Goodbye India and hello Sri Lanka

Trip Start Sep 21, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, February 13, 2006

Day 97 Mon 13th Feb 2006
Goodbye India and hello Sri Lanka
I slept like a log, but after the mission we had last night that's not surprising really, the fact that I had a bed to myself was also a major plus. Gagan and I woke up around 11.30 to find Larry had already gone out for a wonder. I got showered and dressed and then the guy from reception phoned to remind us that checkout was at 12, seeing as we had only been here since 4.30am I didn't think I was too much for us to have an extra half hour in the room! The guy at reception agreed and just as I put the phone down Larry walked into the room. He said after his wonder around the streets of Paharganj, he had deduced that any 'pendoo' (someone from the village) would get ripped of here in 10 seconds flat. Gagan and I looked at each other and thought, yeah we know and that pendoo is you! You Larry!

We made our way downstairs and after checking my bag into the luggage room we headed for the streets of Delhi. First priority was breakfast, I knew of this place by the railway station so we walked down to there, it was a typical Punjabi Dhaba, with Parantey to die for. We ordered Aloo Parantey and this is when Larry confessed to having already eaten something during his little wonder this morning, his one of those people that HAS to eat when he gets hungry regardless of anything! I used to be like that myself, but since I started travelling I have learnt to control myself, it's not that hard if you try. We ordered two each and Gagan and I had to finish one of Larry's for him.

I don't think I have mentioned this before, but the whole reason we came down to Delhi one day early is because we wanted to visit the new Mandir complex everyone has been talking about. After breakfast we approached an Auto driver to see how much he would charge to take us there, he told us the whole place was closed today, this was confirmed by a couple of other people too. So that was that out the window, I guess I'll just have to put it on a list with all the other things to come back for. So we just spent the day chilling in overly polluted Delhi. We walked the short distance to Cannought Place (don't think I spelled that right) and had a little wonder around. Gagan had never been on a train before and was a bit disappointed when we didn't get the Shtabdi tickets to Delhi, so I thought we'd go one better and go for a ride on the new Delhi Metro, It only been open year or so and there was a station slap-bang in the middle of Cannought Place. It was pretty cool really, much better than the London tube, but then its new so it's going to be. We took the metro line that goes to Chandni Chowk, I really wanted to go there after watching K3G, an Indian movie that features the place. It was only a couple of stops away and at 8 rupees each it was cheaper than and CLEANER than an Auto. When we got to Chandni Chowk the first thing we did was go the Sheeshganj Gurdwara (check spelling), it is supposed to be the biggest and best Gurdwara in Delhi. I don't know why it would be called the best but it was certainly big, we did our 'matha tekh' and proceeded along the very busy (even for Delhi) road to the Chowk it self. It seemed to take forever getting there, there were people and vehicles (the usual array of cars, auto's, rickshaws, bikes and motorbikes) all over the place. By the time we got to Chandni Chowk I just wanted to get the hell out of there! We took a rickshaw back to Cannought Place and went into Palika Bazaar, this is an underground market that used to boast about having full AC. I think it was broke today because it was quite hot down there. Larry (and remember that's Soma, not me!) wanted to get a pair of glasses from there, but after having a look at every single place that had shades (and there were a lot!) decided he liked the pair that he already had! So I ended up buying some instead, I still miss my Police ones but these were cheap and will do for now...

We came out of there at 2.30pm and still had loads of time to kill, we were feeling hungry by now and headed towards a place that we walked past earlier, it was a Kabab House in Cannought Place. The place was called Mirchi, that means chili, hot kind of chilli, yeah the food was chili but it was delicious (TJ, next time your in Delhi GO THERE!!!), the restaurant (not really a Kabab House) was on the first floor of a building that also houses a cinema (yeah you know what happened next). After the meal we went to watch a film, Rang De Basanti was on and although I had already seen it I didn't mind watching it again knowing it meant we could get out of the noisy, polluted streets and just sit down for a while, a long while at that! Gagan had never been to watch a film in the Cinema before either, the boy don't get out much! Well he has seen all the films but at home on DVD, each to there own I suppose. The cinama was called Piccadelhi, a little play on words there, and when you see the picture of the front of it you'll know what I mean.

We came out of the Cinema at 6.30pm, by the time we had been back to the hotel to collect my bag and stopped off at the ATM so I could take some MORE money out, as Larry was running low on funds (he really took the biscuit today!), it was 7.30. We got an Auto to take us to the Airport for Rs150, we had a good laugh on the way down there and I couldn't resist telling Larry a few home truths. Anyway we got to the Airport for around 9 and after a quick, manly goodbye (no emotions and certainly no tears) I entered the airport. I got checked in and rang Gagan to tell him everything was OK. I called home and spoke to my mum as I always do when I fly (just in case the plane falls out of the sky or something like that). I didn't have to wait around much as the flight was due to take off at 10.25pm, flying time was just over three hours. It was a very pleasant flight, made especially pleasant by the air hostesses, or should that be 'cabin crew'? anyway they were very nice (I have to choose my words carefully) but I'm sure you know what I mean. I got talking to one of them and she told where to go and what to do during my stay in Sri Lanka.

The flight landed in Colombo at 2.30am, and I was out of the airport by 3. I met a bloke in the airport terminal from Devon (UK), he had come from a five week stop in Delhi where he was doing some charity work. He looked really ruff, ill kind of ruff (like me on the way to Jaipur) and he was saying what a nightmare it was in India, he seemed very relieved to have left there and even being in the airport terminal assured him that Sri Lanka was not going to be as bad. I kind of felt the same really, the Airport was very clean and modern, hopefully a sign of things to come... I was collected from the airport by a taxi driver who had a board with my name on it (I've always wanted to do that, so when I eventually get back to Heathrow, will someone get down there with a board that has my name on it, THANKS). Anyway the Taxi was a really nice, comfortable people-carrier. It took a good hour to drive back to where the Summer House was and we stopped off along the way at an ATM so I could get cash to pay the guy. I got here at just after 4 and Mr. Sadikeen from over the road let me in and gave me the key. It's a nice place , small but more than adequate. I went for a slash before hitting the sack and found this HUGE cockroach in the bathroom, I could be bothered with doing anything about it (not that I know what to do, it's the first one I have ever seen!) and crashed out.
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