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Kim’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 18 Sep 2007

Location: Delhi, India

MapEventually here in India after a really bad journey from South Africa. The flight to Jo'burg was fine and then onto Dubai - a 10 hour wait here and then onto Mumbai. Turns out that the domestic airport in Mumbai is over 30ks away from the International and although there is a transfer coach, they cannot guarantee you will arrive in time to catch your flight - welcome to India!! The first thing to do was to take a taxi to the domestic airport and then sit there for another 2 hours waiting for the plane to arrive!! Both airports are terrible and neither has shops or a cafe, so I was very hot, bothered and thirsty by the time I left Mumbai. My seat on the plane was in the middle of a row and both gentlemen either side of me were not of the thin variety but at least they watched the same Bollywood film and both had the volume turned up full for the entire flight - what fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I eventually arrived in Delhi at 01.00am and thank goodness there was someone there to collect me - it would have helped however if he had known were the hotel was but it was found and I got to bed about 2.40am after leaving Cape Town at 2.30pm the previous day. Talk about being asleep on my feet. At least the room was clean and there was a sort of western shower in the bathroom.
Breakfast was at 9.00 this morning and over a cup of dried acorn
( well I am sure it was) coffee, I was introduced to the others in my group, Heike from Germany and Lilian and Arnie from Copenhagen - all of the older variety of traveler. Thank goodness they can all speak english or else I would be struck. This is not a journey for anyone that feels a little downhearted and as soon as breakfast was finished, off to the train station for Agra. Another 5 and half hours of traveling - what joy and this time by train on Indian Railways. At least the company in charged booked 2:2 not 3rd but still a long trip to make in cramped conditions. Indian trains are something you either like or hate, there is no middle ground!. We arrive safe and into a small hotel on the outskirts of the town, at least there is something vaguely familiar about this place, a Costa Coffee shop on side of the hotel and Pizza Hut on the other!! everything else is very strange and alien from the smells to the mode of transport, tractors, elephants and camels are the favorites!! with the odd bicycle thrown in for good measure.As it is early evening, we decide to take a taxi from the hotel and look around the city. Arnie and Lilian are very travelled and want to see everything which makes life so much easier as the bills are split 4 ways. We finish our tour at the back side of the Taj Mahal - the wrong side of the water and watch the sun setting surrounded by children as black as soot demanding money, women washing clothes and a funeral pyre burning from the morning, the river being a holy place to send the ashes into. India takes a lot of getting used to - I am just grateful that I have been before and therefore some of the sights and attitudes are not too difficult to deal with. Back to the hotel and the last chance to drink a proper double expresso, early start in the morning to see the Taj in all its glory under sunrise.