My adventure begins, as usual, with my own haplessness. It turns out I left behind my cash card but happily I had some US money on me, which I exchanged at the airport. It’s a good thing I got in unusually early and the exchange desk was still open. Of course, anticipating I would have a cash card, I didn’t bring a lot of USD. I’ll figure something out. I know people….
Vishal was planning to come get me but my plane landed a whole hour early. (Who ever heard of that?! Of course there was that plane in Bangladesh that took off an hour earlier than scheduled departure.) And of course I had no checked bags so I was out immediately, easier just to take a taxi than make him trek out to get me.
Then my taxi driver claimed there’s no #[–] Gulmohar Park, which is where I am staying. As David says, they will claim the non-existence of a place is veryvery much and you just have to insist it is veryveryless. “Persistence is key.”
Vishal helpfully emailed me tips for how to get there, like that the numbers at Gulmohar Park make no sense. The driver called the mobile number they have listed but this guy was just yelling (in Hindi presumably) — and then the driver passed the phone to me, as though I could figure it out! So I start saying in English, “Is this [the place where I am staying]?” But the guy just keeps talking loudly in some language I don’t understand. He was so loud we could both hear and the driver and I both started laughing. He found it eventually, but not before stopping at least (no exaggeration) a dozen times asking for #[–]. I admired his persistence, especially because I had paid a (very cheap) flat rate at the airport pre-pay taxi counter.
And then there was this gem of a conversation!
Taxi driver: “What is your country?”
Me: “Where are you from?”
Driver: “I am Indian.”
We both ended up laughing again. I meant what state in India, but he realised it was pretty funny immediately. I like this guy.
Also I bought a bottle of water at the airport because I knew I would be dehydrated on the road and I was so paying attention to paying for it that I carefully took my change, and then left the water at the counter. Of course, the taxis here are either enclosed and unbearably hot or “open air” and it’s like a death sentence with the pollution.
Oh, and I was just informed that the area of India that I need to go to next week is beset by rampaging elephants, who have trampled 3 to death so far, so villagers felled a giant tree to block the only road into the district, which is going to make getting there rather more challenging than anticipated. Also, there is apparently “lashing monsoon rain” in the region. No kidding.
I have to say I am veryvery happy to be back in India. I think I genuinely missed it!
I’m looking forward to seeing the —–s tomorrow. Vishal says that by now little Zaira has mastered the art of repeating everything you say. Persistently, I’m sure. Here is how insanely cute she is:
P.S. This is “New Delhi, Take 2” because I was supposed to take this trip in April. The usual brand of haplessness befell me, however, and I was delayed until now.