I arrived in New Delhi safe and sound. The flight here went well, no mayor problems.
I flew here with Emirates. Such a luxury! Everything was great. We had truly HDTV on the tv-screens, and over 2000 channels to choose from, film, tv-series, music, games… anything. And it was such great quality compared to for example Brittish Airways. Another thing I like is the diversity of the staff. On my flight there were people from 14 different countries speaking 22 languages together. Very Cool. We also got hot towels a couple of times during the flight, and they had plenty of different vegetarian choices for meal. So yes, it was perfect, and I even wish the flight was longer. ;) And I was in the economy class.. guess how business or first class must have!
When arriving in New Delhi Airport, first thing after getting my bag and customs, was to buy a sim-card, which I did at the airport (everything by hand, no computers there..;). But they had nano-simcards, cool. Weird thing is that even if I had bought it there and everything was set (it was 9am), it wouldn’t get activated until 14.00. Then to activate my internet package, I had to call a number and give my passport digits to activate it.. Well well.
I had earlier arranged through City Linkers Tours & Travels a 4 days tour for the Golden Triangle, which is Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. So I had a driver who greeted me at the airport with my name on a sign :) Then we went out in the traffic… and jesus. First, they have left-side-traffic here, which I had no clue about. But it’s all the vehicles and the noise and the chaos that just make you drop your jaw.
Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, tuk-tuks, cars, busses, horses, donkeys, even camels and cows…. Everyone uses the same road! If there are 2 lanes, there’s nothing stopping you from crossing over to the other side, or drive 4 vehicles (let’s say 2 cars, 1 tuk-tuk and 1 motorbike) along side each other, or even driving contra-traffic. The cars even take in their rearview mirror so it won’t get smashed by another car, while driving! And most tuk-tuks and motorbikes don’t even have rearview windows! Basically, there are not really any rules. The most important thing is the horn though, that’s your way of telling the other vehicle that you are coming on the side or that he is in the way, since they can’t see without the mirrors. Haha. I’m surprised over that all the cars look so new, and they are barely scratched or buckled. I’ve been driving around in car for 2 days now and I have not yet seen any accident or anything, so they know how to drive after these crazy rules.
So after the airport we went to my tourist agent office/home, in Saket. There I put on my contact lenses and freshened up myself a little because we were going straight for a tour around Delhi, without checking in at the hotel first. Mr Vinay was very polite and a nice man, he gave me my trip itinerary. I remembered that I hadn’t let my mum know I was ok since my simcard wasn’t yet activated, so I asked Vinay to send her a whatsapp telling her I had arrived. Apparently she replied to him in Swedish, thinking it was me who sent the text. Haha.
Me and the driver picked up the guide in the city center, and he gave a very good impression with a big open smile. His name is Soni, and he knows his way around this city. There are about 16 million people living in Delhi, so yes, for me, everything was chaotic. In the whole Sweden we are only 9 million, and very well organized. Delhi is HUGE, and there is people and smells and noises everywhere.
It’s a very dirty city, Delhi is the most polluted city in the world and according to one estimate, air pollution causes the death of about 10,500 people in Delhi every year.
I wanted to take a lot of pictures, like when you see a bicycle with 9 gas cylinders hanging from it, or when you see 8 people in a tuk-tuk for 4, but I didn’t dare first, but then the Guide Soni said “Take as much as you want and on everything you want, you are with me, everything is ok!”. He made me feel very much more comfortable. I’m very happy I took this Delhi introduction, mostly because I would never have managed to get the hang of the city and see so many different places in one day if I had to think and plan everything by myself.
Our driver waited in the car all the time while we went out to do or see something, and he had the doors locked. Felt safe to leave my backpack and everything there while we were touristing (I had not yet made the check in at the hotel).
One thing I noticed is that there is construction work going on everywhere. Delhi is making more metro-stations, which is good for the city, to get more people below ground and easy the traffic and pollution. But I saw much more constructions sites then construction workers. It’s like 30% made and abandoned and causing a lot of traffic problems. They will probably get back to it, but they don’t seem to have much of a schedule here. You can see some workers painting the lines in the street while there is traffic around them – no cones or anything. Also you can see “construction workers” like a woman with a nice dress, men and children without shoes etc, digging a dike along the road. I don’t know if they are doing it for themselves, or if the government contracts them. Anyhow they don’t have much clothes-ethic here. So… I’ve started to get a bit of interest about construction now because my boyfriend work within that, so I’m noticing more differences in that specific field then before.. Sorry ;)
Ok.. this post is going to be too long, so I’ll write another post soon about Delhi itself :)