Pushing a taxi

We arrived here in Delhi at about 9:30 last night after a 14.5 hour flight from Newark. The flight was long – really, really long - but uneventful. The airport is under construction so not the best welcome. Getting processed through immigration was surprisingly efficient. My bag came right away, but we had to wait for Becky’s for a while.

We looked for an ATM upon arrival, but found none. There was a station that resembled an ATM, but it turned out to be a suggestion box – labeled “Touch and Opine”. We did neither. We decided to change some money to have enough cash to get us to the Guest House. We each changed 60 dollars and received 2400 rupees.

After exiting the arrivals hall, we looked for the prepaid taxi stand. We were told to insist on using the one run by the police. Sure enough there was a counter labeled “Police Prepaid Taxi”. There were two guys sitting on the floor eating behind the desk. They popped up as we approached the counter. We told them where we were going – Chanakyapuri near the Chanakya Cinema” and we were issued a ticket for 248 rupees – about $6.30.

As we exited the airport it was CRAZY with cars and people everywhere. We had the number of the taxi to look for and there was a guy in an orange vest that helped us find the right car. We loaded up and were on our way. It was about 11:00 p.m. by this time but traffic was still very heavy. The overwhelming smells seem to be diesel and smoke.

After about a half hour drive we pulled up near the Cinema but since that was only an approximate address there was no guest house in sight. I had an old email with a more specific address on it and our driver left us in the car and went in search of directions. When he returned the taxi would not start! He started pushing the car to try and pop the clutch but with both Becky and I and our luggage aboard there was no way that was going to happen. So we both got out to help him push. What a sight. He finally got help from a passerby and could gain enough speed to get it started.

Evelyn had sent us some more specific instructions about finding the North East Council Guest House from the State Guest House (which our driver found) so we eventually got to the correct place.

There were 4 or 5 guys at the NEC Guest House with registration papers with our names attached to them. They handed Becky hers along with a key and then mine disappeared. None of the guys spoke English and did not seem to understand when we inquired about the other paper and key. Finally a guy came out that spoke a little English and one of they guys went and retrieved the other paper. Still no key. After lots of pantomime the guy with the security uniform on pulled my key out of his pocket!

We made it to our rooms finally at about 12:30. Becky pulled out two little bottles of Cabernet - yea for her! We lost a full day in getting here, but we are here.

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