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December 10th 2011
Published: December 12th 2011
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Then we arrived in Delhi, the airport is much larger and we got through customs very quickly which made a good change. We only found the new metro station by asking as it wasn’t signed anywhere in the airport, it was very quick and cheap and cut the journey time down to 20 minutes from about 45.

Due to time differences it was 8pm when we landed and 9.30pm when we got out at New Delhi. We then had to get across the train station in order to head towards our hostel area.

OMG I had forgotten how totally mad India is!!!!!!!! We managed it though, a few false starts but eventually we found the security gate you have to go to get onto the platform areas, up and down and along staircases and walk ways and then we were out and running the gauntlet of tuk tuks, cycle rickshaws and taxis all wanting to take you to your destination for the best price!

Howard knew it wasn’t far from the station and which road to go down so we dodged our way through the traffic, people and rubbish and started down the main bazaar road. We had to turn left down a road before the mosque which sounded easy but in reality meant walking about ½ mile to far, being offered something to ‘smoke’, failing to realise the mosque was actually a ruin and now a jewellery store, being jostled, dodging spitting men, dodging peeing men, dodging motorbikes, dodging rickshaws, dodging mangy dogs and finally asking a nice man in a shop the way! Back we went dodging all the same things and found the road – really a very dark and narrow alley with a fried chicken stall on the corner and the public men’s urinals right next to it!!!! But there in the distance we could see the hostel name – The Hotel Smyle!! And smile we did when we got there!!!

After checking in we went out to get some grub and decided to try the Nirvana Café which had a balcony area on the 1st floor. We went up and some psychedelic tunes were playing we ordered some food and watched the street scene below. I noticed that a guy was smoking in there so asked if it was ok to and was told only and then pointed at said guy not
New DelhiNew DelhiNew Delhi

Hari Hari
normal smokes!!

It’s basic but seems clean, there’s a sheet on the bottom of the bed and a blanket to go on top of you (glad I have got my sheet sleeping bag bet Howard wishes he had bought his!), the mattress is about 3 inches thick (Dubai seems years away now), but it has its own bathroom and its only for one night and it was £12 for the room plus breakfast.

12th December ’11 Delhi to Jaislmer, Rajasthan

Well we were up pretty early due to not sleeping much at all and decided to go and hunt out the included breakfast. This turned out to be in the sister hostel of the same name which was further down the alley and round the corner. There we met another English lad from Liverpool who is a Buddhist living in New Zealand with a Tibetan girlfriend who he visits in a small village in Tibet and as yet they have been unable to get the paperwork through for her to leave and join him! He is in India as he is going to be leading a group on a Buddhist sites holiday culminating in a week long teaching by the Dalai Lama in India. The breakfast was pretty good.

We then decided to go to the Palika Bazaar and Tibetan stalls in Connaught Place. Oh how things have changed, we were told by some lads that lots of redevelopment has taken place in Delhi because of the Commonwealth Games and you could see how they had developed the central area with some sort of an arena indoor and out with the park area around it. It was full of canoodling couples tucked away into corners and patrolled by a soldier/policeman with a massive potbelly and a very large stick!!!

We had another curry at yet another roof top type restaurant with only 3 flights of very tiny windy stairs to negotiate and you did get a spectacular view all over the area.

Oh yes I nearly forgot when we came out of the hotel we could hear lots of singing, chanting and a kind of trumpeting. When we got past the men’s urinals and out onto the road there was an enormous procession going by with lots of ladies all dressed in bright yellow and orangey coloured saris with a kind of pot on their heads with a coconut in it. They looked really beautiful and we had no idea what was going on until the music suddenly changed to the Hare Krishna chant. Marvellous!

At 4pm we said goodbye to the Smyle Inn and with our rucksacks on our backs headed off up the road and found a tuk tuk After negotiating a price to the Old Delhi Railway Station we set off for him to then ask for another 50 rupees but after Howard shouting stop this tuk tuk and let us out!!! He quickly back tracked and was all smiles for the agreed price.

The journey was hairy to say the least! These drivers must have nerves of steel and be able to judge distances down to a mm of a mm, but we got there in one piece and plunged into the chaos of the station. We found our platform without much trouble and much to our bemusement it even had signs indicating which carriages would stop where, never had them before, whatever happened to running up and down the platform chasing the train??!

So in comes a train it says Jaisalmer on the side amongst other things, we see our carriage sail past its little sign but the announcement sign tells us this is a totally different train and no one seems to really be bothered about getting on. So as we still have 30 minutes before our train is due to leave we now think it is a delayed earlier train and just wander up the platform looking for a train official and can’t find any. We do spot 2 other westerners though and ask them if they know which train it is, like us they reckon it’s a different one so we just stand around chatting (they are from Canada but live in Singapore).

It is only when an Indian gentleman asks us where the reservations notices are that we ask him which train it is and yes, its our train, we all then leap into action and as anticipated we end up legging it along the platform to find our carriage! Sure enough the reservation notice on the door has our names listed and we pile on and find our seats. Then the guys come along asking if we want tea so we buy one between us but while we thought we were ordering it for later it suddenly appears, oh dear wish we hadn’t eaten all that curry earlier!

We have a lovely Indian family opposite us with a real cute little lad who keeps smiling and speaking English to us and climbing all over the seat! So far we have only killed 2 small cockroaches.

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