You can relax when you get home
in Delhi, India on 4th April, 2012


I had got to Hong Kong Airport with what I thought was plenty of time for my flight to Delhi. I thought my flight was at 9pm. At 5:55pm I double checked my booking and saw that I had misread the departure time. The flight would land in Delhi at 9pm and was departing from Hong Kong at 6pm.

I had a little breakdown in the Airport after realising I'd missed a flight for the first time in my life. It was an expensive mistake, I ended up spending £400 on another flight, a hotel for the night and cabs to and from the airport.

My flight the next day was uneventful. I was the only white person on the plane, the meal didn't burn my mouth off and was almost tasty. In 2008 I had money extorted from me by customs in Bangalore airport and I was expecting the worst when I arrived in Delhi. To my delight they ignored me and let me through. It was much like landing at Heathrow.

I walked to the taxi rank outside arrivals and agreed 70 rupees for a drive to my hotel with a tout. The tout took me to a van with a driver waiting. He then drove away from the airport and parked on the motorway. Another car came up and the driver told me that would be my taxi.

I got into the new taxi and the man clears off the odometer. He asked me to confirm that it was at zero. He then said I'd pay 70 rupees for each kilometre into town. I absolutely lost it. It was some 20KM from my hotel and they purposefully got me to somewhere that I couldn't walk away from nor could I just get another taxi. This was a robbery.

I tried to reason with them but ended up having to pay 1,000 rupees to get to my hotel. I thought about demanding my money back from my driver once we were alone near my hotel but it was the middle of the night and I had too much valuable equipment with me.

The one thing that will remain in my memory of Asia is the constant need to be alert. The sense of entitlement hustlers have to my current account is staggering. Money and greed are the cornerstones of everyday life here.

The next morning I went up to the roof of my hotel for breakfast. I poured some milk onto my cereal. There were little bits of ash in the milk. The fruit tasted like it rotted next to an open sewer. The bananas had rotted and I couldn't identify any of the hot food.

Walking to the train station there were men peeing against every single wall in sight. I had my nose in my shirt. It had been 35C+ for weeks in Delhi and the smell of pee baking I the sun was overwhelming.

Touts surrounded me as I got to the station. There were people laying on the floor everywhere. I found the place where foreigners are to buy train tickets. Inside I found the biggest group of crazy white people I'd ever seen in my life. Everyone had dreadlocks and baggy pyjamas on. They all looked fucking crazy.

I hope the locals realise some white people wear sports clothing everyday and couldn't care less about their place in the universe nor what happens to themselves after they die.

Delhi isn't a nice city to walk in. I took a lot of rickshaws to get around. Repeatedly after negotiating price and destination and then driving off, the driver would try to then raise the price or change the destination. One driver kept doing it till I slammed on the back of his seat as hard as I could and shouted "Stop! Stop! Stop!".

It had gotten up to 37C during the day I had in Delhi and I was a bit sick by the time I returned to my hotel. I had five power cuts during my second evening in Delhi. Around 9pm the hotel management came to my room and made me move to another room. I protested but eventually gave in. The second room wasn't that bad.

Both mornings I awoke in Delhi I was really keen to get out the door and get some photography done. Walking 300 meters could mean ten or so great shots. But life here is tough and I'm quickly loosing motivation to stay in India. It smells of pee everywhere, I'm constantly hassled by touts and there always seems to be some official trying to stop me from doing whatever it is that I'm doing. A friendly face and a quiet afternoon would really come in handy right now.

I recently had a friend tell me she didn't have a nice holiday in Northern Vietnam. It reminded me that I owe it to no one to stay somewhere I don't fancy. If things aren't going great by Bangalore I might leave India early for Turkey. I've kept my expectations low but I do expect to enjoy myself at some stage.


Recent Posts