Hi ,

Greetings from South Goa, India.

Last week I was telling you about going round and round at the Indian Spring fair in Greater Noida near Delhi.
I had some problems trying to negotiate a workable price with some of the guys there.. You can read about it here.

Lots people sent me positive feedback but one guy.. I don't really know who.. but somebody with an Indian name came on our online chat system with a massive rant about how I was living in the 9th century and abusing Indians by screwing down the prices to the minimum. He practically accused me of being colonial and abusing India. So sir.. whoever you are.. Calm down dear.. I'm just doing my job. It's very simple, when we find a product we like - we check the market - back in the UK/EU these days there is a market price, if you try and sell higher you won't sell anything. Especially with the Ancient Wisdom online system, we don't employ salespeople who can sell on the back of relationships, and a bit of sales chat.. the sales agents can always get higher prices. But the savvy buyer, and if you are reading this - that's probably you - knows that sales agents cost money and that has to come from somewhere. So to cut a long story short.. we have to get the right price, or there is no business, certainly no repeat business.
But I understand these guys in the trade-show, they spend a huge amount on getting there and putting on the show - that money has to come from somewhere - and it goes in the prices. It's the same issue as the sales agents.
Soooo... after the trade show Mr Chatterjee (our man in India) head to Delhi to see our suppliers on the ground. Near the old train station is an old established giftware wholesale trading area, it's a bit wild, first time visitors find it scary. Rickshaws, and cows, and holymen and god knows what is going on here. It attracts some colourful characters from around the world who I suspect are sourcing products other than gift-ware.. erm herbal products.. if you get my drift..

But not far away, within walking distance - if you know how to find it is a different world. The more respectable (and successful) traders have moved to some quieter cleaner streets nearby where larger professional warehouses exist.

Checking the price of products, checking the provenance and doing a deal is fall less stressful and prices are basically right. India is changing and in spite of what you might read lots of things are better. This is one of them.

The five star hotels attract the begging gangs and other bad elements, and the average tourist experience is not good. The tourist trap restaurants are best avoided by simply taking a cab to the South Delhi middle class residential areas. They have great names like.. East of Kailash or New Friends Colony. In the mist of these places you can find leafy squares with funky gift shops, coffee bars and european style restaurants. We went to Block M Greater Kailash which also has a night market. Had dinner in the hippest Italian restaurant with female staff (unheard of a few years ago), a young girl with a guitar singing like an angel and we ate perfect food. After Mr Chatterjee likes a whiskey or two so we asked if there was a bar.. now I can remember when a bars in Delhi were dirty dark guilt ridden places, hidden away and strictly men only. We found ourselves in trendy friendly place, live music again, Indian folk singers and lots of youngster having a chilled time - even shock horror - a middle class lady enjoying a glass of wine on her own - whilst waiting for friends. We had our whiskey soaked up the vibe and headed back to the hotel.. Whilst waiting for the taxi, I realised I didn't have my phone. Moment of panic.. I turn to go back and almost bump into to a guy running round the corner. Sir, thank goodness I found you.. please come back, we have your phone.
Mr Chatterjee 50% couldn't believe it, only a couple of years ago he lost his new phone to a pickpocket gang not far from here, and 50% proud of his honest India.

South Goa. Twenty minutes from the airport, we have a company apartment practically on Majorda beach, acquired about twelve years ago, It's almost heaven, totally peaceful and an escape from hectic India. South Goa is opposite to the North Goa party scene - it's very peaceful - imagine only the noise of nature, distant crashing waves, bird song, frogs croaking of an evening.. I like to come here when I'm in India - it's a time to quietly complete the orders and sort the details, I can have pre-production samples couriered to here, even some suppliers are happy to fly in and and spend an afternoon working on an order by the pool.
And there are friends here that have become like family, so it's a bit like coming home. It's a full year since I was last here - and sadly time constraints mean that even now this is only a few days. But its quality time, rising before dawn I like to walk on the beach as the sun rises behind the palm trees, allsorts of birds can be seen, storks, peacocks, sea-eagles - I think it's a bird spotters paradise :). Walking/jogging on the pristine freshly washed sand is good exercise and time to clear the head and make plans.

Tomorrow I leave for Kolkata. A different world.
More news next week.

Take care..



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