Day 1: The Scam
Wow!! What a start! We have not been here, in Delhi, for more than 20 hours but certainly a lot has happened!
We landed around 3a.m. Coming out of the airport we saw a pre-paid taxi stand. Thinking this was the way to avoid a well-known scam of being taken to the wrong hotel and where the owner pays the taxi driver for delivering potential customers to him, we approached the taxi rank. We were staying at Aerocity Hotel, but had been warned in advance that the driver might take us instead to Aerocity Hotel Inn. The driver said, however, that he would take us to Aerocity Hotel. I did not trust him though, but it was 3am and it’s not always easy to have your wits about you at that time! Our hotel, The Aerocity was 7Km away, but we were there straight away – which seemed suspicious… and, sure enough, the driver had taken us to the Inn. Both of us were livid! Dad got really angry telling him to drop us off or go back to the airport! I got my phone out to check the time and Dad said, “That’s right, Sam – call the police!” I thought that was a good idea (!?) but couldn’t get reception. Then the driver was saying, “No problem, no problem. I find it. I need time.” Eventually he delivered us to our hotel and asked for his money. We weren’t having it and jumped out and got the bags from the boot, arguing with him all the time and walked into the hotel. We told them what had happened, the taxi driver came in and everyone was arguing in Hindi and English. They said they would upgrade our room and we started to walk up. I turned round to see the taxi driver standing in disbelief and Dad (now truly jet-lagged and almost with smoke coming out of his ears) shouting, “You are pathetic! PATHETIC!!”
We then collapsed into our beds and slept for a few hours. When we woke up, Dad asked if I wanted a drink. I said yes, so he went outside to buy one. He was away for over an hour! Apparently, coming back he missed the hotel and walked for a mile trying to find it! Illustrating the hyper activity of Delhi.
We then took a taxi to our next hotel in the centre of Delhi, the Pearl Hotel. The roads are crazy! You can almost smash into cows walking along the road, there are people selling flowers to the drivers at traffic lights and people cycling pulling carts of overflowing with planks of wood!
At the Pearl Hotel we had lunch on the roof. I had chicken curry with garlic naan bread which was the best meal ever! Things were definitely looking up! Dad just watched the pigeons!
Then we went to the market in a Tuck-Tuck which was FUN! I was almost banging into cars! The market was frantic, however, there was nothing interesting being sold, it was all essentials. Everyone came up to you, all smiling and happy, trying to sell products and services to foreigners. We either ignored them or took the mick (I did anyway) e.g. someone asked if I wanted money exchanged. I held out my hand and said 1 million rupees. He said, “Sorry, sir, I don’t have that much” and walked away! Bit harsh. Because of the Holi festival we kept getting hit by water balloons thrown by children. Then we eventually found our way back to the hotel and slept for the rest of the day!