Arrived in Delhi Last Night: Well Scared
I’ve been to quite a few countries by myself now but I’ve never been anywhere that is as negatively talked about as India. This trip has been planned for a long time and if ever I’ve asked anyone their thoughts, they usually give me something like ‘Oh it’s as amazing as it is disgusting”, “It will be an experience,” or something along those lines. My thoughts and apprehensions on arrival in Delhi were not positively helped by the fact that about a week ago I read the whole gruesome story of the girl on the bus who was raped by all those men on the way home for ‘being a whore’ for being out at 8:30pm with a boy friend.
On the plane to Delhi from Bali I dropped my phone and broke it. As in it wouldn’t turn on or anything. My hotel address was on there, my clock, my currency converter, my Google Maps, all the things that would’ve helped me to feel safer on my own in Delhi for my first night. As I went through visa control the man was looking me up and down in a disgusting and disturbing way. I’d been travelling for the past 15 hours on three flights and it was 3am my time. As the horrible visa man gestured for me to pass through I felt so vulnerable and scared. It was now 10:30pm, I didn’t know the exact address where I was going and the Wi-Fi wouldn’t load in the airport to find it on my laptop.
I stood at the carousel for 30 minutes waiting desperately for my bag so I could get out of there, before realising I was at the wrong one and my bag had been slowly spinning on the one behind me the whole time. Then my bank card didn’t work, again (never travel with Natwest). And there was no tourist information centre past the immigration at Delhi Airport. Then I was pretty much mobbed as I exited the airport by taxi men. I was definitely not feeling strong.
I made sure the taxi man knew where I was going with the name of the hotel and he quoted me 500 rupees. I was trying to remember the conversion rate and knew it was too much but he insisted. In the end I got him down to 300. I’ll admit I was scared at this point. I didn’t want to get in a taxi with him by myself but there was absolutely no other option. I cursed myself a million times for putting myself in this situation. I had friends in the south of India – why didn’t I just go and see them, or wait for my friends who were coming in a week and see India with them. I just had to do more didn’t I?
I got in. Then another man got in the taxi and we drove off. That’s when I fell apart. They were definitely going to take me somewhere and kill me. It soon became apparent they had no idea where the hotel was and had just wanted to get my money. I relaxed a little when he reassured me we’d find it and was asking about football, but 20 minutes later he was getting pissed off and so was I. I knew the hotel was only 10 minutes from the airport but I didn’t know which direction. Then we started going down all these back streets in what looked like scary neighbourhoods. There was nothing I could do. I fell apart and started crying, and cursing myself again. There were horrible hotels all around and scary men huddled in corners, and now my two taxi drivers were shouting at each other and arguing. I kept my arm out the window so I could release the door from the outside and jump if I needed.
Taxi driver number two got out to ask someone, twice, and twice he came back and said if we didn’t have the address then how was he meant to find it? I was pissed off and asked him why he told me he knew if he didn’t. We weren’t getting anywhere. He then decided to act like a grumpy teenager and replied with ‘fine, you find it’. So I shouted a man over from the Best Western Hotel and I think he could tell I was scared. He went back in the hotel and Googled it for me. We were at my hotel in less than 3 minutes later. I love that man. If ever you’re in Delhi stay at the Best Western Taurus Hotel, not the skanky Airport Tower which is where I ended up.
It had taken over an hour to find the hotel. I gave the taxi driver the 300 rupees and could tell he wanted a tip but I hated him and there was no chance he was getting more out of me.
All my beliefs about India, as much as I don’t want to be negative, alongside the things that went wrong and that I didn’t have the security of my phone just made me fall apart a bit. If I hadn’t have broken my phone I could’ve just looked it up. Never trust a taxi driver to know where they’re going.
I think a good sleep and I’ll be back to my strong and confident self. I hope.