Where other people are scared of actually arriving in the place they are going, I’m always more concerned about flying. I hate flying. So much so that I’ll pay over the odds for a good airline. We flew out with Emirates, which I chose partly because the new Airline over the Thames in London is so fabulous. There were ‘stars’ in the ceiling of our plane, the food was excellent, the film selection fantastic (I finally watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a good choice for preparatory purposes).
Getting a taxi from the airport in Delhi was a tad scary, as it was dark and we were tired – but I chose a man who understood my body language and we paid 600 Rupees on a meter to get to the Radisson Blu, which had wonderful beds but was far from where we wanted to be, as well as more expensive.
We travelled to Hauz Khas this morning, the trendy part of town, in a posh taxi, feeling bad about squashing four mosquitos against the window. And now we are in a lovely homestay.
The Indian Government are supporting homestays as an alternative to hotels because the standard of hotels and availability is lower than they would like. Ours is wonderful, with pretty bedspreads, rugs and paintings, and the host is lovely, so I’d highly recommend a homestay over staying somewhere like the Radisson.
So far, the Delhi cows in the street are the most different thing about the place – this morning one was standing in a space between two cars, as if it had parked itself there.
People pee by the side of the road, but then they do that by motorways in Germany too. Some of the vehicles are wonderfully painted and it’s lovely to see auto rickshaws (tuk tuks) after six years of only travelling as far as France and Italy.
Don’t stay at the Radisson Blu or any other hotel chain on the outskirts of the city if you can avoid it. If you want to stay somewhere comfortable in that price range, in a place you’ll want to be, try The Rose New Delhi in Hauz Khas Village. Do go to the taxi stand and order on there rather than letting the mob bundle you into a battered old thing like ours, even though it is true that if you are a good judge of character, you will often spot the good man among the not so good.
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