The flight of iniquity

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Flag of India  ,
Sunday, March 21, 2010

Our flight from Beijing to New Delhi with Ethiopia Airlines eventually took off 1 1/2 hours late.  However, after witnessing the amount of hold luggage our fellow passengers had (the maximum allowed was a hefty 35 kilos which we are sure almost everybody exceeded) we were surprised that it took off at all.  Everybody seemed to have a flat screen tv of various sizes to take home with them and huge, huge sacks of goodness knows what.  For the first time we removed our snow shoes (which were a little smelly) and donned our flip flops before checking in our two minuscule (in comparison) rucksacks.  Hey now this does feel like a holiday!!! 

Oh, just in case you're wondering, this seamedly hasty flit from China was intentional.  We decided that to avoid the massively scorchio heat in India (from mid April onwards) we would do Beijing then hop across to India for a month, then return to China for the rest of our tour (also the weather there we are assured will be better then too).

We had no idea what to expect from the flight but were very surprised as we tucked ourselves in to our seats with our cashmere blend blankets, pillows, eye masks and flight socks.  We played our usual game of 'Fatter or Thinner' where you guess before you get to your seat if the person who sat there before you was indeed fatter or thinner than you by how much you have to adjust your seat belt. Our flight meal of beef was very nice and best of all it was an open bar the whole way! Whehey!!!  Andrew began to call it the flight of iniquity.  When we arrived at New Delhi we were worried that our prearranged airport pickup would be long gone as we were so late however our hearts leapt as we saw the name 'Andrew Stephenson' being waved around furiously in the swarm of people as it was 3.30am and we didn't want to be bothered with trying to find the hotel at that time in a new and strange country. 

We arrived at the Smyle Inn after a very interesting, shall we put it, drive.  Despite the time the roads were full of people, some sleeping rough, some wandering night markets, some stuffed in to and also hanging from every type of vehicle from bicycles through auto rickshaws to huge trucks.  We were amazed that nobody crashed as there doesn't seem to be any regard for lanes, lights, speed or right of way, it would seem that it is a free for all.  The 'Inn' was in darkness when we got there and it was located in a rabbit warren off the infamous 'Main Bazaar'.  Our first impressions of the street in the dark were that there were a lot of dogs, the overhead facilities cables were loosely festooned across the road in their hundreds (worrying)and everywhere looked a bit derelict.  We awoke the reception staff, one of which was still in bed behind the reception desk as we checked in and made it to our room for a few hours sleep.

AJS edit - The traffic light system is fairly straight forward, accelerate to the lights regardless of colour if green continue at same speed, if red continue at same speed and use horn non stop.

Andrew didn't sleep a wink but I managed to get a few hours in.  We had a breakfast of cereal, egg on toast and a banana (free) then hit the streets.  OH MY GOD IT IS ROASTING!!!  The bazaar had come alive with hawkers, everybody wanted to grab your attention to try to sell you something, there were a million smells in the air of leather, urine, oil, sweetcorn and exhaust fumes to name a few.  Andrew drew my attention to a large pile of diarrhoea in the street, nice.
Every single 'derelict' shop/opening was now a hive of activity emblazoned with colourful pashminas, harem pants, jewel encrusted shirts and lots of shoe stalls.  Carts selling exotic fruit lined the street which the rickshaw drivers, auto rickshaw drivers and taxis weaved in amongst horns blaring all the way.

We headed down to the Red Fort which is the largest attraction in the city, bartering with a few auto rickshaw drivers to get us there, we finally agreed on 60 rupees down from 200.  The Fort was really beautiful with gorgeous gardens.  It was built by the guy who built the Taj, as he intended to move his capital from Agra to Delhi however he was inprisoned by his son before he could complete the move.  Touching. 

We then took a detour to 'Connaught Place' the more salubrious area of town which we thought a bit odd as large parts of it are still basically a building site.  There we crumbled and gave our money to 'The Man', namely Lavazza coffee shop, in our defense it wasn't for a skinny Mochalattachocca but two Lassi's (can we be forgiven)?

Able to find nothing else to interest us we decided to head back to the Inn as Andrew wanted to watch the United v Liverpool game, what are these people thinking of having football freely streamed in to hotel guest rooms?  We grabbed a vegetable rice and spicy bean burger (room service, yes honestly) and settled down to the game.  We still don't know the final score as we both fell asleep before half time.  Rock and Roll!!!
Slideshow Report as Spam


farknash on

united won 2-1. park header sealed the deal

Vic on

India is the place where Andrews bartering skills will be put to the test although by the sounds of it he is doing pretty well!

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