Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 2-3 Revisiting India

I forget how exhausting long travel can be. These next few days were a transition day from NY to Delhi. I took a flight at 3PM Saturday in New York, and arrived in Delhi at 2PM. The flight was surprisingly hiccup-free and pleasant. Air India has some spacious economy class seats, and it was easy to rock to sleep to the vibration of the airplane, but that's about as much as I really did for the next 14 hours - sleep, eat, work a bit on the laptop, and watch "Dark Shadows," which was surprisingly mediocre from the expectations of a Johnny Depp/Helena Bonham Carter/Tim Burton flick.

Upon arrival in Delhi, I almost forgot that I would have to stay thick-skinned against the scammers. I inquired about getting a SIM card and were quoted high prices for hefty "minute" packages, but all I wanted was an emergency 100 minute plan. Even though this would be covered by my company, I still felt like I had to just walk away and go somewhere else to get a better deal. Saving money for the company I guess...

Walking out and hiring an airport taxi was also an ordeal! I thought that getting a "licensed" taxi from the airport booths would be hassle-free, but of course, the taxi drive drove away from the airport, didn't turn on the taxi meter, asked me if I'd pay a flat 1200 Rs fee instead, and tried to drive me to other hotels, in hopes I'd switch rooms and he'd get a commission! I refused, instead demanding that he turn on the meter, pretended I had a phone with service, played a couple of my voice messages to provide a little leverage in power, and he still drove to other hotels, asking me if I had already paid for the hotel I was going to. He ended up pretending not to know where the hotel was and had to call them to get the directions. After a waste of another 15 minutes and extra mileage on the meter, I finally arrived. He printed a receipt for the mileage with the airport fee of 80 Rs. I paid a little extra for tip, and he still tried to scam me another 80Rs as if I didn't read the receipt which clearly charged the fee already. I called him out about it and he acted dumb.

I love you New Delhi!

The rest of the day was spent at the hotel, which was close to the airport, but really not near anything worth exploring. People stay at these airport hotels for any layovers before heading to other areas in India. I felt out of touch with the real India, since it really just accommodated the business traveler, but I'll get my share of real-er India soon.

Always loved the welcoming decor upon arrival at the Indira Gandhi Airport in Delhi!

An edible Air India Meal

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