Delhi Belly!

I’ve made it although I am £300 down which I need to claim back but either way I made it to Delhi. Terrified from what I had head about Delhi I got a pre paid taxi from the booth inside the airport. I knew I was in for a treat when I was directed to the wrong place but despite the lack of sleep I had my wits about me. I left the airport to people trying to get me to go in their taxi and take my slip with the registration of my taxi on it. I walked as confidently as I could to where I believed I should be. Taxi is a bit of a grand word to use when it is basically a large tuk tuk but it has wheels (I think) and it is the correct registration so I hop in. Jolene had warned me that the taxi drivers often don’t know where to go following her experience of having to GPS her driver to the house of the couple we were staying with. I had my map so all is fine. We got lost! Eventually I managed to get the driver to stop and ask and eventually we made it to our hosts house in the Muslim quarter of Delhi. It was wonderful after so many months of travelling to see the face of my ex house mate Jolene who was to join me for the India adventure. We sat up until the early hours of the morning catching up and drinking wine. Our host family were delightful and I loved spending the time with them and their baby Constantine. The heat was a bit of a shock after Beijing but the pollution less so. The next day we decided to make our plans for the rest of the trip and head to the tourist information office. This is where things started to go wrong. In our excitement to get going we fell straight into the oldest trick in the Delhi book of being taken to a fake tourist information centre. After working through our plans for several hours with them and thinking on the price over lunch we decided we would book a private car for our trip around Rajasthan. It was an elaborate scam where even the friendly guy who came into the restaurant was in on it, who convinced us it was the best option and price. I feel stupid now having spent 7 weeks in India but you just don’t expect it! At the point of paying (£2000) for two of us I just got a gut feeling that something was right and asked for a business card which they were slow to produce. To cut along and frustrating story short it was not the correct place and I kicked up a fuss insisting to go to the correct TI to check if they were legitimate. Guess what ? Yep…they have had several complaints files against them for not booking trains, flights etc and following through with their itineraries. We left the TI centre and I’m sure we were followed into the McDonald where we sat to gather our thoughts. We escaped to the tube and got back safe and sound but knowing we had to return the following day to talk to the police and check our money had not been taken. The following day we went back to the TI centre and were asked if we wanted to continue with the trip as the scammers had said we had confirmed we wanted to continue post confirming at the official site. All lies so we called them in and got a full refund and a letter that may or not have made it to the police. It was all very odd and conversation had in back offices and guess what no police involved. To be honest it was probably part of an elaborate money-making scheme but we were sorted and on the off for our next adventure the train station and tourist information centre there to book trains. There are tourist quota tickets available everyday for most trains so cuts out the issues of having to queue for tickets etc. We decided that we didn’t want to go to the Taj yet as we didn’t feel ready for Agra so choose to get our tickets to Jaipur and Jailsamere. The rest of the time we spent in Delhi was walking around looking at the sites which included the Red Fort which was the residence of the Mughal emperor of India for nearly 200 years, until 1857 and looking at Old Delhi which has an awe-inspiring spice market which assaults the senses both in terms of noise and smell as well as some fantastic street food which we sampled. Was it a bit soon to be trying this? Tune in to find out :). On our last evening in Delhi we visited a local Mosque where there was music, singing, praying  and girls throwing themselves around and screaming as if possessed whilst having a spiritual experience. To be honest I felt a little uncomfortable especially after being greeted by our scammer (what are the chances!) but it was still an interesting experience. We had a delicious meal with our host family and headed to bed as we had a Uber booked for 5 am the following morning to take us to the train station. Thank goodness Sigi et al got up with us as the taxi didn’t show and we had to get the guard (I know) to book one for us so we didn’t miss our train. Alls well that ends well and we made the train with no problems and we were on our way out of a place we had no intention of going back to unless we had to. Ladies and Gents I  give you Delhi! Our first experience of India. But how did that street food go down?

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