The hotel did not send a driver to pick me up (as prearranged and paid for online). I would have been more discombobulated if things had gone smoothly. I remember from my last trip to India is that things never go as planned, and one should always expect the unexpected.
I had been patting myself on the back for being so wise to pack my down booties in my carry-on (they really came in handy on the ultra-chilled flight) but as I rifled through my bag pulling out mitts, booties, and fleece to find my hotel information in the stifling Delhi heat, it bordered on comedic. My shirt sticking to me and sweat running between my shoulder blades while I made a pile of down articles on the floor.
The sun was coming up, though barely visible through the smog. It was just after 6am when I got a pre-paid taxi chit and settled into the back of a mini-van for the 45min commute through the city. It was how I remember all of the Indian cities I spent time in. Hot. Dusty. Chaotic. Loud. Polluted. The traffic was a mix of lorries, cattle, dogs, rickshaws, pedal bikes, cars, motorbikes...even a guy on inline skates! No real observation of lanes and the horn being the 'signal' of choice to maneuver from side to side. I was happy to dive back into this throbbing city.
Somewhat apprehensive about what the next adventure will entail.
It's now 1050h and I am exhausted. Exhausted from doing nothing. Sitting on planes, and in taxis but I haven't slept since I left Canada. Only a few dreamy head-bobs that woke me right up again on the plane. I need a good stretch or a walk but the thought of stepping out into the madness is unappealing. I'll sleep for a few hours only so avoid exacerbating the jet lag. Then I'll go exploring.
1830h--So much for a few hours sleep and avoiding jet lag.
2300h--Came back from an email attempt to have a short brunette come running out of a restaurant at me, "You're Erin aren't you???"
"I can tell by your 'Smoking Lilly' t-shirt and your lululemon headband!! You've got to be a Canadian from the West coast!"
And so it was how I came to meet Liz, the assistant attending.
After a chai with her and John, the attending, I felt somewhat more reassured about the group I'd be spending the next month with. Both young, adventurous, and entertaining. So far, so good. Except she did shatter my notion of originality. I am evidently a walking stereotype: West coast girl. Suppose it could be worse...
Last time I was in Delhi I had a few friends with me and we had all dreaded coming out of the quiet beauty of the desert and hitting the big city. In an attempt to amuse ourselves we imagined the jobs of the Delhi tourism board trying to come up with slogans to lure tourists...a couple we drummed up were, "10 billion cockroaches can't be wrong!" and my personal favorite, "Delhi--Why the hell not??"
We're going to rent cabs tomorrow and head for the Taj. They twisted my arm. I didn't see it last time and I figured I really can't justify coming to India twice without seeing the Taj...