Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 0-Touch Down in Delhi

After the longest plane ride of my life (14 hours 20 minutes) we finally touched down in Delhi. After the airport misadventures, we were just so thrilled to have actually made it.

We breezed through customs, claimed every piece of luggage (always feels like a little victory), found our guide without a hitch, and even hit the ATM so we are now shopping-ready.

I read so many places that India “smells.” You’re told the stench accosts you the moment you exit the airport. Granted we haven’t hit the hustle bustle of the streets yet, but India (so far) smells lovely. It definitely has a smell, a distinct smell that followed us from the airport through the 45 minute drive in Delhi traffic all the way to the hotel. It’s an earthy, smoky slightly incense-like smell. It reminds me of wood briquettes on a grill.
It was dark as our van zipped us through the highways and roundabouts. But, we had front row seats for the spectacle that is Delhi driving. These folks are brave, or crazy, or both. Like many third world nations, lines on the street, stops signs, etc. are a suggestion. A suggestion often ignored. The rules seem to be, if you car fits, you can put it there. If it doesn’t fit, just honk until someone moves.

The if-you-fit driving mentality must be why there are so many motorbikes and scooters. They zip in between the cars, squeezing through unlikely gaps in traffic. Most had at least two people on them. I saw one with three ladies, and a number of bikers had a sidesaddled sari-wearing companion.

Now I’m suffering from reverse jetlag and I woke at 4 am on day one. Time to go meet India. Well, almost time.

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