Well, it’s now day 3 and my goodness does it feel like we’ve been nomads for around 6 years – currently flying 30000 feet on a domestic flight from Delhi to Goa, not as originally planned – let’s roll back to the beginning. Bags ready for check in, as they laid there wrapped up in overpriced white cling film, we became quite aware of the term ‘light packing’; job well done. Really wish I had taken a picture but Paco, a good friend of ours, was a welcome face aboard our flight from London Heathrow to New Delhi. I say he was aboard, the uncanny resemblance of this air host certainly confirmed that yes Paco, we have found your Indian Dobbleganger* (*spell check). The relaxing overnight flight landed safely in a foggy Delhi, wake up. No seriously, wake up, one piece of advice for the moment you land in Delhi is, no matter how many times people have told you info about the place, you will never be prepared. I say never, I understand this is quite a wide statement, but I would be tempted to bet 99% of people would say they were prepared and then feel a massive sense of overwhelming anxiety, the other 1%, you’ve done this before haven’t you? Getting a taxi is I guess a rather simple task, it’s cutting through all the rubbish (this is a family friendly blog) just to get what you need. You WILL have several strange ‘drug lord’ style gentleman offering you their cab, because “we are special”, the ability to say “no thank you” and walk away is a great skill once obtained. Trust me when I say that after an overnight flight and jet lag clouds your brain, as an English citizen you have an innate desire to please and be polite. This aside, once you can shake off the weirdos with a stern “no” and start thinking with logic and instinct you realise there’s a prepaid taxi office where they give you an official taxi for a fee not extortionate enough to invalidate the rest of your trip. Parents, the taxi ride was lovely, skip the next paragraph, friends continue. Have you ever played Tetris on the fastest level? There’s various shapes hammering down and you have to carefully place each shape to make sure you clear your blocks and win. Well in India, despite the clearly marked lane lines, it’s not a matter of sticking to your lane, it’s about finding space, any space, sometimes when that’s not available the odd soul will drive down the opposite side. As chaos unfolds the closer you reach the centre, cars fight with bikes, busses fight with auto rickshaws, cows seem to just get in the way and people, yes, people just simply walk in front of everything. Put it this way, every driver has the reaction speed of a Jedi and everyone’s brakes are better than a Boeing 747s. Weirdly enough its a kind of an organised chaos that works – certainly as an ex colony they didn’t get the health and safety Britain ‘gene’. Once arrived, a 5 minute orientation lesson around the hotel soon educated us that 1 minute would of been enough. Overwhelming is an understatement. I think the moment really hit us when, without a pathway, we was giving the choice of walking on the road or through an outside toilet – goes without saying the toilet walk was a dream. In Delhi, it’s not what you see, it’s what you feel. We visited a few sites, one in particular being the fascinating Gandi museum. It was a great learning experience to be in, once, home of the great man, it is now an educational site with free guides who explain everything including the slightly upsetting tail of his last steps. We have fancy technology and modern looking museums all over the world, but this one made you think. It took Gandi’s teachings and presented them in various interactive forms. One in particular made you touch a metal pad while someone else touches another pad, you then hold hands to light up a pole structure. Sounds fairly lame via text, but the concept was a joy to experience. Finding your way around a city like Delhi is not easy, a saying we’ll always remember is, “so, let’s just turn left” which guided us on a unique adventure. Person after person will ask where you come from, what you do, why you are here and where you are going, so naturally you feel a little under pressure considering when you try to bounce back the question, they suddenly ‘don’t’ understand and ask you another question. Going with the flow is important here, you won’t be guided to where you what to go, but you still might find the thing you are actually looking for. This happened. From slightly unconvincing directions to an auto rickshaw driver who eventually ended up giving us a city tour for the day, our own personal driver, well, it wasn’t cheap, £6 for the day between the two of us ate away at our budget of £8 each per day (winky face). After visiting a couple of the emporiums (upmarket Indian handmade goods) we found our wallet slightly lighter, yes you will buy something. They are so kind, “sir look at this”, “sir look at that”, but they really want to say, “sir, give me your wallets and I’ll empty it.” It’s ok to buy something small and say no to everything else, that way you can actually eat that night. As Jessie J puts its, “it’s all about the money, money, money” – didn’t realise she was talking about India. Small tip, negotiating with an Indian is possible, you just have to stick to your value and not to look desperate or in need of help, it is easy to feel a little vulnerable here. People tell you everything runs late or gets cancelled in India, get used to it. Within a period of 6 hours we went from going to the Taj Mahal and the beautiful city of Jaipur to an early flight to Goa. A really ************* we had to make, but without making that decision we would of been stranded in the middle of India. Other mentions: – “Ding dong, complimentary”, a sound and word combination is what you might hear, followed by some goodies at a hotel, it’s also what your service charge pays for – nothing is free. – Indian breakfasts are surprisingly tasteful – Indians love using calculators – Buses at the airport are as loud as planes – If they give you a paddle at airport security, don’t expect an accompanying ball, it’s to identify your bag. – A great little place to eat is called Chimney. – it’s possible to visit Delhi, without getting ‘Delhi Belly’ – success. As this title suggests, the first few days have been a bit of a whirlwind, but time to relax and actually take some of this in. Next stop, Goa.