Monday, 18 March 2013

Step by Step

These past few months have been a hectic bundle of earning money through about five different jobs and planning an exciting three month trip through Asia with my friend, Amy.
We arrived in India on the 16th and we plan move up towards Nepal, back into India, and fly into Thailand before also exploring Laos. We're pretty excited but three months is a long time! Due to popular demand (and parental anxiety) we have decided to blog about it. Since this has turned into a lifestyle blog, I think that this is an appropriate place to jot down our experiences here in Asia.
We won't post everyday and we will take it in turns to write a post. We hope that you will enjoy reading about our travels and that this will reduce the number of emails or calls from my (Mamie's) Mother.

17th March 19:31 by Amy

Day 1. Painful first impressions
Overwhelming, stressful and 'general mind fuck' would be the most accurate way of describing the first day of this backpackers' trip slash crazy adventure.
It begins with us exiting Delhi airport, groggy and anxious, where we were affronted by a large crowd of Indian taxi drivers. Once we worked out the exchange rate, we arranged a pre-paid taxi to take us to our Hostel, New King... or so we thought. Lesson 1. Listen to your hostel when they advise you to let them pick you up from the airport *cough cough* Mamie.

E-mail received 17/03 3:14
Dear Guest
This is from hostel where you made a reservation for today. We are really worried about you, could you please tell us exactly what happened with you. You might have met some people who might have told you that there are from hotel and invatebily they have told you that your booking not confirm. Or may be local taxi driver took you to so called Tourist information & they have told you a same & they must have tried tried to sell you a expensive package for rajasthan. They have even told you that the hotel has transferred your booking to their branch hotel but it's all SCAm you never spoke to us it was one of them who are making you fool. Pls reply to this ASAP & I will get all your momey back. Just let me know name of hotel you are staying I will come to pick u up Thanks

The realisation that the phone call made from the 'hostel'' to the 'tourist agency' may have been fake came to me at 3am in our new hotel. We had been completely fooled by a well-dressed man in an official looking office. Since we thought our first hostel was unable to take us and because we were told we were unsafe travelling alone, in our vulnerability we were charmed into paying a large sum of money for a travel package around India. How humiliating. I personally had spent the day with this horrible aching feeling of unease - we didn't know who we could trust. We spent the evening calling up hotels to check that they'd booked us in.

Day 2. Shanti Shanti
Although we had been scammed, we now had someone on our side who said, quote; 'I'm going to screw with these people's happiness! Shanti shanti. [the Indian take on 'akunamatata'] Would you like some tea?' The man running New King looked like a mix of the love guru and someone from Aladdin. He was also so chilled I knew our second day would be a complete contrast to the previous, and it was. We were backpacking, seeing the real Delhi and not being chauffeured around in a taxi.

There were plenty of opportunities to get our cameras out in Old Delhi. Highlights for me were the mosque Jami Masjid (where Mamie and I were dressed up in floral overalls and had to take off our shoes) and walking around the general hustle and bustle of Delhi which was never dull. The markets reminded me of Marrakech - with the crowded streets, beeping horns and haggling- this time in rupees. There was also the attention we got from locals. We felt like celebrities with constant photo requests. It's definitely not been a boring first two days and we're going to bed very happy with a stomach full of Lassie.

P.S. The roads are mental.

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