Ok so I'm still alive after my first day walking the streets of New Delhi. To summarise, I had a pleasant flight, it was quite empty so I could move to a window seat on my own aisle and spread out and generally make myself at home. My onboard meal was a modest but actually rather tasty chicken curry with rice! The onboard entertainment was plentiful with lots of films to choose from however I was too tired to concentrate but I couldn't sleep properly because of the crying babies and turbulence. So I arrived in Delhi with about 2 hours sleep. After passing through customs and having the "opening an oven door" experience, I met my driver with my name card (always wanted to have someone meet my at the airport with my name on a placard so dream come true!).
The 30 minute drive from the airport to the hotel was an eye opener to say the least. Just so you get an idea, everything you have ever seen on tv or heard about India is basically true, it's safe to say it sure does live up to the stereotype. Traffic was chaotic, loud and horns are blaring non-stop. There are no rules on the road it seems, and pedestrians and all other modes of transport become one, even on the motorway! I reached the main bazaar where I then had to leave the mini van to walk through some narrow alleyways to my hotel 'The Smyle Inn' and checked into my modest room with a fan and a toilet with a bucket and scoop which the function of, I'm not quite sure of (showering or flushing the toilet?!).
By this time I am sweating buckets (yeh lovely!) and am clearly wearing too much clothes so I promptly change into shorts and sandals, slap on the factor 50 and prepare to venture out into the city.
What followed can only be described as mayhem, confusion but amazing! In the next few hours I probably experienced more than I would in a year back home, so much happened so I will summarise. I spent some time being scammed by a fake tourist info office (but told them to shove it in the end, go me!), I met a man who worked in the railway station who helped me get s auto rickshaw to 'Connaught Place', New Delhi's commercial hub full of McDonalds, designer stores and cinemas, there I met several other people who followed me telling me their life story, asking mine and eventually offering to show me around Delhi. I also met a few people who offered me "very good smoke my friend" and a man who wanted to clean my ears "at a quality price" the most outrageous encounter was a nice young man who followed me for a while asking where I was from and then asked if I was "interested in gay sex" I thanked him for his offer and politely asked him to leave me alone.
Eventually I made it back to the main bazaar to find my hotel, but that was the problem I couldn't find it but spent the next 45 minutes making my way down the street looking in each familiar place until I eventually found it by (I am not joking) following the smell of pee as my hotel is down an alley with a couple of urinals at the end of it!
After a nap I set out to find something to eat at 10pm and after great length, found a restaurant with a balcony table at the top of a vertical stairway which was called the 'everest cafe'. This is where I ha my first proper meal in Delhi of a mixed vegetable curry with rice, a chapati and a luke warm sprite to wash it down with. Veeery niiiice!
After this I made my way back to my hotel, but on the way a woman approached me because they were shooting a film in Delhi and needed a european guy for a extra part but needed to be able to ride a motor bike so I politely declined the job offer but was chuffed to be asked :-) I also bumped into one of my friends from the afternoon (not the one offering sex!) who took me to his shop where he showed me pictures of his home in the mountains and tried to sell me bus tickets there. As I walked past the urinals onto the alley towards my hotel (thank you nose for directions again!), I had to decline an invite from two men to a party with their family that night. Shattered I promptly went to bed and had a very good nights sleep after an eventful and amazing first day in India!