nearly there. all i have left is to find the christel house driver when i get to Bangalore. thank goodness the 14 hours to Delhi was relatively uneventful, even comfortable 🙂
arrival in DEL was pleasant getting off the plane, the international airport was very nice and nearly deserted. i took the chance to change into my linen pants and use the restroom while they still looked nice (and they were). the stalls were even larger than the ones in O’Hare.
i exchanged my cash for Rupees, stopped at the prepaid taxi stand inside then headed through the doors to find my cab…
as i headed out, i straightened myself, trying to look confident like i knew what i was doing. upon stepping through the doors, i felt the blast of what felt like 1,000 hair dryers pointed directly at me. i don’t think i’ve ever felt this kind of heat before. it was like being followed too closely by a hot charcoal grill.
my cab receipt said #37 taxi and the cashier had said “the black and yellow”, but standing on the curb, i could not determine where i was to wait and/or find my cab. i stood and stared for a minute, receipt in hand, confidence melting slightly, and was approached by a number of men, asking where i was going, to which i held up my receipt and said “domestic terminal” this turned most away (as i’m sure they were looking to make a buck of of the strange and clueless-looking american girl). one security guard (tourist police) finally pointed across the street to numbered signs perched atop metal poles. yay! there’s a start…
i then noticed that the curb at the other side of the street was at least 8 inches tall, and that i had no way of maneuvering my large baggage cart onto it. i stood for another minute. clueless. lost. then looked to my right (origin of all the traffic passing by) and saw the raised sidewalk that served as both speed-bump and pedestrian crossing.
i quickly found #37 and waited. and waited. there were cabs up and down the row but none on 30-38… i waited while at least 4 more men came to ask where i was going, these got the same response as those before. finally a car pulled up to 38, the driver asked where i was going, then went about loading the man at the sign for 38 into his very small cab. he then returned to me and said he would take me, motioning for the car. i hesitated, but obliged as the other man also had a receipt like mine. the driver tossed my large bag atop the car and put my other in the back seat, i sat next to it with my backpack.
my first moderate shock was the lack of seatbelts (as this is my first instinct when entering any car). next was the fact that the car seemed ready to fall to pieces. it was not particularly dirty or smelly, just old, very old and overused.
i was at first wondering if it had fallen into some sort of trick as i saw signs for domestic terminal 2 and did not head toward them, but then my stomach settled as we turned toward terminal 1 a few minutes later (after no sign at all that i was going the right way). as much as i can figure, the driver probably killed two birds with one stone and made a little extra cash taking two fares at once. plus the 2 american dollars i gave him as a tip (i was feeling generous as this equates to 80 rupees, and the whole trip was only 180 rupees).
i found that this smaller terminal was easy to navigate and small enough to see exactly where i needed to be and not worry. i did have to pay $1,000 rupees (little more than $20) for my 10kg excess baggage weight but that’s better than the states…
security was the same confusing issue it always is, but i apparently did not need my computer in a separate bin, and everything went together. i walked through the old metal detector (which of course beeped since the security person handed me back my large stainless steel watch I had put to go through the scanner). apparently the walk through detector is merely a formality because every person is then appraised by a metal detecting wand. men in the open, while women go behind a curtained box with a female security guard. i can think of worse things, i certainly felt as though i got to keep my dignity while being searched.
of course wifi wouldn’t work in the airport, but i made due with getting a mango smoothie, water and sitting for the hour i needed to wait before boarding.
i was now very clearly a foreigner… though i don’t believe i got much genuine attention at all.
pleasantly, the IndiGO flight was brand new and music played while i found my seat. overall, this was a much easier journey than I really expected 🙂