About Me (2)
General Stuff (9)
New York (3)
People I've Met (6)
Preparations and Inspiration (3)
Lurking Around on Travel Sites
In My Own Bed
Pray For It
Seattle and Interesting Uses of Pyrex
Heading to Seattle
Weekend Out of Hippyville
The $330 Trip to the Oregon Country Fair
July 4th, 2004
More Books I've Read
Why Are These People Talking to Me?
There And Back Again
I Wanted To End It All
Summing Up the Gobi
November 26, 2003
8 hours left in India
2 days in Delhi. No, wait, 2 and a half, if you include the time from landing at the airport, to when I flew out for Varanasi 2 months ago.
Delhi has not made a good impression on me, either the first time or the second. The first bad impression was mostly my own fault, mind you. I'd landed in Delhi at 1:30 in the morning, after about 2 days worth of transit. All I saw of Delhi was the Immigration queue, arrival lounge, the inside of a taxi, some dark landscape, and my own stupidity.
See, I shouldn't have been in a taxi. There's a shuttle bus that ferries passengers between the international and domestic terminals. I just got dumb, and let a taxi driver sweet-talk me. I paid 500 rupees for the privilege that's about $12US. Claudia is sitting next to me as I type this: "Please don't put the number," she said. "It's too painful."
Tell me about it. But hey, when I'm stupid, at least I'm not half-assed about it.
That 500-rupee taxi ride gave good value on some invaluable lessons though: Never hurry, or let someone rush you. Always stop, think, and look at the guidebook. Verify everything from at least 2 sources. Taxi drivers are a bunch of lying bastards. Well, that's harsh... I'm sure their parents were married.
Returning to Delhi the other night, I'd hoped that things would go more smoothly. Well, I have the right to hope.
Before leaving Agra, I'd called our hotel to reconfirm our reservation. Everything was set... then we got to the H.K. Choudhary Guesthouse in Connaught Place. I mention the name, because I want you to find it in your guidebook and mark it out with a big black pen. Instead of handing me the usual signin book, the reception guy handed me a phone. A voice on the other end explained that the person in our room was staying another day, so they had no room for us, of course though sir everything was fine, he had already arranged for me and Claudia to stay at the hotel across the street. Uh-huh.
We trucked across the street, to the spankin' new Metro Park Hotel (they'd been open about 10 days, said the desk dude from behind his counter in a rather swish lobby full of marble, dark stained wood and a hint of fresh paint). The price for the HK was 550 rupees. For the Metro Park?
I started yelling. I think Claudia did too. Granted, none of this was probably these guys' fault. I think though a nagging suspicion in my head said that they might have made a little arrangement with the HK guys: tell the foreigners you're overbooked, send 'em our way and they'll pay at least twice as much; we get some business since we're new, and we'll kick you back a little. I don't know. But it wouldn't surprise me.
At the same time, the Metro staff were pretty cool. Claudia disappeared; I chilled a bit, and the price went down to 1000. Still WAY too much. 10 minutes later Claudia returned; I'm still not clear on what she said, did, cursed or threatened the HK guys with, but 5 minutes later the manager was down front in a car, driving us to a place that would cost 750 but we only had to foot 550. The HK, under threat of a Long Island Ass Whooping no doubt, suddenly turned decent and paid the other 200. We slept under a pink, bedspread after watching HBO and taking a hot shower... and we slept well, even though this whole debacle didn't conclude until nearly 1 a.m.
Did all turn out well? Not yet. The next day the HK did give us a deal on our double, and Claudia is staying in a cheap yet decent single during the interim between each of us getting to Thailand. Do we still think they're wankers? Yup, but Claudia can tell you more about that after the rest of her stay and if my laundry has managed to turn up clean, or, well, has turned up at all, by then.
Yet we've managed, though with a few snits and short tempers, more on my part than hers. Delhi is not conducive to sanity, security, or often even fun I think we've been too busy watching our backs to really see if we can get into the place. It may have to do with Delhi starting with the letter "D". There are many "D" cities that are also, at best, grade D: Delhi. Dublin. Detroit. You tell me, but I'm distinctly sensing a pattern.
Not that it matters much, really. We're in Delhi to leave India. I fly to Bangkok at midnight; Claudia follows on Friday evening.
This is where I suppose I could wax in with some deep sentiments and sum-ups on India, but if you've read this far, I've dragged you along far enough. I'll save deep sentiments and teary farewells for another post.
Just wish me luck getting to the airport, and let's see if I can hang onto my good sense and last 500 rupees long enough not to take a taxi to the runway.
Posted by Ant on November 26, 2003 06:18 AM