I feel like we’re spending more money on this trip than we could be.
We refused to give more than 40 rupees ($1) to the barefoot rickshaw runner, because that’s what we agreed upon. Then, feeling guilty about that, I’ve started overtipping waiters, cab drivers and the houseboat-arranging guy, who probably don’t need the money as much as the barefoot rickshaw dude. I don’t have the heart to bargain down when the price is so cheap to begin with. Someone on our tour said that meant I was contributing to inflation in India, but I can’t remember why that seemed like a valid reason to pay a guy only $1 to wheelbarrow us to our hotel (and not get us lost on the way).
In all likelihood, we could have negotiated a better price on our houseboat, but who cares. We had the money, and didn’t have the energy or time to shop around. We liked the tout who approached us at the bus stop. Not least because his name was Shboo Boney (spelling of first name is approximate). Always happy to reward personality with some baksheesh.
One website recommended staying in Alleppey for several days checking out boats. I doubt we could have landed a better experience if we had. If we could have paid less, oh well. It’s the experience we’ll remember, not the price.