Arrival in Delhi!

Trip Start Oct 20, 2007
Trip End Nov 13, 2007

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Delhi is about as far away from Tucson as you can get, but I managed to get a pretty good flight sequence: Continental airlines the whole way, with only one brief layover. Got into Delhi at around 8:00 pm and snagged a prepaid taxi without a hitch. Much easier than I expected it would be.

The problem came with finding the hotel. After getting to the Karol Bagh area, the driver told me that he didn't really know where this specific hotel was, and to keep my eyes open as we drove around. He stopped and asked for directions twice, but eventually found the place. Not in the nicest area of town, but a decent enough room:

A warm shower and a comfortable bed refreshed me somewhat, although the incessant honking and other sounds of the city gave me less than a completely restful sleep. The next morning, I met my tour group at breakfast on the rooftop, and then we were off to see the sights of Delhi, via metro and then bicycle rickshaw. The red mosque of Delhi is truly spectacular, the first of many works of magnificent architecture and design I would see in India. I paid a few extra rupees to be able to climb the tower you see in that last photo. You wouldn't believe how dark it was in broad daylight! Nearly pitch black inside, you had to grope your way up a steep, narrow circular staircase to reach the platform. The view from the top: After the red mosque, more bicycle rickshaws to the red fort, which unfortunately was closed on Mondays.

After taking the metro to Connaught Place, our guide told us we had the afternoon to ourselves, as long as we made it back to the hotel by 6:30. Kelly, Jo, and I tuk-tuked our way to Humayun's tomb, a remarkably serene place amidst the hustle of Delhi. We finished our touring with another tuk-tuk to Qutab Minar, where we procured a guide for 200 rupees.

By now, it was 5:30, and we knew getting back to the hotel was at least 45 minutes, probably more in the rush hour Delhi traffic. But alas, our tuk-tuk driver wants to charge more for driving directly to the hotel, less if we agree to stop along the way at some shops where he gets a cut of whatever we spend. No, sorry, in a hurry! We choose the direct route, which doesn't prevent him from stopping to buy lottery tickets. He did, however, slow down so we could take a picture when we passed an elephant. So cool! Where else can you just casually pass an elephant on the road? We make it back to the hotel at 6:30 on the nose!

Delhi finishes off with a bus ride to the train station, a grody, dingy, scary place where we have to wait for a half hour or so before we can board our sleeper car: Not the greatest thing in the world, but I'm so jetlagged that I collapse almost as soon as we board, and sleep soundly through the night, waking up the next morning in Jodhpur...
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