Blog 1: Slum-doggin it! + Music Video

Trip Start Dec 10, 2009
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Trip End Jan 14, 2010


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Where I stayed
Rak International Guesthouse

Flag of United States  , Colorado
Friday, December 11, 2009

           The 19 hour flight to Delhi, India is broken up along the way, which is kind of nice.  It was a 3 hour flight to the Ronald Reagan International Airport in Washington D.C., followed by a 7 hour flight to Frankfurt, Germany.  In Germany, we were supposed to meet up with Annie's brother, Justin, for a quick breakfast, but our flight was delayed and by the time they processed our tickets, we were already late and could not take the 15 minute shuttle back to the main concourse, followed by the 25 minute reentry for security and then the additional 15 minutes to return back to where we needed to go.  We felt pretty bad that Justin had driven an hour and a half to see us, but there was nothing we could do, so we jumped on the last 9 hour leg of our trip.  Both Annie and I slept through most of it, which was a relief from the first jaunt over the Atlantic, as the mother allowed her kid to kick our seats and scream at the top of her lungs for hours on end.  Everyone was more than annoyed as the kid was throwing a tantrum and the mother’s repeated "no" went unhindered.  Oh well. 

                Having rested up, we created a plan.  We had no guide/Lonely Planet for New Delhi, so we spoke with the guy next to us that owned a home there.  He gave us some pointers and then we did our usual, which when entering a new country goes something like this: go through immigration; then baggage claim; then the bathroom; then exchange some currency; and finally, find a cab, which is usually the most daunting process of all for a new traveler.  If you haven’t traveled abroad it is hard to explain, but I will cover that at another time.

                We went to the first bank we saw inside the airport and we were going to convert some cash into rupee, but they wanted an $8 conversion charge, which is way too much money.  We left that bank and went to the one next door and they charged nothing, which meant we just saved the cost of our room for the night.  Afterward, we went with the prepaid “Easy Cab” which was located at a kiosk inside the airport and we’re able to locate a guest house for $12 a night next to the main bazaar and the local train station with help from the taxi place. 

                Then we stepped out into Delhi.  First I must preface that inside the airport there was the strong smell of diesel, which I attributed to the airport, but Annie said she thought it was the smog from outside.  I didn’t not think that was possible until we stepped outside; it was midnight and the smog looked like a blanket of fog had rolled in, but it was not fog.  It was thick… so thick that description does not do it justice.  I had never seen anything like India’s smog before, and I’ve been to Mexico City which has some of the worst air pollution in the world. 

                We made for our taxi and were promptly intercepted by a guy that claimed to be a driver for Easy Cab.  We showed him our receipt and he motioned to his friend to grab the car and load us up.  He did not have any Easy Cab identification and at the same time, both Annie and I saw the Easy Cab and its driver, about 20 feet away.  We walked past the guy trying to scam us and made toward the Easy Cab guy and when the Easy Cab guy saw the other guy trying to scam us, he got mad and argued with him for a moment and then all of a sudden, they made nice and the first guy started loading our bags into the Easy Cab. 

                Now we were thinking, 'Great, here we go again.’  It was a half hour ride to the place and just like we thought, once we got to the area the first guy that tried to scam us into his own cab said, “We cannot find the place you are looking for; it is alright, we go to the tourist-info office and they will help.”

                Here is the rub: they go to the “free” tourist place and the guy inside tells you that the place you are looking for is either out of business, closed for the holidays, or overbooked.  After that they try to take you to the place of their choosing (usually double or triple the going rate) and they get a commission out of it.  Annie went inside while I watched our bags and they proceeded to tell her that the place we wanted was closed for the holidays.  Annie returned that that was kind of funny, because when she called a half hour beforehand, the owner of the guesthouse warned her that the cab driver would tell her exactly that and to tell said person that there were not closed for the holidays.

                Since they knew we’d called their bluff, we again attempted to find our guesthouse.  This time they stopped about a block and a half away and told us they could go no further.  It was the middle of the night and the place looked pretty seedy.  We told them to drop us off in front of the “Rak International Hotel” because that was what we paid for; we had no idea where it was and their pointing did not help.  They told us their car would not fit down the street, but Annie pointed at all the other cars and again asked them to just drop us off where we were supposed to go.  A cop pulled up behind us and hit his sirens, which forced them to proceed after driving another block and we saw our guesthouse. 

                The first scammer realized he was not getting any money out of us and so he tried one last time.  We had already given the driver the receipt for the cab, but he now claimed we had not given him the receipt and that we would have to pay again.  They were both adamant as we explained we had already given the driver his receipt and we were not going to pay again.  Rather than get angry, which would be easy to do, we grabbed our bags and walked away while they protested that we owed them more money.

                Welcome to India… we had gained our street-creds in Bangkok and this time when they asked us to pull down our pants and take it, we refused.  Not even the “tourist-info” bit caused me to loosen my belt or unbutton my pants, not one little bit.  Nope, our pants are still up as we’ve got $18 worth of rupees that would have been gone had we not been through this all before.  It is kind of exciting; now we are off to explore India while trying to keep our pants above our knees.
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Comments

Mom Lori on

Hi guys,
I love the stories and appreciate that you use discernment. It sounds like it's mandatory to use as much wisdom and discernment as possible.
Keep the stories coming. Great pic's. Have fun, be safe, and God Bless You! Love, Mom

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