Because it’s China, you cannot go your way but only her way. So I fly all the way to Hong Kong first then back to Delhi. But that’s not the first part. Back up. Can we talk about how terrible I am with flight times? Before this trip I’ve always been super early and it’s as though I’m getting all that time back by arriving at the airport at the the last moment.
(Warning: long post, very few pictures)
I wake up early to have breakfast and finish writing postcards and mail them out. I book a taxi to the hostel as well. Ha. That’s a good one.
Here’s how it went. I woke up early and finished the last of the grapes while writing postcards (spoiler alert: I had no time for the post office). The taxi service I want to use has a terrible website. I barely get it to work on my phone. I try the hostel’s computer and am transported back to the year 2000. Internet is slow and full of pop up ads. No luck. There are taxi services at the airport and that will have to do. I’m dawdling again.
After all this, I’m late. This is becoming a bad habit. I don’t have enough cash for a taxi and is it really too much trouble for people to use credit cards? I rush to the bus stop that will take me toward downtown to the airport shuttle. I show the bus driver the instructions the hostel gave me. She understands and signals when it’s time to get off the bus. She points ahead and I assume I will find the airport shuttle bus.
The airport shuttle has a schedule and I just missed it. Thirty minutes till the next one. I’m worried but there’s nothing I can do about it. The bus leaves a couple minutes early. If I get there by 10 I’ll be okay but it’s doubtful. The bus is driving slowly even on the highway. Seriously, he’s going ten miles an hour.
Finally at the airport, I haul ass to the check in counters and spot an express lane. Sweet. She prints my ticket and asks about checking in luggage. Is there time for that? I don’t chance it and head to the security line. Someone cuts the line. Ugh. I make it through and rush to the gate. I have to wait as they call a car for me. Am I that late? I’m concerned. But once I reached the entrance to the plane I realized that they’re still boarding. They got a car because there’s no point for the bus to come for one person. I’m still surprised I made it. Whew. I really need to pee.
I have to transfer in Kunming. It’s a sad terminal with little options in shops and food. I’m wondering if half the shops can really be closed. I think about duty free but spend the last of the cash on food– a huge bowl of noodles that also comes with watermelon slices. The cashier is trying to tell me something about the meal but I just want it in my belly. I think was was trying to explain that it’s rice noodles.
From Kunming, we land in Hong Kong. The view is not that great. You can barely see land beyond the airport. I question whether I want this to be my next stop after India. Internet makes everything glamorous.
I find the ticket counter to get my boarding pass printed. There’s a few hours till my next flight. Wifi is free and I take full advantage of it.
My flight is delayed. I look at duty free and other shops. I eat the finest meal of fried chicken, french fried and biscut from Popeyes. I get on the plane and arrive in Delhi.
Now things get crazy.
I exit the airport and spot the taxi stand of the company the hostel recommended. Before I can even reach it some guys are all over me to go to their taxi. Back off guys. I don’t know who the hell you are. The guy at the counter who’s the only one looking semi official could care less. But I ask him anyway. None of this seems very legit and I’m thinking of other options.
A woman approaches me and asks where I’m going. She an Indian Canadian who also just arrived with her husband. She tells me to only take offical taxis that can be tracked. She recommends that I stay at the airport till morning. That sounds like a good plan. (It’s after 2am at this point.) I can wait for the metro to open and it’s a thirty minute walk to the hostel from there. Cool.
The woman tries to get me back into the airport but no luck. Yes, in Delhi once you leave the airport, you cannot reenter without buying a ticket. I thank her all the same.
I decide to wait where all the other people wait for their relatives’ flights to arrive. I listen to a few podcasts and pretend I don’t notice any random men asking if I need a taxi. Indians cannot take a hint.
It’s closer to when the metro will open and there’s some more people scattered about so I move to one of the benches. It’s not long before some men ask if I need a taxi. Annoyed I move again. I almost yell at another because I just want to sit in peace. If I wanted a taxi I would not be sitting here!
Thank you Jesus, the metro is open! I run into another woman in the same situation. We ride together till we reach New Delhi station. She tells me that she spends as much time as she can in India. Saves all her money to go here. Well that’s a good sign.
Now, we all know India isn’t high on the list of countries with clean modern cities and yet reading and experiencing is two different things. I exit the metro and instead of a street, it’s a waiting area for buses and tuktuk drivers. It’s unclear to me where the road is. I ask a security guard but he was no help. Ugh.
I ask someone else who’s sort of giving me vague directions. I end up with a tuktuk driver. I’m not pleased with this but I haven’t slept since China and I want to be where I should be– napping after a hot shower. Spoiler alert: no hot shower.
The guy with the directions is telling me that there’s a festival, it’s too crowded, not a good area, etc. I insist I want to go to the hostel.
The driver agrees. We’re off and sometimes the area is better, sometimes not. The driver says he can’t go there. Security issues with the festival or whatever. Another guy I don’t know who, dails the number for the hostel. I use his phone. Who am I talking to? I don’t know nor care. It’s a lot of bullshit.
The driver says he will take me to the tourtists office. I ask about the hotel that my tour group is using. He’ll willing to drive me there but I can’t find the address.
At the tourist office, the employee says he will get me there and hails another tuktuk driver. We start going and the driver asks for the address. Didn’t the tourist office tell him?! How do I get off this crazy ride?
He tells me that he’ll take me to a real tourist office and I could care less. At this other place the guy writes down the address and yet another tuktuk. I’m concerned when it seems my driver is asking other drivers for directions. He gets me to the hotel. Thank God!
I ask for a room explaining that I arrived early for the tour and don’t have a reservation for tonight. He collects my passport, the usual. I wait awhile and the. I’m told to follow a guy who will carry my bag up. Um, excuse me what room? How much? I’m so annoyed. So over this day.
I get to my room. Only good part is that I have it to myself and the AC works. The sheets are stained with something that didn’t come out. There’s no towels. There’s no hot water. I email booking.com to tell them I couldn’t get to the hostel.
I go out to find a store to buy water and snacks. What google maps was leading me to was a clothing store not a supermarket. Ugh. I go back to the hotel to search again. There’s a shop nearby across from the metro station. (Ugh, if only I knew before the crazy tuktuks!)
The walk is… Interesting. I could not see my parents here at all. I’m start wonder what I’m doing here and how that woman saves all her money to be here. I have to go around to cross the busy street to the store. At the store I can’t figure out if half the items are expired or it’s listing the packaging date. I stick to water and peanuts.
Back at the hotel, I snack on peanuts while looking at the hotel’s menu for dinner options. I get some potato cauliflower dish and some nan. It’s good and I can’t wait for the day to be over.