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New Delhi Travel Blog

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Dear All,

 

My first official blog entry ever… a historical moment!

Also the first leg of my India trip is coming to an end, since we are leaving Delhi today for Gaya, a nice (12 hr) cross-country train trip. An excellent moment to bringing all of you curious readers up to speed with my travels to, in and around Delhi. It might be necessary to make an apology to the Dutch readers that this blog will be written in English, its just that the non-Dutch crowd can now enjoy my adventures as well (or so I’m imagining). I’m sure all of you will cope though!

 

The flight was long, but quite ok and took me through three different climates in 12 hours, deprived me of any form of sleep and found me a soul mate in the form of a Russian customs official.

The flight to Moscow was fairly straightforward, though a bit late, which made me somewhat nervous about missing the next plain. Waiting for the Russian passport and ticket check, a large group came in behind me headed by a very bossy Russian lady in a big fur coat, who was barking directions at her faithful followers. After that she pushed everyone else in the line aside and went through the gate, standing next to the customs lady.

When it was my turn, she sternly said something to me in Russian, which I understood to mean: 'you have to wait…'

Having no intention to wait at all and every intention to catch my onward plane I played the ‘sorry, I’m a tourist’  card and said in my friendliest English: I’m sorry I do not speak Russian. She then (darn) switched to heavily accented English and said: I hav a big group here, you do not go, you will wait… Before I could snappily answer her back, the customs lady interfered.

There is this specific type of Russian women I have encountered all over the former Sovjet countries I have visited. The are firm, bold, set on ethics and set on bending the official rules so that real ethics do prevail. They thoroughly enjoy seeing a fellow femail doing adventures things by herself and will try to help you out in every little way they can, like giving you the best seat on the train or ‘forgetting’  to let you pay for stuff. They always have this sort of you-go-girl smile on their face, and usually work in official places. The customs lady was one of this breed.

Before I could say a word she turned her back on Pushy Lady and said ‘ absolutely not’ in forceful Russian. She checked my passport and ticket, gave me detailed information on where to go (pissing Pushy Lady off even more) and sent me on my way. We exchanged an understanding smile and although she did not say anything else, I could hear her think 'you go girl'!

I ran to the gate, where (as if I could not have expected this) there was a long line, with no intention of moving. The plane was late.

Was it under ten degrees in The Netherlands, in Moscow it was minus 5 with heavy snowfall. The plain could not even take of without being doused in chemicals that turned ten centimetres of snow into instant sludge. After Pushy Lady passed me in the isle with her nose stuck up high in the air, we were of to India.

In Delhi it was 20 degrees.

Thankfully Shrimoyee was there to pick me up from the airport and after a first glimpse of nightly Delhi, I arrived in at cosy home in Siddarth Extension where there was some food and a warm bed, and all was well.

 

More about my first days in Delhi later, as I have to go home and pack for the train trip…

Take care,

 

Saskia

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photo by: peeyushmalhotra