Trip Start Sep 03, 2004
44Trip End Dec 22, 2004
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Our first impressions of India were petrifying! We got off the plane and got our bags, then knowing to avoid scams, asked a government tourist stand where we could get a legitimate taxi. We followed their instructions, but there were several booths, and of course the one we went to... well, it was government approved, but the way they sneakily charged us double the money (which we found out from the hotel later) was that we "hired" a car and then "hired" a driver!!! Even when we were being escorted through the airport, obviously taxi sorted, there were still hands everywhere yelling at us to take their services, it was mad! Then, the very nice man who escorted us through stood waiting angrily with the car door open because we wouldn't give him a tip - we thought this was part of the deal, and heh, start as you mean to go on
After convincing the driver we had already paid for our hotel, he reluctantly took us there. Although it was late and dark, we still got a taster of crazy Delhi and the mad traffic, then not knowing if she was dreaming or not, Jillian looked out the window down a side street to see a massive cow with massive horns just wandering around beside parked cars - this is a familiar sight in India, we have now come to get used to, but are still flabberghasted every time we see it :-)
After a deserved lie-in, it was time to brave the streets. Our guide book described Delhi as "an assault on the senses" and this is the most fitting description possible for this crazy city. Already, just stepping out of the hotel door, we were attacked by beggars and children, rickshaw drivers, other hoteliers, travel agents and every Sanjeev, Sanjay and Abdul in Delhi, all wanting something off us. It breaks your heart to see it, but you just have to try and ignore it and get on with what you're trying to do
Despite what we've just said, though , India is enchanting! Totally unwesternised, it's the most culturally different and exotic place we've ever seen. Despite the frustrations and paranoia, it is such a buzz! Indian women wear brightly coloured sarees, the memn wear robes and birhgtly coloured turbans. The people work the land, use camels to transport hay and other materials, sit by the road drinking chai and smoking from a long pipe, their way of life is different from what we know and it's so captivating to watch.
For the next ten days our plan is to go from Delhi to Agra, through Rajastan, but rather than brave the trains and buses (which people sit on top of), we opted to hire a car and driver (knowingly this time) - less hassle, though a bit more money, but hopefully worth it!
We'll update you soon on more stories of what is turning out to be our favourite place yet!