So with Vietnam well and truly conquered it was time to embark on our 6 month mission to survive the infamous India. We had both been incredibly excited to come to a country that we hoped would be more of a challenge to travel and that would offer us insane new experiences everyday! Of course, like anyone landing in Delhi for the first time we were still surprised when we first stepped off the metro and were hit by the onslaught of noise and smell!
We walked out of the airport with baited breath and were immediately greeted by about 500 people shouting, screaming, pushing, waving and that was just the queue to the ATM! We had, of course, landed in India amidst the biggest cash crisis the country has ever seen – well done us! Somehow, we managed to get to the front of the queue quickly and got as much money out as we could before racing over to the bus stand to get scammed for the first time in India. It only took 10 minutes! Wonderful! There was a big sign saying queue here for the FREE bus shuttle to the metro stop. Great, easy we thought and then over comes a suspicious looking man in an ‘official’ uniform saying we had to pay 20 rupees each to catch it. Strange, as we didn’t see any of the locals on the last bus paying for it and there a massive sign behind us saying its free…
Anyway, we paid but so did every other tourist so we felt a little bit better about ourselves and our ability not to get scammed…and it was only about 25p! A short bus ride through some chaotic Delhi streets and we were dropped off at Terminal 1 to catch the metro into central Delhi and the carnage that awaited. The metro was, surprisingly, amazing and if anyone is ever travelling into Delhi from the airport or vise versa you should definitely take it too! Brand new, clean, quiet, helpful staff and only 50 rupees…what a brilliant way to lull you into a false sense of security!
Brilliant metro journey over (its sad but good transport while travelling is a real treat) and we got off at New Delhi train station. I think the expressions on both of our faces spoke a thousand words and the only words that exited thereafter were expletives! 30 seconds after leaving the station and walking less than 100 metres and we were greeted by a man and a woman punching each other in the face while rolling around in the sewage and dirt….welcome to India we thought! Of course everyone else was completely oblivious to this even happening but it scarred us for life and we will always look back on it as our first raw introduction to this otherwise incredible country!
Now if your staying in Paharganj in Delhi be prepared for madness – 24/7. Forget New York this is really the city never sleeps; horns, tuk tuks, bikes, cars, cows, what seems like a million people on 1 street (probably not far off) and just utter chaos everywhere! The smell that greets you on every corner is probably the thing that gets you the most. Sorry to say its not always the smell of delicious curry but often the stagnant smell of piss that is most prevalent! (Its gag-worthy!)
However, with a thousand curious eyes on you at all times and being completely out of your comfort zone you really couldn’t ask for a better introduction to India…maybe we are just a bit bonkers but we absolutely loved it! The hostel where we had booked (Zostel Hostel) was a short five minute walk from the station but when we reached it, after about 20 minutes of getting lost amongst the stray dogs, I think we were already ready to never hear a car horn again! The relative silence that greeted us as we stumbled through the doors was truly amazing. After a long 48 hours of travelling, we sat down on the beds and suddenly it began to sink in that we were actually here, in India and for the next six months! Mental!
This is what we’d been waiting for…let the real adventure begin!
J & C x