Autos (what you might know as rickshaws) are a dime a dozen in India. Generally, you hail one like you would any other taxi; you haggle over using the meter; you lose the argument; then you haggle over the price; then you lose that argument; then you begin to walk away, and if you're lucky, the prices comes down a bit and you reach a place of mutual understanding (unclear why some folks in the Middle East are having such difficulty with this). In Ludhiana, however, things work a little differently.
Here the autos run on routes. They can accommodate six people, instead of the usual three. And the price is usually less than half of what a bike rickshaw would cost to take solo. But for the system to really work, a certain level of familiarity of the city is required. Given that I've been told repeatedly that a map of Ludhiana does not exist, you can imagine how difficult this auto system is to negotiate for a newcomer. Which is why milestone 1 was my successful negotiation of the auto system to open my very own Indian bank account. After some advice from my friend Pankag, I hailed one auto to Bharat Chownk (a chownk is a round-a-bout), then found a second auto to take me the remaining distance. Take that, 3% foreign transaction fee!
The main good news of the last few days are the Flip This House-worthy renovations that have been completed on my apartment, allowing yours truly to finally settle in to my own place. I think the before and after pictures will tell the story quite well. I have one large bedroom and a large living room, so plenty of space for visitors!