make all the special arrangements I was asking for. He further suggested that each night, before returning to our hotel rooms for the evening, that NP and I meet to specifically discuss the next day's agenda and that I could tell NP in advance when I would or would not be planning to attend the excursion and any other details as they arose. I read the letter as I sat next to NP. I said, well that sounds like a good idea. I would like to have a head's up the night before about what to expect on the following day. As for the bit about me wanting special arrangements, I just laughed. That was as untrue as the idea that there are genies in bottles. As a matter of fact, NP was always making special arrangements to stop the bus for certain travelers to go to the ATM, or making a special stop at a place to buy liquor for those who needed it at night when we were staying in dry hotels. I could go on and on about special arrangements, but so far the only one I wanted was one with fellow travelers to the nearby town and I chickened out when I heard I would be going alone because the rape of the Danish woman was very much on my mind.


We got through the rest of the trip relatively well and as a matter of fact when it was my turn to sit up front in the bus next to NP, I initiated a conversation with him about my interest in Indian art, all the films and books I had read, and asked him about his wife, children, his living arrangements in Delhi with his mother and brother's family, etc. etc. etc. It was one of the best afternoons spent on the bus. The people sitting next to us listened and later said to me that it was unfortunate that NP hadn't used his microphone for this discussion because they really thought everyone on the trip would have liked to have heard it. Despite this nice interaction, however, I learned never to ask for NP to repeat information or for any favors. I just wanted to get through the rest of the trip as intact as possible, with my eyes and ears wide open. I already understood I would never understand India, so I would just enjoy what I could see and experience as we went along. I don't like confrontation and I don't enjoy creating scenes. I am a mature, educated woman who was simply in India to see what I could. I had no interest in rocking anybody's boat.

We flew from the north of India to Mumbai. We checked into the beautiful Taj Mahal Hotel there that somebody in my tour whispered to me had been the hotel that terrorists blew up a few years ago, selected in particular because it was used by western tourists. I said, oh no, OU would never put us in that hotel. But they did: wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Mumbai_attacks#cite_note-FOXNews-Sites-List-12.

When we walked into this gorgeous hotel, there on a tall, well lit wall engraved Viet Nam memorial style, were all the names of the dead tourists. I cannot express how that makes you feel when you are checking into that same hotel. Shame on you, Odysseys-Unlimited. I assume you must get a great discount for using this hotel.

I won't bore you with details of our trip to Kerala. We flew there, spent two nights on house boats, and although I was pleased to be on the houseboat with only one other traveler, thus I had time to catch up my journal while sailing the backwaters, we never had a word of information about the area through which we were traveling. The boat with the most of our travelers had the specialized tour guide, who lived on the boat with them and told them about the history and culture of the area for the two days. My cohort and I had only each other. Comically, one night we watched The Shining on the boats dvd player. Our pilot and two attendants did not speak a word of English. Those two days seemed to me to be a waste of my time in India and I don't understand how OU can justify not providing us with a guide for a two day period.

On our last day in India,we had another free afternoon. I bypassed NP and went straight to the hotel's concierge. There were two things I wanted to accomplish while in India: I wanted to get henna tattoos and I wanted to have my birth charted by a Hindu astrologer. The concierge arranged both things for me. It was one of the best days of my trip.

Now here's the last thing i want to discuss: I was traveling alone and paid an extra almost $3000 for a single supplement. In total, my 3 week trip to India cost me $10,000.00. When I got on the tour I found out that there were groups of friends traveling together, thus receiving significant discounts. There was one group of 6, all former military men and their wives, who were on their 10th trip with OU and because they were traveling as a group they got a deep discount. There was another group of 4, same discount. In discussing all of this over many meals and hours on the bus, it turned out that I spent as much for my one person tour as some of the couples on the trip paid for two people. This did not strike me as fair.

I came home only to get very sick and was treated with two rounds of antibiotics that didn't really help. In all, I was sick for six weeks. I don't blame OU for that. That is a risk of going overseas, or indeed, anywhere.

When I did start to feel better, I contacted OU with a review of the trip, being as candid with them as I have been here. I expressed my dissatisfaction with my tour guide, who never explained to me where best to change dollars for rupees, where best to find/use an ATM, and a million other things I will never know. He never spoke to us about where we were going next, despite the fact that we would all be on the bus traveling together for 8 hours at a time. NP spent a lot of that time sleeping.

I explained to OU that I had witnessed NP verbally abusing the young bus assistant on the trip a number of times and that I could see absolutely nothing that that poor young man could have done to receive such a reprimand from NP and especially in front of other people.

