05.07.2010 - 05.08.2010 94 °F
Hello from Delhi!
Its 4:50 am and I just woke up. The time zone is 2 -1/2 hrs earlier than Guangzhou’s.
So let me tell you about my trip in to Delhi… Ada’s brother drove me to the GZ airport; found my terminal and check-in went smoothly. Passengers were bused to a dirty China Southern Airlines Boeing 737. We boarded on the tarmac… no fancy jet terminal here…
Something to keep in mind with international travel is to forget your “real” life – you are in another land with different cultures. If you compare the differences too much, it will either make you laugh or get angry - best not to react negatively... but, for entertainment’s sake, please let me share some of these differences:
Three Little Indians
The flight into Delhi was full and I noticed that most passengers were men. Three particular Indian men were sitting a few rows ahead of me and were probably in their late twenties. 737s have overhead “call attendant” buttons that light up and create a loud “ding” over the aircraft intercom speakers. These three Indians kept pressing the button every few minutes to summon the stewardess. She would begrudgingly walk to their row, smack the light to turn it off and find out what they wanted. For the first 10 it was stupid questions like “how long is the flight”, “are there bathrooms that are closer to our seats?”, “when do we get food?”, etc… The last 10 requests were for drinks - questioning the quality of the water and asked for a sealed bottle to be opened in front of them (it was a large disposable bottle that the attendant poured for all customers).
Fast-forward to seconds after we land. The three Indians jump out of their seat and practically fall over because we are still screaming down the runway at 100 miles-an-hour. They scramble to get to their stuff in the overhead bins and are ready to go. Wait…, wait…., ok, five seconds later all the Indians in the plane follow suit and get out of their seats, some running and pushing to get their stuff. Incredible! Most of the Chinese passengers (myself included) just sat there in disbelief. Welcome to Incredible India!
I researched ground transportation months in advance but to actually see how you get an airport taxi is funny. First you buy a prepaid voucher from a window attendant inside the terminal. Apparently this keeps the drivers somewhat honest. Then, you have to push your way through a huge crowd outside the terminal and are supposed to wait in line for the next taxi to roll up. In reality, it doesn’t work. One has to run a few hundred feet down the taxi line to snag an empty one. It was a mad dash with absolute craziness! I jumped into a taxi run by this bloke that played the taxi game; They ask for your hotel name and tell you it’s not a good hotel or it’s in a bad area. Best thing is to say that you have already booked reservations and paid, otherwise the drivers will steer you to a shithole hotel and get a hefty commission for bringing you there.
I Do Not See a Reservation for you, Sir…
Your hotel reservation and proof of online payment cannot be found by hotel staff. They drag this on until you get weary and pay for a top-tier room. Ha! No fooling me ya sheisty pirates! I had my hotel payment email confirmation on my Iphone. This initially did not work as they wanted a printout. They directed me to a computer in the lobby and stood over me and watched me login to my email account and print the payment receipt. This scared the crap out of me because I have my master financial account spreadsheet in this email account. They accepted the receipt and I got my room. I quickly got on my Iphone and deleted all financial records from my email account. That had the potential for serious identity theft. Call me paranoid. I’ll change the password once at a safer Wi-Fi spot.
Ok, that’s enough typing for now. I’ll upload at the airport.
Wi-Fi no Worky at Airport