Boxed in on Boxing Day

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hotel Godwin Grand

Flag of India  ,
Sunday, December 26, 2010

Another feast of a breakfast at Hotel Howard Park Plaza was just the trick after a strange Christmas night out with Dan and Aslan. Gick Senior had shown the youngsters up and taken an early morning dip in the very chilly hotel pool.  Polly was feeling better after her (still undiagnosed!) illness of Christmas Day and it was a case of packing up and waiting for the taxi which would take us to Delhi.  Catching up on the Ashes action from overnight was more than enjoyable.  The Aussies crumbling to just 98 all out and Strauss and Cook closing play on an unbeaten 1 hundred and something (oh, don't we love to watch our friends from down under take a hammering?).  The taxi arrived late, well actually he arrived on time but chose to wait outside the hotel gates.  An hour later he decided to come into the hotel and we sprang into action. Dan the Man roped the bikes to the roof and the other mass of luggage was carefully arranged leaving just enough space for the 5 of us to cram in.  The drive was as expected for the first part, completely hair-raising. Agra traffic was dense and even when we hit the highway, things were still congested.  The overnight fog in Delhi had caused problems with flights and the roads were busier as a result.  We passed the usual sights, a donkey standing on a police traffic controllers platform, camels trotting along dual carriage ways and generally complete and utter chaos at every corner. What then happened was on another scale.  With the fog building and darkness falling we hit the most ridiculous traffic jam.  2 lanes became 7 as people made their way around the dusty banks of the road.  Policemen lost control and whacked cars and drivers with their sticks.  I even saw one policeman reach into a minibus and take the keys out of the ignition.  We were once again blessed to have a driver who had his wits about him.  He decided to wait and pull over, resisting the option of a four hour diversion.  An hour passed and we were still waiting.  The stories as to why we were stuck became more and more muddled.  It was as if a Chinese Whisper had rippled through the traffic jam (which was reportedly 20km long).  Versions ranged from a head on collision to a armed hold up.  Based on all the evidence we concluded that a rich man had shot 2 poor men and put them down the toilet.  Remarkably on reading the paper today it appears we were pretty close.  Two young poor men had been called to clear a septic tank at a rich farmers house.  Due to a build up of toxic gases the two men fell in and died from asphyxiation.  Anyway, the consequence was that this event had somehow spilled onto the highway and created a 2 hour traffic jam.  The drive into Delhi was scary, fog made the terrible road conditions even more treacherous and I wished I was on my bike.  We did however arrive at Hotel Amax in the heart of Delhi’s hotel strip.  The hanging neon lights suggested we were in backpackers territory and upon inspection of the hotel it was  fairly unanimous that we could not stay there.  Luckily, we came across another place which was much more our style and we checked in happy bunnies.  Late supper up on the roof capped another eventful day, can nothing in India be straight forward and chilled !!?
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