Casper at Schiphol
I left my home at 5.15 am and started walking to the train station. It was a 15 minute walk and although the sound of my suitcase was probably waking people up, I only saw one other person who was smoking a cigarette in his doorway. At the train station I saw the rest of the group I would be travelling with for the next two weeks. The rest consisted of 22 students from my study: Science and Innovation Management at Utrecht University, 6 students who had organised the trip (of which 4 had already travelled to Delhi a week ago to prepare our arrival) and we would be joined in delhi by one of our teachers and another professor would arrive for the second week.
We arrived at Schiphol airport after a one-hour trip and recieved our programme for the study tour.
Our arrival at the airport
I saw on the programme that our excursion to the delhi metro company would go on and I was pleased because I had studied that company for our preparation and I was already impressed by what i had found about the delhi metro on the internet. After we had checked in we waited over a cup of coffee for our flight to Frankfurt, Germany. In the plane i was sitting next to Tim, who was one of the people who I did not yet know when I went on this trip. He was a fan of Ajax, while I was a fan of PSV (who was still 2 points ahead of ajax with only 2 more matches in the competition at this time). The flight was very brief and before we realised it, we had already landed in Frankfurt.
We checked in again and waited for a few ours for our flight to Delhi. I had put my poker chips in my suitcase, which was now travelling somewhere around the airport on his own, but I still enjoyed myself with other card games with my friends Edo and Casper, who would be sharing my room in India.
Thijs and Erik in the bus
In the plane I found out that I had a window seat, next to edo, so I was very pleased with that. I spent most of the 8-hour flight looking out of the window or reading about Indian culture in my tourist guide. They also showed a movie about horses and a bollywood movie about two people who were getting maried, which were a little bit disappointing compared to the movies they were showing on other flights. This probably was because of the Indian dis-like of violent movies. During the flight I also had my first Indian (vegetarian) meal, which was rather nice, and my first Indian Kingfisher beer. At night we were flying over Afghanistan and as I looked out of the window, I could see the lights of small towns below us and the stars above us.
When we appraoched Delhi, the towns became bigger and bigger until we were flying over a connection of urbanised regions and finally arrived at the metropolitan area of Delhi.
The pilot turned off the lights inside the plane, so everybody could see the city. As the plane circelled around Delhi and slowly lost altitude I saw one of the most beautifull scenes I have ever seen. A city filled with lights which was extending over the horizon in every direction you looked. I saw the river Yamuna and the highways and eventually could even see the cars driving around in the streets below us. The plane landed and after a few exciting minutes at the luggage belt, everybody had found his bags and we were ready to meet the rest. We walked to the hall, where Thijs and Erik were waiting for us.
Everybody was very glad to be in India and we followed Thijs and Erik to our bus, where I lost my first 2 euros on a job which wasn't even worth 2 cents, as I gave it to a friendly man who picked up my suitcase and lifted it into the bus.
the hotel bar
At first I thought these men were with our buscrew, but I soon found out that they were just waiting outside the airport and offered their help to people who were willing to pay 2 euros for lifting a bag. They made a lot of money that night, as none of us had anything smaller then 100 rupis to give them. Inside the bus we met our guide for the rest of the week, Mr. Singh and our driver, who was a sikh.
The bus trip from the airport to our hotel in Karol Bagh was 45 minutes. During this trip we got our first glimpse of this strange new land we had landed in. Almost everything that could walk or ride participated in the traffic on this expressway, including bycicles, pedestrians and trucks with people sleeping or sitting on them waving at us enthusiastically.
hotel bar in Delhi
I also saw some slums along the road. When we arrived in Karol Bagh, the streets were almost deserted. The streets were made of dirt in this neighbourhood and everywere you looked there were electrical wires running along the buildings, which looked as if new wires had been hooked onto the old ones for years without any organisation or thought behind it. We walked to our hotel were we got a welcoming drink and we were assigned to our rooms. Edo, Casper and I shared a room on the fourth floor, the same floor as where the 'bar' was located. After unpacking some of our stuff, everybody gathered at the bar to have a drink and talk with the people who had arrived before us. We went to bed around three o clock local time, which would have been eleven-thirty in our country.