3.45 in the morning is no time to get up, but that’s what we do anyway. We start our day agreeing that we are getting sick and promptly fill up on vitamins. We take a cab to the airport to avoid having to endure a long, cold walk to the train station with our backpacks on, which would ultimately make us more sick. That’s lazy people’s logic for you right there. The driver rips me off of course, but I am too sleepy to care. Paulina is with us to try and get a refund on her flight, as she hasn’t gotten her visa approved yet, but she doesn’t have any luck. She then heads over to the ATM to get some money out, and it rejects all of her cards. Almost teary-eyed, she has to watch us go through security while she is waiting for the bank to open, so she can get some money for the cab back.
Sara and I fly to Paris, where we have a quick layover, then we’re off to Delhi. We sit in different rows, which I don’t mind, since we have movies, naps and food to entertain us. We try our first Indian meal on the plane, which is not too bad. I am geniunely thinking I won’t mind this coming month of just Indian food. Two weeks from now, I will regret that.
We also have our first taste of Asian politeness on the flight. The Indian woman sitting next to Sara not only stares her up and down for a long time, she also completely skips the line to the lavatory, where we have been waiting for several minutes. I am shocked how unapologetic and rude this woman is, but I also have yet to find out how common that really is.
When we land in Delhi, we have to deal with a long walk and line to immigration before baggage claim. Our backpacks are taking their sweet time to get there, and we are on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Wouldn’t it just be typical to travel all day, just to end up in a strange country without our luggage and an idea of how to deal with it?
We finally leave the airport, one whole hour after landing. A driver has been waiting for us all this time, and he’s going to wait a little bit longer, when we spot an ATM. I don’t know the currency rate, or what half the (English) words mean, so I take my sweet time. Poor guy.
Our driver takes us for quite a walk to the car. On the way, several big groups of young guys give us the stare, which makes us a bit nervous. I have heard a lot things about Indian men and their sexuality, and especially about their fascination with blond girls. It makes me even more aware of people staring at me, and even more scared that I will somehow end up in an uncomfortable situation. Not exactly the best thing to think about, going into a month-long trip in this country. I better shake off my prejudices about this country and its people. Not that I have too many.
We get in the taxi, which is clearly not an actual taxi, but an old, white car with duct tape to hold the windows in place. We have our first taste of traffic in India: loud, chaotic and seemingly super deadly. I get distracted when I see cows casually crossing the street here and there. This is amazing! What’s not amazing though, is that the driver asks us for a tip, and we hand him about 200 rupees, to which he gets offended. In the end, he cashes in 600 rupees in tips alone, and it’s a total scam, and we are tired and just want to get out of the duct tape car. He heads into a narrow and dark alley, and we stand there, unsure if it’s safe to follow him. Why is he going into this creepy alley with nothing but young men sitting around, staring at us!? It turns out our Hotel, called The Spot, is a tiny place far into the alley. Now, I’ve been staying in shit places before and it’s never been a problem. I have a fairly low standard. This place seems scary and disgusting though. I can’t put my finger on it.
We have plugged in the charger for the computer we have bought together for this trip, and suddenly a few sparks fly from the plug, the charger melts, and the lights go out. We are too scared to leave the room and go back to the reception, where it’s just a few young guys sitting around, so we just fall asleep in our beds, which Sara suspects is crawling with bed bugs. It’s been a looong day.