Our bags were packed, the house was locked up and we said our goodbyes to our families and friends... our 9 month around the world adventure had arrived. I was filled with excitement with an underlying sense of fear and curiosity.
We arrived at Birmingham International airport to get our direct flight to Delhi in more than enough time. We were flying with Air India, as these were the cheapest flights we could find. We reached the check-in desk and handed the lady our passports and e-visas. Computer said 'no', apparently the systems had changed a few weeks before which they hadn't informed us of, and I hadn't printed off the correct documents. We were directed to a computer with a printer and were told that we couldn't check in until we printed the correct e-visa. Printer said 'no', it was out of order, to cut a long story short a man on another desk simply signed the document and told me that this would suffice.
We had heard about the smog in Delhi which was causing problems and delays and that is exactly what happened. 'I am sorry to inform you that your flight is delayed, here is £7.50 for food and drink'....great!
Drama over we arrived at the No.1 Lounge and finally relaxed with a drink. The lounge was comfortable and had a free bar, snacks, tea and coffee. This was my first ever time in a airport lounge and it did not disappoint. It felt more like you were in a nice bar, rather than an airport. We had bought a priority pass which gives us unlimited access to any of the lounges they had joined up with. Given the amount of flying that we plan on doing, it seemed worth the money. Hopefully the other lounges live up to No1.
I was a bit sceptical about flying with Air India but once we actually got on the plane it was a comfortable flight and 8 hours passed very quickly. If you know me, I am not very good with spicy food and the meal served on the flight was jalfrazi curry. I gave it a go as I knew that I was going to be confronted with spicy food for the foreseeable future. I made it half way through and couldn't eat anymore...fail.
We arrived in Delhi and there was actually smog IN the airport. We later heard that walking in Delhi for one day amounted to smoking 50 cigarettes...our poor lungs. First things first was to get some Rupees, after trying two ATMS we finally figured it out, got some dosh and were on our way.
As soon as we walked out of the airport doors, 10 men flocked around us shouting for us to use their taxi, we were getting the metro and after some stern 'no's' they finally left us alone. We successfully found the correct metro and grabbed a seat. I looked around the carriage to see that most of the locals were staring at me, it was a bit awkward but I had been pre-warned about this. Don't think the locals see much blonde hair or blue eyes, so was kind of expecting it. The metro only cost 120 rupees for both of us to get from the airport to Hauz Khas, which is about £1.40 and only took around 25 minutes, bargain.
We exited the metro and had the same problem with men flocking around us trying to get us to pick their tuk tuk, but this time it was even more intense and they wouldn't take no for an answer and started following us down the street. After a while I think they understood that we were going to walk the hostel, which we thought was a good idea at the time...fail number 2.
OMG trying to cross the road was the scariest thing, unless you have been to India you will not appreciate what a hard task this really is. It is ridiculously dangerous and especially carrying the bags, it is not for the faint hearted. The constant beeping of horns makes the situation even more intense. It is basically like a game of chicken and you just hope you don't get run over.
We finally made it to Madpackers Hostel alive and the guys on reception were really nice and extremely helpful. After settling in, we tried to find the road which had some restaurants on. We reached a road where there was more going on but it was quite overwhelming, people were lined up on the road selling clay pots, silver, crafts, you name it, they had it. After the flight I think we were both ready for some food and went into the nearest restaurant we could find and that looked nice...fail number 3. The food was delicious but it was soooo expensive. Somehow in India we spent over £30 on dinner which was just curry, nan and a rice and a beer each. We later realised that the hostel had a cafe and the curry was about £1.50, oops.
We ended the night going into a local supermarket, to have a look around at all of the different food and drink. I love wandering around markets when we reach a new country as they are usually so different to home. We decided to get an ice-cream to take back to the hostel but after seeing the sell by date of May 2017, we thought twice, apparently in India sell by dates mean nothing.
Back at the hostel we booked onto the 'Delhi Belly Walking Tour' for the following day which started at 7:30am. We got an early night and luckily the bed was really comfortable, just a shame about the noise and by noise I mean constant loud beeping. Basically the roads have no rules or lanes and everyone lets the other drivers know they are there by beeping their horn a million times, its pure madness!