2007 #1 Back in India – 2007 leg.

Well, we made it. I’m now sitting in an internet cafe in Paharganj, Delhi.

The beginning of the trip was kicked off by a severe tasting session at the Duty Free shop in Auckland Airport. As far as drinks go, I can recommend the following:
Nah, never mind. The list is too long. However, may I say it was condusive to looking at a 12 hour plane trip with a slightly enhanced enthusiasm and by no means a dry whistle.

I had forgotten to take the scissors out of my spongebag, so I got had up by a customs guy. They didn’t open as wide as 6cm though, so he let me through. Neither he nor I could figure out how that lessened the killability of said possible weapon, but hey – who’s complaining? And combined with my lack of mean, killer look…

The new Bangkok airport is pretty Jetsons style. You stand on moving footpaths to get throught the miles-long corridors. We had a bit of fun with that. After checking into the hotel, we wandered across the road – nay, veritably risked our lives in a suicidal dash, to be nearer the truth – to have a taste of wonderful, genuine Thai cuisine. YUM!!! As fantastic as ever.

Yesterday we went shopping in Bangkok. (As is a girl’s wont.) Most fortuitously, the market is right outside our hotel room door. A few new clothes later, we find ourselves restudying the age old travellers art of stuffing more into your backpack than it can actually hold. This includes one bottle of alchohol each, because apparently going from Bangkok thru to Delhi, you aren’t allowed to carry the usual 2 bottles through. Go figure. Crossing fingers that they didn’t break and we didn’t land in Delhi to pick up alchohol-sodden backpacks. When we got to the BK airport, we were told we also couldn’t carry the one bottle each we had left in our duty-free bags! So we had to go find the Post Office (which of course, bowing to Murphy’s law, was at the other end of the monstrous terminal) and repack them into a box with mega bubblewrap, etc. Then they had to be checked in. What a performance, just to have a drink at the other end! It will be enjoyed with relish, of course.

Just before we went through Customs, Paul realised he’d forgotten about the free hipflask he’d gotten with his duty-free purchase in Auckland. Customs said he couldn’t take it through because it added up to more than 100ml. So they gave him a choice of throwing it away or going to some seats at the side and drinking it. What do you think he did? (With a little tiny bit of help from me. I’m his friend – what to do?)

So again, we had lots of fun with the Jetsons moving footpaths and hopped onto the plane to Delhi. After landing, we – now experts at the art of being amongst the first off the plane and cueing at India customs lines – raced through and were amongst the first to be at the baggage claim. Well, serves us right for being so smart. Two bits of our luggage turned up fairly quickly, but the third was one of the last bits to come out. So that set us back about three quarters of an hour. How on earth does that work when you checked your luggage in together in the first place?! That was when we knew we were in India. The law of Randomness and the Bizarre is still alive and well here.

Taxi and richshaw later (and wonderful, noisy, honking traffic that makes Bangkok look totally sane), we’re finally at the Guesthouse. We would have celebrated if we hadn’t been so exhausted. All we could do was dump our luggage, crawl up to the rooftop restaurant and flop about in cane chairs drinking Limca, saying ‘Yay’ in pathetic weak voices.

I’m glad to report that the bottles we packed into our backpacks arrived intact. We would have celebrated that too, if we hadn’t been to weak to take the lids off.

This morning, after a hot sticky sleep on concrete-hard beds, we were back on the rooftop eating ‘butter toast’ with VEGEMITE and NZ Coffee, which I brought with me in tubes. Yum. We were very glad to see the usual waiters here. They’re lovely guys and were very welcoming. It was so nice to see them again.

I watched some cows being milked over the side of our building. Hard case sight in the middle of the city – crows and eagles flying overhead. Where else do you get such a mixture of city and nature so close together? No sign of monkeys raiding the water tanks yet though.

Well, it’s hot and sticky, and we’ve managed to accomplish 2 chores and now we’re exhausted again. Takes a bit of acclimatising, this. I’m about to dive back out on the street and take my chances with the traffic, cows, potholes and heat again. It’s gone fairly smoothly though – I’ve only turned down 15 offers of rickhsaw rides and 22 touts asking if I want everything under the sun at ‘special price madam’. I’m now off to find a chai wallah for a cup of Indian tea.

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