July 16, 2009

India !

Wednesday, 15th of july 2009

We got on the plane in Bangkok at 9 am and landed in Singapore after a 2 hours spent in a very comfortable plane... Singapore is probably the cleanest city in the . The airport is at the image of the town, a huge shopping center where you can enjoy yourself, free cinema and wireless internet (in the whole town too), showers, massage hair dresser and bed for those who wants to spend some money to relax before their flight.

Thursday, 16th of july

We flew of Singapore at 11pm and landed in Delhi at 2am. The airport looked good but to get a real idea of the cleaness of a town I check the bath room... and it usually gives me the right idea... it edlike piss, even in the women bathroom...

We ended up in the bazzar street where our budget hotel is situated, cows, dogs and man were sleeping in the street... plastic papers everywhere but it was 2 am... What would it at day time????

I followed the taxi driver in a dark narrow dirt road to go to our hotel... the manager was sleeping behind his counter... Our room was pityful for the price we paid but at least no flea, no rats and no sticky floor.
I'm always traveling with a sheet and a sleeping bag (and a little pillow I got on a plane). It's really useful when you are traveling as you can make yourself comfortable everywhere.

After a short sleep, we took our breakfast at the top floor. It's really hot here, almost too hot to breath... 40 degrees
We saw the laundry service and changed our mind about cleaning our clothes here... they will be cleaner if we don't.

We stepped outside, smelling piss as the open public piss room is right at the end of the street.
The main dusty street is full of little shoppes, bike-trickshaw are finding their way thru the crowd, some guys are picking up the trash in the street but the smell of the piss is stronger than anything else... We are like targets here, and some guys started to talk to Noah, asking him where he was from and this and that... telling him that they were just talking to be nice, they didn't want any money, getting us confident about his friendship by giving us a tip, "go to the governement tourist office", showing us the place on the map.... then he left telling us to go straight.... a minute later a second one arrived and started the same conversation... leading us to another point of the street and telling us to go straight if we were going to the tourist information center... after 5 minutes, a guy we notice earlier engage the conversation and led us all the way to their tourist office scam. At that point I looked at my map and it did seemed to be the same office as the one we should have gone to but they got us into it... as we were inconsciently looking for a cool place to relax and get away from Delhi's heat and smelland what is more attracting than a AC room and some comfortable seats...
A seller took us in his office, the room was air-conditioned... it was soooo good...
Then he start to ask us about what we wanted to figure out what speach he was going to use on us.. we were pretty easy target as we didn't have any plan and we didn't read anything about India... no guide books...
His speech was good, he was really nice, and told his idea about the best place to go, the way to do it... but where he really failed was when he gave us the prices without looking at anybooks and just by playing with his calculator.. then calling someone by clicking a switch... their office looked pretty good for governemental office also... he gave us photo books, which really got me out of their deal. We told him that we were going to think about his plan but he didn't want to let us go so easy so he gave us some other trip idea, "you will do as you want".. they offered us some water... It was over and all we wanted was to get out of there... he change his voice tone and his face as we were standing up to leave... As we stepped out Noah saw the first guy who talked to him and that made everything clear to us. Looking at the map, we knew we were far out.
We started to walk back and ask a policemen how to get to the real tourist information center... Beggars are sleeping on the street, woman with colorful sari, family eating in the dirt, piss and poo along the walls... dust air and rickshaw everywhere...
Touts were following us, talking to us and trying to get us away, far away from our destination point. They will try to get you out of your way even in front of the tourist information center gates, it's just crazy. We got in the office after a mission walk and we were reassure as we saw the not so luxurious office with the not "overnice" people. They were helpfull and nice but not too much like in the fake office. They gave us the informations for the train rides.
Touts are everywhere here, looking at you and listening to you, studying you... some tried to get us out of our way to the train station office but everytime they told us something we did the opposite. The train station was full, people sitting on the floor... the line for the second class seater has no end. In the stairs to the international train station office, a sign warn the tourist about the touts... They have a special office where foreigners can buy their ticket in a cool and organise space... After all that, sitting in the safe room and thinking about what happened, we felt better, being aware of what's going on out there and we laugh about it.
We got our ticket, planned our whole trip for two weeks in India.

We will leave tonight to go to Varanasi to see the Gange, then to Agra to see the Taj Mahal and the other temples and forts around, then Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Bukaner and the rat temple, then a northen town called Simla... And back to Delhi for the last day... if everything goes at it's planned..

Take care


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