Published: March 17th 2012March 17th 2012
Well I am here! As soon as I stepped off the plane I could smell the city. It has a pungent, burning tyres kind of smell, caused by the petrol of the thousands of reckless drivers! I have NOT been the good lonely planet traveller. Our flight got in early and I hadn't booked somewhere for that night, thinking that by the time I had got baggage and things time will have passed, places would have opened up and I could get to the original place I had booked after going round the main tourist areas, my bag is weighty but i could carry it around alright for a while. Anyway flight gets in about 03.30! End up catching metro into the centre- New Delhi st at half 5 with this russian couple i met. They were nice enough but I felt like a tagger-on as i latched myself onto them at the other end! We were wondering through the paharganj when it was still dark and people were harrassing us or smoking bhang. It was a strange place - so quiet and deserted mostly dogs, cows and the occassional horse anywhere or everywhere. Eventually the sun came up and the couple found their hotel and I said goodbye and goodluck. I set off to wonder on my own the morning sun over the quiet dirty streets.
Soon after losing the couple i became of great interest to every person that saw me- the touts attempted to start their work and take me to places that werent open yet! I looked in at a couple of hostels but they wanted extortionate prices because they knew i was desperate. I managed to get rid of the touts near a seated police officer, and ended up walking in to one the tourist info centres on my own at about 6, it opened especially for me! Despite wanting to do it all by myself by this point I was despairing and ended up booking my delhi hotel and some trains with them. Their main asset had to be the toilet! I was desperate by then! They gave me some chai too, which helped! I got a lift to my hotel and slept for about 11 hours!! I was exhasted. This evening I have been back out into the paharganj area and got my sim card, some food and water. The area is great now! All lit up and exciting with hundreds of people and cars and motorbikes. All the stores dont open till about 10am but they stay open right till 11pm or so. Now India is more how I imagined it- full of people and life! It is very similar to Kenya in some ways - the roads, driving, walking of people everywhere, seemingly aimlessly. It also seems to run on something very similar to 'african time': the 5 mins i had to wait to use the laptop was infact 50 minutes!
I've been very struck by all the red tape here- security bag checks at every train st, multiple forms to fill upon entry to the country, they even require a picture and your passport infomation and confirmed address for a sim card! It seems strange that in a country with soooo many people, they want to keep track of every person this way.
Anyway i'm tearing up the rulebook- I've booked trains with an agent and I've eaten street food (a Masala dosa which was very nice by the way) so what is next?? Well i'm doing an organised tour of Delhi tomorrow and then im heading to the next town via o/n train! First time on a sleeper train! Heading to Bikaner! Will probably not update this again till I'm there! Oh and i've forgotten to take any pictures so far yet but i shall endevour to start!