Well it’s Dec. 22 in India now and all of us here in India are still on the same planet. I hope it’s the same for the rest of you. Unless you are now in a pure land, if so, I rejoice for you!
My short stay in Delhi was uneventful until it was time to leave. The train I was supposed to catch was to arrive in Delhi at 9:30 pm and leave at 10:00pm. I had asked the hotel to provide a car and for me to arrive at the station 30 minutes before the train even arrived. I was on time, they weren’t. We arrived at the train station at 9:30pm and they dropped me off. The only problem with this is that it’s the wrong train station and the car had already left. And I’m told (in broken Hindi/English) that it is 30 minutes drive to the correct station if there are no traffic problems! So off I go with my luggage (see above photo) in search of a taxi. Apparently an old man my age had been listening (as all old men do in India) to the ruckus that had been going on. He had a taxi and would gladly take me to the station for 600 rupees (11 dollars US). I had already paid 800 rupees to the hotel, but never-mind. So off we go, me, my luggage (see photo above) and the gentleman of the same age and his mini van from an age long ago. We are screaming past all sorts of vehicles, well at least the ones that are parked, when I realize that the screaming noise I hear is coming from the transmission. Out of 3 gears he has only 2 and the gear he is in is screammmmmiiinnnggg. After sneaking thru a couple of red lights and a short cut or two, we arrive at the station on the wrong side of the road, which means making a u turn somewhere, somehow. He manages it and stops and points in the direction of the station. Out of the age old mini-van I leap (fall) and grab my luggage (see above photo). I’m stopped by a helpful soul who asks if I need a porter. Yes please, Is my reply and he asks to see my ticket. Another elderly gentleman my age (we seem to be everywhere) puts all of my luggage (see above photo) on his head,and we are off thru the massive throngs of humanity (thanks Sylvia for the lingo) to the spot where the train will be. On arrival at the spot where the train should be……it’s not here and won’t be for another 2 hours. IT”S LATE! Thank you taxi driver, porter and ticket takers for your help.
Delhi has changed since my last visit 4 years ago. There is more traffic. Most of the traffic signal lights work. The airport work is done for the most part and is very nice. And the price of everything has gone up. In general I think they are good improvements but there is always the very very poor side of humanity that you see everywhere, that I hope can be addressed some day.
I have the same room at the Pema Thang Guest House in McLeod Ganj as I did 4 years ago. It is a Tibetan owned hotel with very friendly staff and a great view of His Holiness’s monastery, the mountains and the valleys.