I also had some basic criticisms of OU in general. One of the big advertised sections of their brochure on this trip to India is that we would get to visit a girl's boarding school in the north. We were invited to bring any items we wanted to share, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, books, pens, pencils., etc. We were told that OU has a special relationship with this particular school and supports them in a significant way. We did visit the school and meet maybe 1/2 of the 90 or so students. NP had told us that he wasn't sure what gift OU had arranged to be delivered to the school in conjunction with our trip, but that he thought it might be a microphone system that they requested. In fact, when we got to the school, someone brought out a big trash bag sized bag filled with plastic sandals. Each of us tourists were given a pair to give to the girls. I was gobsmacked again. Who on earth would think that girls, living in a boarding school in the desert, would have need for a pair of plastic shoes? I wrote OU when I got home, chastising them for this paltry gift and pointing out the uselessness of plastic shoes and what kind of message does that send to the girls. I suggested that they would have been better off giving each girl a pair of athletic shoes that had some life to them, maybe a pair of Nikes. Yes, I admitted, the girls would all have to measure their feet and OU would have to get the right sized pair for 90 girls. But, what a good use of the math they were learning. How useful such shoes would be in their everyday life in India. What an inspiration Nike could herself be for these young women who were hoping to find meaningful, respected work when they left the school. I suggested OU could have gotten Nike or another company to donate the shoes for the advertisement. The possibilites are just endless. And how about if we brought each girl her own book, or at least a notebook, and a box of pens or pencils.

We found out that day that the last time OU had visited this girl's school, their gift was 90 identical polyester knitted scarves, probably produced in China as the plastic sandals were. This in a country where the handicrafts and arts are dying. What a cheap way for OU to behave and what missed opportunities.

And, by the way, in the news of this week (May 8, 2014), the world is rightfully upset that girls were kidnapped from a Nigerian school and will be sold as sex slaves. This school we visited in India was precisely the same kind of situation. It is a frightening thought.

So I came home, thought the trip over for weeks, and sat down to tell OU about my dissatisfaction with many advertised parts of their tour. I discussed what I consider to be unfair pricing structures (OAT doesn't even charge for a single), the lack of basic assistance and poor manners of their agent, NP, the fact that I didn't have the benefit of any information for two full days and nights out of my once in a lifetime 21 day trip to India, and what I consider to be their poor and chintzy taste in advertising their support of the girl's school. Above all I criticized their planning of my flights to India and the fact that I missed at least 3 full days of the trip because their travel plans had me arriving 1/2 way around the world five hours before a 21 day $10,000 trip began. Not to mention that I had been charged for the first night’s hotel room and didn’t wasn’t even yet in India!

I told OU about my professional cultural background and associations and told them that they market themselves as a tour company that provides an emphasis on the culture of the countries visited. I told them how disappointed I was that I was told I couldn't ask a question about a cultural icon because my guide was too short-tempered.

And let me also add this:  what government or country has oversight on the matters of bus safety in the various countries that all the tour companies use.  The reason I ask is that on both of the OU trips I have taken, both to Morocco and India, the bus driver and his assistant sleep on the bus.  I asked OU about this and they ignored me.  I’d like to know why the bus driver & assistant sleep on the bus; is it to protect the bus against vandalism or is it to save money on not providing rooms for the two guys?

Where do the two guys get their meals, where do they shower and relieve themselves, and do they, above all, get a decent night’s sleep so that they are in good shape to be driving around their precious cargo.  In both Morocco and India the bus driver’s performed feats similar to Cirque du Soleil in getting buses though small passages, avoiding oncoming traffic and never hitting an animal or pedestrian streaming around us at all times in all cities.

I would assume tour companies in the US have strict regulation about sleep for bus drivers, kind of like airlines have rules about off time and sleep for airline pilots.

But who governs this in India?

I concluded that I would be satisfied if they would refund me the single supplement portion of my cost. Bruce Epstein and Claudia Shutz told me they did not feel they had any reason to refund any portion of money to me, because I had stayed in single rooms, and that I was unwelcome on any of their future trips.

Terrorist attacks in Mumbai

The 2008 Mumbai attacks were twelve coordinated shooting and bombing terrorist attacks lasting four days across Mumbai, India's largest city,[6][7] by members of Lashkar-e-Taiba.[8] Ajmal Kasab, the only attacker who was captured alive, later confessed upon interrogation that the attacks were conducted with the support of Pakistan's ISI.[9][10] The attacks, which drew widespread global condemnation, began on Wednesday, 26 November and lasted until Saturday, 29 November 2008, killing 164 people and wounding at least 308.[2][11]

Eight of the attacks occurred in South Mumbai: at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident,[12] the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower,[12] Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital (a women and children's hospital),[12] the Nariman House Jewish community centre,[13] the Metro Cinema,[14] and in a lane behind the Times of India building and St. Xavier's College.[12] Ther
By gravatar LaurettaD (New User) - on May 09, 2014 - 04:45 | report
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