30.11.2011 - 01.12.2011
Walking through the arrival gate I am braced for India's worst but it doesn't come. I've read quite a bit about India and was expecting a seething mass of humanity but, although there were about 200 people milling around, it was all rather calm.
After a short visit, I left London on Tuesday evening and now it was very early on Thursday. Despite a row of taxi drivers waving paper with other people' s names on my guy wasn't here - I had booked it in the UK. After waiting for an hour I contemplated pretending to be "Mrs Schmitz - Lion Tours welcomes you" and taking someone else's taxi but gave up instead and recruited the aid of a man selling hotel rooms. He phoned the hotel who arranged a taxi for me, unfortunately he told the hotel I was very angry with them for not coming to get me - a total fabrication as the hotel were told I had a private transfer. Hotel reception were mortified and kept apologising and I had to explain several times what had happened ... I eventually fell into bed exhausted at 2.30am!
Looking out from my 13th story room with vultures wheeling past the window I can see a 25 carriage train being pulled by an exhausted engine, people leaning out of the doors as it gathers speed heading south. Lots of green moto-rickshaws whizz along, their yellow tops shielding the occupants from the Delhi grime. Last night the smoke from a million cooking fires hung heavy in the air leaving a misty residue this and every morning.
But I have to leave my bubble and venture forth... with excitement and slight trepidation I step out into the Delhi street.