First 24 hours in Delhi, India

22nd-23rd March 2016
 Well I don’t even know where to start! So much has happened in the last 24 hours so lets go back to the beginning…

Monday evening I left everyone at the gate and went through to board my plane – first disaster I wasn’t able to transfer money from my bank to my travel cash card… UH OH I’M ON THE WAY TO INDIA AND I HAVE NO MONEY!!! First phone call to mum less than an hour in.. luckily she got it all sorted for me.. thanks mum…
Anyway boarded my plane and within two hours of leaving Heathrow I started getting cold and sweaty, feeling sick and the WORST stomach cramps in my life (what the hell this is supposed to happen IN India NOT before I have even got there?!) I ended up being sick, went to sleep and then I felt fine. I landed in Muscat around 7.15 in the morning where some nutter who had drunk a whole bottle of vodka decided he was going to try and light a cigarette whist we were waiting to get off!!! I then had the pleasure of sitting next to a very strange man on my fight from Muscat to Delhi.
Once I landed in Delhi I realised I that I had a shoulderless top on so I had to keep my waterproof jacket on.. in 30 degree heat. This is when things got stressful, my bag weighed a ton, I was hot, I needed money, a sim card and a way to get to my hostel. I went to the cash point and it asked me how many rupees I wanted – I literally had no idea so had to go and get help. I then managed to get a sim card (that was easy) and then had to decide what dodgy looking taxi company to go with (I couldn’t face getting the train in 30 degree heat with two bags) Finally chose a taxi company and set off to the hostel. The driver was surprisingly lovely and pointed out lots of temples and sights and also gave me advice about going out at night alone (I still didn’t trust he was going to take me to the hostel until we actually pulled up outside haha).
All I can say next is I am SOOOOO glad that I chose to stay at Zostel otherwise I think I would have been on the next flight home. One of the staff carried my bags up to my room and showed me around. The room itself is really nice – I am in a 6 bunk room, I have a light and plug next to my bed and it is all really clean. The bathroom is basic but it will do! This is when I realised that I needed money but didn’t want to leave the hostel – the guy on the desk showed me one just across the road (crossing it was a challenge in itself) but as I was about to step in there was three men with guns.. I ran back to the hostel. The guy on the desk then showed me another one a bit further along which I ran to and back. Turns out the men with guns were security trying to fix the machine as it was broken hahah.. you never know!! I spent the rest of the evening in the hostel sorting my stuff out and using the Wi-Fi. I still hadn’t had any food or water at the point as I didn’t want to go outside in the dark on my own – I started chatting to a girl and she told me that they sell water in the hostel, RESULT. Went to bed thinking ‘what the hell am I doing here’.
When I woke up this morning I was determined to have a better day – before coming to India I had booked a 2 hour walking tour around Delhi with a charity called Salaam Baalak who aim to take kids off the streets. The start of the tour was about a 10 minute walk from my hostel. I did get approached by a lot of men but once I told them I didn’t want to buy their food or clothes or get a taxi they were actually really friendly and pointed me in the direction of the start of the tour. The tour itself was really good – the guide was one of the children that had been taken in by the salaam baalak trust when he was only 8. He told us that he ended up on the streets as he got lost from his home during a big festival in Mumbai and when the police found him instead of taking him home they sent him to an orphanage who used to beat him so he ran away to Delhi where he lived on the streets for 3 years before Salaam Balaak took him in. He took us down lots of back streets and little side alleys, it was a really cool tour and a chance to see the poverty in India first hand. Just before the tour finished we visited one of the boys orphanage – the kids were so cute and were running round giving us hi-5’s. One of them wanted me to play a clapping game with him and before I knew it I had about 15 of them around me all wanting to play! The tour was 300 rupees (just under £3) but for some reason he didn’t ask for the money so I gave him a tip of 100 rupees.

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When I got back to the hostel one of the guys in my room asked if I wanted to go out with him and a girl from our room to look for some cheap clothes for the holi festival tomorrow. We went down to the main bazaar and brought some clothes – the guy from my room, Andrew, brought a traditional white outfit so that will be interesting to see tomorrow after all the colours have been thrown! We headed down a bit further and brought some water balloons, paint and water guns too! We then went and grabbed some lunch – pakoras for 35 rupees! We headed over to the train station to check out some tickets – we took a number and waited in line to speak to someone but got distracted playing a card game and missed our number by literally 5 seconds so they made us take another one. An hour later and lots of card games (may I add that for someone who didn’t know how to play I won nearly all of them) we were finally seen. By this point we were hungry so headed back over to the bazaar for dinner. Me, Shannon and Andrew decided to share a few dishes so we chose a really yummy potato dish, a naan, rice and dal makhani. It was the best thing I have ever tasted and was only 600 rupees, 200 rupees each!

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We made our way back to the hostel and stopped along the way to buy some beers. Once we were back we headed to the rooftop (were not actually allowed alcohol in the hostel but the owner said that we could. what a lovely man) where the views were literally incredible. You could see for miles across Delhi and it is absolutely beautiful! We stayed up there drinking beer and watching the sun set (my fave thing to do) it was unreal. Sitting up on that rooftop watching the sun set and listening to travel stories just confirmed to me that this is exactly where I want to be right now.

How things have changed in just over 24 hours!!

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The guys in the hostel took us all down the road to watch the start of holi fest. All the locals were signing and dancing and then they lit a massive bonfire which proceed to collapse and everyone had to run back.. only in Delhi. Oh wait did I forget to mention it was in the middle of the road… the beeping from tuk tuk drivers and taxi’s was unreal.
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Anyway I’m off to bed as the holi fest starts properly tomorrow with all the colour so its gunna be mad. I am already a massive target what with being a foreigner and have had colour and water thrown at me already so who knows what tomorrow will bring! We are getting up super early as the hostel are doing a special breakfast at 6am on the rooftop and then were going to go out and join all the locals on the street but only until about 2 as the locals are allowed to drink tomorrow so by the afternoon they can get quite aggressive when they throw the water and paint (so we have been told anyway) and then we will head back to the hostel to get cleaned up as the hostel are doing a dinner for everyone in the evening.
Sorry its been such a long post I have just had so much to tell you all! I will make the next ones shorter!
Natalie
xxx
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