We are sitting in the Delhi airport right now. Our flight to the capital was delayed due to weather. So far we have had a perfect travel record. We never missed a flight, had one delayed or lost any luggage. One hour delay is not too bad. Jennifer is talking to a guy in his forties wearing a plaid shirt with the kind of sideburns that point towards the corners of his mouth. He’s from the same city she went to school in. Kind of random meeting on the wait to where we’re going.
When we got our ticket, the guy at the counter gave me my Delhi to the capital ticket back and took my capital to Delhi ticket, but I didn’t realize it until we went through immigrations. So I was looking at it and saw I didn’t have the right one, thank Goodness. I was able to go back and get my return ticket. I don’t know what would have happened if I was at the airport in the capital and didn’t have the return ticket. That would have stunk. Thank Goodness I saw that.
Yesterday, we went to meet the guys in charge of Asha Handicrafts. Then we went to one of their projects in the slums. The were teaching women how to stitch and sew. I think I was telling you about this last night. Lets see, then we met back up with Debbie who was placing an order with Asha. Then Sasha took the three of us to the train station, which was intense. We went down town and ate an Indian favorite snack food. Then we walked down a road that sounded like (Lee King rd). It’s the place locals go to buy cheap cloths. They were the type of guys who would call you over and try to sell you anything for a good price. “My friend, hello! One minute…please good price…etc.”
Next day…now in country…but not quite on the internet.
The flight into the country was kind of different. It was a nice plane and even had a first class, which I wasn’t expecting. However, the people were noticeably different. It seemed like a lot of people were flying for their first time. Many people looked a little dirty. Then there were two kids behind us sitting with a 30ish man. As soon as we took off they did a little shufleroo grabbing our chairs and jumping their butts to another seat like a little circus act. It was annoying. Then Jen and I started watching The Office they did another shuffleroo grabbing and shacking our chairs and standing behind us watching it over the chairs and between the chairs. But it was The Office so probably pretty boring without the sound and if you aren’t American. But then when we were on the approach the man was sitting at the window and the two boys were basically in his lap. One of them had his hand on my seat, so I rested my head back on him and he moved it. So those boys looked out the window the whole landing. They weren’t even close to being in their seats. I was pretty surprised that two flight attendants walked right passed them without saying anything.
Our arrival was pretty impressive. First of all they had cleaned up the airport and no longer had junked airplanes lining the runway. Secondly, we got to the immigrations which was basically an unfinished cement room with construction and many lines blobbing into a few. We were near the back and hardly moving. We moved maybe ten feet in 15 minutes, and most of that was just the line compacting. But then, we see a guy walking down the line with our guesthouse name on it. So we tell him that’s where we’re going and he pulled us out of line and had us cut to the side of the immigration officer’s box. Then this porter was super assertive about helping us find our bags. You have never seen baggage collection like this. There are about 50 people crowding around a very, very small track carrying the luggage. Then you have airport officials standing along the track chucking bags off into a big pile all along the track. So, the 50 people crowded around the track are climbing over piles of bags and digging for their affects. I was digging at one pile and the guy was throwing bags that toppled over the pile onto me. It wasn’t like a dangerous situation, but it wasn’t a helpful one either.
Me and the porter were able to find our bags in piles on both sides of the track. To get to the other side of the track you had to push and shove and climb over bags and jump on the edge of the track. Then there were people trying to push trolleys stacked with 6 huge bags through a crowded place. Ok, so we got all our bags ptl and so we were just waiting on the military guy who got us out of the line. He had our passports and was getting them stamped. So, he comes out and leads us with the porter (we are now one of those guys with a trolley stacked with 6 bags) out the exit. We ask him a couple times for our passports, but he won’t give them to us (cause for concern). The airport doesn’t have like a greeting area, no one is allowed that close to the airport. So we are following the guy with our passports, military dude, and two porter dudes. They are pushing our stuff through the puddles and mud and all that and we are just following them. We exit the airport and are heading towards the parking lot. Then we go through the parking lot (which is all muddy). We pickup a couple guys who seem to know military dude. We have about 5 guys with us now and we don’t know any of them. So we go through that parking lot, to another parking lot, we wait for the car…they pull it up and load our stuff in it. Then they tell us to get in the back seat. The girls got in and I stayed out despite their persistent requests to get in. So the two new dudes are talking with military dude and the porters. I was trying to think whose side I’d be on if a fight broke out.
So we ask the military dude for our passports a couple more times and he’s saying he gave them to the two new guys. So they start having a discussion, which seems to get a little heated. They go buy something and keep talking. So their laughing and kind of pushing each other then voices get a little louder, then their smiling, then their shaking hands, then the military dude is trying to pull his hand free from the other guy’s. both of their knuckles were white. Then I see the new guy is holding our passports and the military dude is reaching for them. They look a little like kids. So, this has been going on for about 20 minutes now and finally the new guy gives our passports back to the military dude, who comes straight to me and gives me mine, then opens the truck door and gives Debbie and Jennifer theirs. Then we go happily on our way. Though we still don’t know who the guys are that are driving us away from the hotel. A quick though crosses my mind…”what if these guys are just taking us to harvest our organs?” However one of them hands Debbie his cell phone with our friend on it welcoming us there, they explains the situation and how the military dude wanted money for walking us through security. It was cool though, we were probably leaving the airport at about the time we would have reached the immigration window had we stayed in the line.
They had gotten a fresh coat of snow last night so the hills surrounding the city were very pretty. It was warm enough to turn all the snow in the city into mud, but the hills looked nice. I’m gon’na have to buy some boots and socks and a hat.
At the guest house there was a couple from Canada. The husband told me of some bands I should look up. I’m definitely going to look them up. They were New World Son and Adhrana. The other guy is a guy my age who is actually Jennifer’s friend. They hadn’t seen each other in 2 years. He moved here 7 months ago and met a chick who he’s marrying…so he’s now leaving to marry her. They emailed and worked it out to be at the guest house at the same time. I’m sharing a room with him for two nights while he’s here.