Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Thanks for the rude awakening, Delhi

So Delhi slapped us in the face like a hot vindaloo curry! The trip from the airport to the central Metro station was pretty easy, but the moment we stepped out of the air conditioned comfort of the terminal our senses were assaulted. Hot, humid, noisy, crowded and not to mention stinky! Public ablution is a standard activity and the combined smell of human excrement, rotting food and stagnant water, all festering in the heat, is overwhelming and gut wrenching.

Trying to deal with the physical onslaught and clearly not from India we became prime targets for dishonest touts. Look, we've met our fair share of scamsters and dodgy caracters throughout our travels, but nothing comes close to what we experienced in Delhi... At first it seems like every other person wants to 'help' and show you the 'right' way. It turns out that Delhi has a network of well organised (well dressed & well spoken) con men with the sole purpose of exploiting tourists. After being taken to three different travel agents to get our supposed 'tourist passes' the realisation that it was all bul*s*it came when one of the agents called our hotel to confirm our booking, telling us our room had been given away because we didn't check in by 12:00. He handed the phone to Wiets (who was slowly losing his patience) and the guy on the other end explained at length why we had forfeited our room... Smelling a rat, we told them to stuff it. Backpacks in tow and back into the heat, we navigated the narrow crowded alleys by foot (with the help of a gps map) and eventually arrived at our hotel... Needless to say, our room was still ours and the clean air conditioned hotel became our sanctuary. We won't be listening to anyone anytime soon.

Almost everyone that's been to India told us to get a travel agent to organise our trip, 'No' we said 'we want to experience India the real way and do everything ourselves'. Perhaps we should have listened...
Anyhoo... Now that we've had our first (and probably not the last) baptism of fire, we are ready(ish) for the rest :)

Elephants, camels and dogs together on the main road... Normal, right?

Our hotel has a rooftop restaurant that serves cold beer and delicious food... bliss!

We could see the busy (read crazy) streets below.

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