It’s best to close your eyes if it’s your first time in a taxi… in India.
I arrived in Delhi around 11:45 this morning. Many flights today had been canceled due to poor weather conditions, but it is difficult to divert a flight from London that has already been in the air for 8 hours. As I made my way from the terminal to customs I began to wonder what India would actually be like beyond the confines of an international airport. India really starts to hit you the moment you walk through customs. Hundreds of families and friends are waiting on their loved ones. Wading through them to make my way to the prepaid taxis was intense for a girl used to the wide open expanses of Texas.
I paid 350 Rupees and hopped in a black taxi. It looked very similar to the one I took yesterday from Paddington Station to London Heathrow, so logically, it should be safe. No?
The lines intended to separate the road into four lanes heading toward Delhi city center were more of a suggestion. As taxis, motorbikes, bicycles, handcarts, horses, tuk-tuks, and people on foot created an ever-changing landscape of anywhere between five and seven lanes, I realized I was in for the ride of my life.
I didn’t want to miss any of the sites as we drove. The air smelled thick and the taxi seemed to be going in circles. Manu, the taxi driver, wanted me to feel at home, so the drive was accompanied by a soundtrack of the Vengaboys … strange.
The hotel was 8 miles from the airport. Two hours and a stop by a travel information shop, I finally arrived at the hotel. Did we nearly run over a cyclist? Yes.
Truthfully, keep your eyes open. I saw the President’s Estate, a military base, a variety of businesses, a few markets, some startling images, and a new kind of beauty.
More to come — happy holidays from India!