This would seem to be a stupid tip, but really this is all about the art of
traveling, and if most travelers would admit it to themselves and the world they
are clueless on how to find place, and mostly just wander around toward their
goal. Here though is some help or clues.
Most poorer or underdeveloped countries will always give you directions, even if
they are wrong, so what happens is you go around in circles. I have went as high
as asking 22 times before I was tired and gave up. I did this one time in a Mall
in Argentina asking for an Internet Cafe. I was just wasting time and really did
it for fun. In the end I finally discovered there was not an Internet Cafe in
this Mall, but 22 people said there was.
So... DO NOT BELIEVE FOR ONE SECOND THE DIRECTIONS ARE GOOD
I LIKE TO ASK: "Non-Interested Bystanders"
Pharmacist - The seem to be smarter than the average person and
have better language skills.
People that are not interested in helping me. They will give me the
correct directions, or they will at least try, the people that are dying to help
you will only lead you to a friends place to buy, rent, sell, or something else.
Receptions desk or maybe someone hanging around the Hotel.
I DO NOT ASK:
Police for they may just ask me for my passport, then keep it, and
wait until I give them money to get it back.
Anyone calling themselves a "Tourist Guide" or maybe they have a
card that shows they are to help "Tourist." These people can tell you best how
to find a whorehouse, but not how to find directions. They are 99 percent of the
time selling something.
Taxi drivers. They will lead you around the block and charge you
Easy way of finding a place:
Get the Hotel to call a taxi and tell the driver the directions or your
- Get the name and address of the place you wish to visit.
- Talk to the Hotel Manager or someone that can read and write. If they get
weak looking, or they hesitate to read, do not embarrass them, go to the next
person. The probably cannot read.
- After you have found hopefully someone that speaks your language or English
you can start to ask questions...
STOP HERE - Think.. Try to understand the next comment!
THE TAXI DRIVER DOES NOT SPEAK ENGLISH OR YOUR LANGUAGE!
What does this mean?
Why is it important to think about this?
Why is this a big deal, the manager is going to help?
The ANSWER IS!
For the Taxi driver to understand or read the directions they must be
WRITTEN IN THE LANGUAGE OF THE COUNTRY.
NOT IN ENGLISH!
This by far is the stupidest thing that happens with directions. I am here in
India and I asked the man to write down in his language the address, but he
wanted to show me his English was good. I forgot to check the address and when I
looked at it I realized it was in English. I went to 6 Taxi drivers before I
felt one had an idea, and what he did was drove to a man that read and spoke
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
If you do not KNOW instantly that the person understand you then the person does
not understand. Most traveler are "Idiots" when it comes to instincts, they
believe they should live by their brains and intellect. If they really had
brains and intellect they would know their gut feeling is the correct opinion,
and their conscious brain is too overloaded to make a good decision and there
sub-conscious brain is work fine if they pay attention.
If you have a list of place, then if possible list them out in the language
of the country for the Taxi, Bus, or anyone wanting to help you. Realize that
having a person, EVEN a friend to help you will make all the prices double. I do
not find that I get better deals when a friend is with me, in fact I get worst
deal. Especially on exchanging money. Traveler are experts on changing money,
not the locals.
MAPS - Most locals have never seen a map, so have little ability to read a
Great... The Lonely Planet says the Hotel is on this street?
But there are NO street signs!
- Look on the curbs, the may be on the corners at the side of the street at
- Look on the side of buildings, they may have place the names on the side of
- Look at the signs on business's. Sometimes the address is on the sign.
- Look for a major intersection, and start from there. Most very big
intersections have signs of some form.
- Walk into a business and ask for their business card or name card. Maybe it
is written on it, or maybe a receipt.
- Last.. but only the last choice is to ask someone, they do not know.
- Look on a park bench.
- They love to take you around the block.
- Do not get in one if you do not know what a fair price is.
- They always have a cousin or a friend that does the job.
- Is worth his or her wait in gold if honest.
- Do not believe you will meet number 4.
- They often and more than like do not read well.
- The price has got to be 1/2 whatever they say.
- Do not leave a taxi without your bag.
- Pay only after you are out of the taxi completed.
- Do not go inside while leaving your bags in the taxi.
- I do not trust meters ever. I always negotiate a price.
- At some large airports there are pre-set fees for taxis.