I am in Mumbai at the moment, I've been here for a week and leaving tonight. I've been staying at the company apartment in Juhu, a neighborhood in Mumbai. The apartment is less than a five minute walk to Juhu Beach, on the Arabian Sea. It's not like beaches in the U.S.--it's a little dirty, there's really no sunbathing that goes on and people wade out into the sea in their regular clothes, at least as far as I have noticed and have been told.
So I walk down there Wednesday morning to get some photos and to stick my feet in the ocean, just to say I did. I'm approached by an old woman not speaking English well who wants to give me a henna tattoo. What the heck, I think, and ask her how much. I THINK she said 40 rupee, so I agree. She finishes and asks me for 500 rupee! That's about $9 USD. I start arguing with her and meanwhile, two guys are trying to sell me photos, and another group of men approach to watch us argue. I was starting to feel like the situation was about to get out of hand so I threw the 500 at her and immediately left the beach. I'm embarrassed because I felt so helpless--max, I should have given her 100 and I knew it. But being alone, I really didn't know how much it would escalate. Oh, and a good henna tattoo should last three weeks or more, mine is almost gone two days later.
The second time I got scammed was Wednesday night. A colleague was kind enough to take me to the markets in Bandra, where a lot of negotiation on the prices happens. When we finished she hailed me a rickshaw. I get in the rickshaw, it pulls away, and the driver kills the meter then pretends he doesn't understand when I keep telling him to turn on the meter. I should have just gotten out, but gave him 100 (about $2) when it really should have been 40 or less.
No skin off my nose, $11 isn't a big deal, but I really didn't like being in these situations I couldn't control! I'm just chalking it up to a couple of interesting experiences, and a funny story. At least, my colleagues sure thought it was funny.