Free Spirits Around the World in 99 Days travel blog

Mo at the India Gate

The name says it all

It's cold, even in the room

Credit Air India for retaining the classy touches of international flight. Fish or chicken for dinner. In flight movies of your choice, and recent ones at that. Continental breakfast an hour before landing. Too bad the flight staff was a bit grumpy, but who can blame them? Seven hours is a long time to be trapped in a tin can with a couple hundred whiny passengers. I could not do that for a living.

After arrival at Delhi International, we walked one of the longest passages in memory between the plane and passport control. We had two layers of passport checks. The first was the typical official in a box. The second were two elderly gentlemen in chairs next to the exit whose function may have been to check to see if the first guy's stamp was straight and between the margins.

We had arranged for a transfer from the airport. Therefore, no taxi haggling or bus mystery to deal with. Our driver was the quiet reserved type, but we were so jet lagged that we were not our usual chatty selves, anyway.

Traffic was everything you have seen on The Amazing Race. There is an odd logic to it, and liberal use of the horn seems to augment if not confirm the logic. No collision or fatality during the ride, and it did not reach the terrifying levels of our Samarkand to Tashkent Death Race of 1999. At the frequent stops, we had peddlers and beggars tapping the windows. My strategy is to not even look. It seems heartless, but otherwise I'd be overwhelmed.

We were booked into Hotel Perfect. We need to wear long johns and down sweaters in our room to stay warm. After check in, we promptly went to bed at 11:30 AM and slept until dinner.

After dinner, we braved the streets which double as the local market. Again, peddlers, beggars, and aggressive tuk tuk drivers. A tuk tuk is a three wheeler of a minicab, great for locals but also as we were frequently warned a warren of confusion, unwanted side trips, and price gouging for us tourists. All of this and shoulder to shoulder people sharing the streets with the taxis, cars, and tuk tuks. Horns, noise, lights, people trying to put belts or stuff in our hands.

An hour later, we were exhausted and back in bed.

When I woke up this morning, I did not want to leave our room. I was intimidated. Breakfast was OK. It at least helped settle the malaria medicine.

But out we went. We figured out metro tickets and routes to get to the National Museum and back unscathed.

Feeling somewhat more confident now, we'll try another outing tomorrow.

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