A night in Delhi
As the plane landed, it was still light out. Along the runway, we saw many one-story buildings and trucks with people standing on top watching the plane land. I say this because most airports in the US will not allow people so close for fear of someone shooting a plane down.
Upon landing, we exchanged money and got a taxi from the taxi stand. When possible, you do not get a taxi on the street - they will rip you off. The stand gives you a reasonable fee (300 Rs for about a half-hour ride for us - approx. $6).
As soon as we left the airport, the smog hit us. This haziness is the norm in Delhi. Unlike the dust of Rajasthan, this stuff is clearly exhaust, and everything has a tinge of black on it once you leave a building. Most motorcylce drivers go around with bandanas covering their faces so they don’t breath too much of it in, but I don’t know how effective it is. While I’ve heard descriptions of the smog as having a bad smell, to me it seems like a sweet smell—I can’t decide if I like the odor, but I know for sure that my nose and throat do not appreciate the particles:).
Upon finding our taxi, we were mobbed by three people to help us with luggage (we didn’t need help, but didn’t have a choice). They asked for money afterward, but we were too overwhelmed and hid in the taxi. On leaving the airport, our driver picked up a policeman and dropped him off free of charge 5 minutes down the road.
In The first 10 or so minutes driving throught he night (by this point), everything near the airport was under construction. The ride was RIDICULOUS, but I will save all driving-related comments for a long entry on the topic.
Upon getting to the hotel in Connaught Place (a large circle at the “center” of New Delhi), we agian gave up our backpacks to a porter (not by choice) who carried it to the rooms. Each room has a circuit breaker right outside of it that you turn on before entering to have power in your room. There are ten more switches in the room than electrical devices, so you typically press all of them a couple of times to find some light. While the switches look different, the main difference is operational - push down for power, and push up to turn the power off. Our bathroom had a western toilet and toilet paper - not always true or expected in hotels. Toilets in india are often a hole in the ground with a faucet and cup near it - when you are done with the toilet, you use the cup with water to clean yourself. There was also a bucket and cup for bathing - we used the shower head for showering, but again, this should not be expected.
We then ventured into Connaught Place for dinner, which is an experience deserving its own entry.