Our Travel Blog
The plane to Moscow was full, the food was decent and the movies were okay. We landed in Moscow on time despite a minor delay due to runway traffic. The stop over lasted about two hours before we boarded the plane to Delhi, India, which was of the same airline as to Moscow. On this flight there were about 70% less passengers; the seats were mostly empty. It was obviously an older model of airplane, to the extent that we were joking about whether the safety features were still functioning, hoping that the vibrating plane ceiling would stay intact and we came to the conclusion that it may be a flight for training the crew!!! The stewardesses were not very friendly, the blankets were not entirely clean despite being wrapped in plastic bags, there were no movies, and no screens to indicate the status of the plane in flight, there were no headsets and therefore no radio option, the vegetarian meal did not contain desert whereas the meat meal did. So much for modern comforts and conveniences.
We arrived safely in the Delhi airport at about 22:30, collected our backpacks and made our way through the crowded exit full of people holding signs with someone's name on them. We went to a simple, manual phone booth to call our only contact which we had for Delhi. At the start of the phone call we were told that it would cost 2 Indian Rupees (Rs) per minute. After the phone call was over we were asked to pay 138 Rs for the service. Ivan then went to ask other local people how much the phone call should cost. One person came to talk to the phone guys for us in a local language and we ended up paying only 10 Rs.
Our friend made arrangements for us to stay in a place of trust to help us for the 3 first nights. We used the services of a prepaid taxi to drive us from the airport to that place. The taxi service first quoted us one price, and after Ivan mentioning that he was told it should be less than that, the taxi service gave us a new price. We thought things would be straight forward and we would get to our room in a few minutes since we were using the services of a taxi. After putting the backpacks in the trunk, we figured out that our young driver didn't speak much english. We then made sure that he talked to some other drivers for them to explain to him how to get to our destination but he said he knew and that it was ok. (By the way, people drive on the left side of the road in India...) We ended up driving around for what felt like a couple of hours, the same streets over and over again, the driver getting out periodically to ask directions, before we finally made it to our destination. The prepaid taxi driver, instead of apologizing for the long time we were roaming around before he finally found the place, asked to be rewarded with extra money because it took so long and that it was the correct destination in the end. Amazing !
It was very cold outside, past 2:00 am and we were wondering whether we would have to sleep with our bags outside if we were unable to get in. Finally we spotted a sleeping guard, made some more noise to get his attention and were relieved to be let in and given a room to sleep in for the remainder of the morning hours prior to our appointment to meet up with our friend.
At about 5:00 or 6:00 am, we were woken up by the sound of a loud but distant marching band which we found out will be practicing every morning for several hours until the 26th of January, the "Republic Day" holiday where they will perform.
Karen's impressions for day 1: India is freezing cold at night!!! What happened to the image of a warm and even hot India!? Everyone tries to SCAM foreigners!!! The food is too SPICY for her!!! She tried to buy a simple sandwich at the airport and was disappointed by the high content of CHILI in it. Almost too HOT and spicy to eat... Everyone drives crazy in INDIA.
Our first indian pictures can be seen here. Enjoy !!
The Garland of Flowers Market of Howrah in Calcutta.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Transiting towards India : towards another world...

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