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Published: December 18th 2010
I should first mention that I did come back from Nepal and had a great time over there, and now have a few stories to tell. I still plan on writing about the highlights of that trip, but it will have to wait a bit more because now I am in India one more time, and I have to write about India!!!!!
It was hard to leave Quebec this time because I was having a great time in my "settled life" in Montreal and was looking forward to skiing and snowshoeing, and I wanted to be with my family for Christmas, but somehow I find myself back in India and I can't complain too much! India is still amazing and put a smile in my face right away when I got off the plane.
But it was quite the trip just to get here. The first flight was late, and I landed in Paris 15 minutes before my second flight was scheduled to depart. I didn't even rush to get to the other terminal, I was so sure I would miss it. I was looking at my feet and thinking well, I am going to spend a day in Paris, in the snow (yes PAris was covered with a white blanket) wearing my sandals... And I did walk in the snow to get to the first terminal. Weird. But somehow that flight was also very late, "technical problem"-my favorite- and we left 4 hours late. The most frustrating part was that somehow despite the delay, my luggage didn't follow-once again... The flights were nice though, but sitting in a plane for 3-4 hours before take-off was quite boring. And I was getting so hungry that when they gave us the headsets, I felt like eating then. Oh well, now I am in Delhi and my biggest challenge is to decide what to eat: I want to eat everything at once, that's how excited I am about Indian food. 3 weeks won't be enough to eat all my favorite dishes!
So I landed in the new airport in Delhi. Amazing how Delhi changed since they hosted the Commonwealth Games. It looks like a modern city in many areas. Not everywhere though and I plan on exploring Old Delhi today. The immigration officer was leafing through my passport last night, trying to find the most recent visa, and I laughed and said: ah, many trips to India! He answered: "you are most welcome anytime you come to India". Waw, I love this country. They are so kind and welcoming, always have the right word to make you feel at home! Then I went to the baggage claim area and waited and waited and finally a man came with a long list of names where mine was: people who's luggage was still in Paris. Damn. But I knew it. The connection was too weird.
So then of course it was another INdian moment: trying to get through the procedure of filling out the proper form, getting the proper stamps from the proper desk to go back to the first guy and eventually get the right form with the number to call, bla bla bla. there was A LOT of people in my situation and some with less patience than others. There was even some serious screaming and I just laughed watching the reaction of one of the agents. People were complaining that there was no Q and anybody was just passing in front of others in a typical chaotic way and some people I supposed were not used to that and got mad. So the clerk said: "Your job is to make a Q, my job is to fill out the form" in a perfectly clam indian way. Anyhow, this is a long story but it was a long night (although I was at the time fully awake because of the jet lag) and I finally got into a cab, who put the heat on FULL BLAST, and started driving very slow on this new highway, and asked me from which "currency" I was from... Then he started driving like mad, and we just missed an elephant in the middle of the street (which made me realize Delhi was still Delhi despite the more modern roads and infrastructure...), and I was glad I was not in Delhi for the first time as he was trying to find my hotel.
I signed the huge registration book and went to my room. It felt a bit like home, same hotel, "De Holiday International", always welcoming and pretty good value. I even had hot water for a shower, but I really couldn't fall asleep. Mostly because of the jet lag but also I had forgotten about the noise. Between the clock that ticks really loud, the dogs, the horns, the train, and just the normal loud talking, it can be overwhelming, but I know I will get used to it soon again.
I finally got up and looked for one of my favorite restaurant for a chai and breakfast. Ahhhhh, such an adventure to be here again! There is just no other place quite like it where you can feel like you are in the 21st century and yet, you also feel like you traveled a thousand years back. It is hard to describe but some sights are so ancient, and I also feel like I am in an imaginary world. It's still fascinating, like some of these people are just actors, or I am living in a dream. It is just too different to be real!
ANyhow, I better leave it at that and go explore a bit. I don"t know Delhi so well and have to take advantage of these few days. I also have to track my luggage and get ready to welcome the family I will guide for the next 2-3 weeks. More later!
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