Well, I’m in India. Being on the flight over felt like being in Bradford again – I was the only white person there. On the other hand, I didn’t feel like I was going to get knifed, so that was an improvement. I had one slight scare at Malaysia International when the check-in staff queried my lack of return or onward ticket, but they were mollified by the fact I had a visa, so it wasn’t their problem.
Hans was waiting for me when I arrived in Delhi. Great to see him after what must be five years. He’d picked a hotel out of Lonely Planet and emailed them – twice – with no reply so we just thought we’d get a taxi there and try our luck. As we queued, we met a British couple who were heading our direction and offered to share our pre-paid cab with them. This seemed a great idea until the taxi driver and his friends went mental and insisted that only two people could get into a taxi. We argued, gave up and then told one of them “no”, he couldn’t have a tip.
The taxi ride was around 40 minutes to the area around the central train station. And another 30 to find the hotel as our driver kept mis-hearing Han’s “Shelton” as “Sultan” and asked locals for directions to a non-existant place.
Eventually, after dodging wandering cows, limbless beggars and suicidal cyclists we made it to the Shelton and checked in. Our twin room with aircon (un-needed – it’s nice and chilly here right now), fridge and hot water is 750 Rupees a night between us. This is around £4 each. OK, it’s not The Ritz but it’s OK and seems secure enough. We even have a telly, though we’re lacking toilet paper as I write this. I know which I’d rather have given the reputation of the infamous Delhi Belly.
We’ve taken a quick wander up and down the street to see the immediate area and to get some food. We’d been driven past the Metropolitan and it’s recommended in Lonely Planet so we wandered up. I’d say for Delhi, the prices are probably ludicrously high but the food was superb. I had a chicken and bacon soup, astoundingly delicious steak, chocolate walnut brownie and a 650ml bottle of Kingfisher for around a fiver.
After dinner, we quickly popped online (10Rp for half an hour with a dodgy keyboard – Hans’ “@” symbol didn’t work) and headed back to the hotel where one of the staff tried to sell us dope. He was the second person tonight. Mind, the last guy also apparently had mushrooms and a gazillion other things that neither of us have the slightest interest in.
As I type, Hans is snoring away and I’m about to go rooting around for my earplugs! It’s just gone 9pm, but with the 2 1/2 hour time difference (not in my favour) and the fact that I was up stupidly late last night updating this blog to keep you lot happy, I’m rather tired myself.