Karl Rock's Blog

India Travel Safety & Advice plus the Best of Incredible India

Tag: Video

The Best TED Talks on Language Learning [Exclusive Video]

The Best TED Talks on Language Learning [Exclusive Video]

I’ve been learning Hindi slowly for 3 years now, and I got to the point where I was just not happy with my progress. I felt progress was too slow and I wasn’t making the most of actually living in India. So I went search for the answer to speed up my language learning.

After watching hours of language learning videos on YouTube, I was able to separate the fake from the real. There are a lot of fakers on YouTube with language learning videos with The below 3 videos formed my decision to renounce English and begin only speaking Hindi. I’m quitting English for an entire week to see if it helps speed up my learning. I won’t even talk in English to my family and friends, they’ll have to use a translator app.

I expect it’ll help immensely because it’s replicating how we all learnt our mother tongue as kids: listening > speaking > screwing up > repeating. What I think is that language learning is 80% practice and 20% grammar, so I’m going to put that to the test. Goodbye English.

I’ll post an update after the week ends!

7 Must-Have Travel Accessories for India. Photo by Matthias Ripp (https://flic.kr/p/q2dgEV).

8 Must-Have Travel Accessories for India [Exclusive Video]

I arrived in India with none of these things, but I quickly learnt their importance! Here are the stop 7 things you need to travel India comfortably.

1. Ditch the suitcase & change to a travel backpack

Suitcases are useless in India. The roads and footpaths (if there are any!) are full of holes, dirt, and dust. Good luck wheeling your case around on these streets.

Use a large 55 L backpack instead. When it’s on your back, there’s no dragging it through the mud, and you have both your hands-free.

2. A cloth to clean your shoes

Your shoes collect a ton of dust, dirt, and if you’re “lucky” (as they say in India), cow poo. Don’t let the muck build up. Bring a disposable kitchen cleaning cloth and clean your shoes each night with water. Leave it out overnight in your room to dry.

3. Baby wipes, not toilet paperCloth for shoes

Toilet paper is a weird shape to pack and ends up getting squashed and perishing. Baby wipes are easier to pack, you get more use out of an 80 pack, and they do a much better job where it matters.

4. Carry flip-flops

Crocks Flip Flops

When you get back to your hotel, you’ll want to remove your shoes, but still, you don’t want to walk barefoot on the floor. Leave your flip-flops (sandals) by the door to change into when you enter.

5. Microfibre travel towel

Microfibre travel taowelDon’t use towels provided by hotels. People commonly use them to clean the muck off their shoes, and after all the stinky towels I’ve encountered I doubt they’re washed well. You’ll frequently see them drying on a dirty fence in the middle of busy roads.

A half-sized travel towel is small and will do the same job as a regular sized towel plus dry much faster. Most hotels have washing lines on their rooftops.

6. Sweat-wicking clothingNike Dri Fit

If you want to travel comfortably in summer what you wear will make a vast difference to how comfortable you are in 40 degrees. Use sweat-wicking clothing to achieve this. When summer comes, I’m thankful for my Dri-FIT t-shirts.

7. Padlock

Some hotels use old-school padlocks to lock their rooms. Use your own instead, that way you know no one has access.

8. Power bank & adapter

You can buy an adapter in India easily for around $1 USD but one thing to bring from home is a power bank. You never know when you’ll run out of battery on a bus or train. The higher classes on the train have power outlets, but only a few in each carriage and in weird locations.

Beware: No one accepts ripped notes in India. Photo © Karl Rock.

How To Avoid Fake Money & Ripped Notes in India [Exclusive Video]

Counterfeit cash is always in circulation in India. There are hundreds of millions of dollars of it floating around. To avoid getting stuck with it on your trip you need to know what’s real and what’s not as shopkeepers will always try to pawn off their fake currency to unsuspecting foreigners. Once it’s in your hands, no one will take it off you. All shopkeepers scrutinise cash before accepting it. You’ll see them holding notes up to the light to check authenticity. They’re not being rude, they’re just they’re trying to avoid counterfeit money too.

But never fear, here’s how to easily spot the most circulated counterfeits – the 10 rupee coin and 500 and 2000 rupee notes.

How to spot counterfeit currency in India

₹10 Rupee Coin

UPDATE: It’s been brought to my attention that the Reserve Bank of India has issued a statement saying both ₹10 coins here and in my video are real. HOWEVER, the coin on the right is considered by shopkeepers to be fake in New Delhi and surrounding areas, so it’s best that you avoid it if you don’t want to get stuck with it.

I got stuck with a bunch of these and when I tried to use them absolutely no one would take them. 10 rupee coins are the most common counterfeit floating around, especially in Delhi at the moment. They were made in the nearby state of Haryana.

Spot the difference? On the real coin, there are only 10 flower petals, it has the ₹ symbol, and the 10 crosses both the silver and gold part of the coin. Royal fail by the counterfeiters!

₹500 & ₹2000 Rupee Notes

Front of real 2000 rupee note. Photo © Karl Rock.

Front of real 2000 rupee note. Photo © Karl Rock.

There are 17 security measures on these notes but people only use 1 or 2. Get my India Survival Guide (Quick-Start Safety Guide) for all the details.

Don’t accept ripped notes

The same also applies for ripped notes: no shopkeeper will take a ripped noted from you, but they’ll sure try and give you their ripped notes. Always check every note you receive immediately in front of the person who gave it to you to make sure they’re in good condition with no tears or weird stains all over them. If there’s something wrong with it, hand it back to the cashier and ask for another – they’ll replace it for you.

If you do end up with a ripped note, take it to a bank and they will usually change it for you.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén