.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Delhi: first impressions

My plane arrived at Indira Gandhi International Airport perhaps a little ahead of time. I had rested but not slept on the plane. The tiredness had gone and hopefully was not colouring my first impressions of India.

The airport is big, modern and clean. The queues for immigration were not too long and the process was quick. I did already have a visa so I trust there was not so much that needed to be checked. When I got inside the terminal there was about a half-hour delay to collect luggage from my flight. Perhaps this is normal. I'm not sure. There was no shortage of luggage carousels and appeared to be no shortage of staff but someone explained that luggage from my flight was 'on hold'. When it finally started to come along the carousel they even had a man stationed just after the bend on the end whose only job seemed to be to straighten anything that did not come around the corner too well. But someone else was chatting to him so he missed half of them. Before long my backpack arrived and it took me almost no time to pass through the customs check.

My friend, Nazia, was waiting for me and led me outside where we were immediately surrounded by thousands of flying insects. Is this India I thought. But as we moved away from the lights the numbers reduced. I asked if this was normal in India and Nazia explained that the insects were attracted to something that was burned in the Divali celebrations.

Nazia had come in a taxi cab and the driver was waiting for our return journey to Noida where I had booked a room. The driver drove fast and furiously with the horn blaring regularly. The object seemed to be to keep the cab moving forwards no matter what. And everyone else seemed to have much the same object for their vehicles. Trucks—there are so many of them, delivery drivers must be in plentiful supply—bear signs on the back inviting other drivers to 'horn please' or occasionally the same message with a more creative spelling. And other drivers appear to be pleased to oblige. It makes no difference to the truck. The driver invariably holds his position while other drivers pass on the near side, the far side or anywhere else there appears to be a space.

When I first encountered Bangkok traffic I thought it was anarchistic. I've become used to it over the years. In Hanoi I discovered traffic that was just so incredibly busy and beepingly noisy. Traffic in Delhi is all of the above and more. Did I mention that someone told me, 'Nothing prepares you for India'? As far as traffic goes perhaps they were right.

Eventually we reached the guesthouse where my room was booked and it wasn't long before I was in a comfortable bed and sound asleep.

Footnote: If this blog appears to be out of chronological order, this one should explain.

Labels: , ,

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?