Arrival Into Paradise
On exiting the airport for my Motorbike Tour of Rajasthan the noise was unbelievable with the beeping of car horns and people shouting offering ‘taxi sir, taxi sir”.
I hit the Delhi air quality at midnight and instantly couldn’t breathe. The air quality was so bad it was like trying to breathe through a mattress with the air being forced in coming from a million hair driers – on full blast. I found myself having to think about breathing along with finding the chap who was going to take me to my hotel…..
I walked up and down this line of cards with names on looking for my name, for what felt like 3 days. I eventually found mine, nodded at the chap and off we went – who said it was a race!!!!!. The chap wasn’t any bigger than 5ft and around 6 stone wet through, who took my lid (that was the lightest item to carry thank you very much!), and shot off towards his car like a scalded rat with me in pursuit gasping for air, in heat and humidity never experienced before.
My taxi driver didn’t speak any English and I didn’t speak any Indian so the 30-minute journey to my hotel was, shall we say, very quiet. Except for my introduction to Indian traffic, at midnight. I had never seen anything like it in my life. Yes, the traffic in Britain was at times interesting with traffic jams and road rage but this took traffic to another level as it was absolutely bonkers. Every car I could see and no doubt ones I could not see pressed their horn – constantly – BEEP BEEP BEEP, get out of my way they BEEPED. What the hell had I arrived at and was this how I was going to die. I just started to laugh, what else was there to do. First a little chuckle, probably out of being nervous more than anything else, which grew to more of a laugh which is an international sign for ‘THIS IS MAD’, or at least it was the way I laughed. My taxi driver looked at me as I looked at him across the cultural divide and he must have understood because he started to laugh too.
Now, at this point, let me state, I was expecting to be taken to a tent, or hut, with no running water and a toilet consisting of 2 feet shaped markings on the floor with scaffolding to hold onto to prevent falling into a ‘poo’ pit. On exiting my taxi I got instant gravel rash on my chin from my mouth falling that far open with surprise. Arrival towards the door, the door staff, dressed in glorious splendid clothes of many colours looking very ‘military’, bowed their heads with their hands clasped together in front of their face saying “Namaste”. Nam es what, I thought (this is a respectful greeting or hello I was to learn). It made me feel very special I must say. I thought they only did that in films and yet here they were greeting me this way (I do confess I thought they where taking the….you know what!)
The entrance door was opened for me (I was starting to feel like royalty).
I had just entered paradise, absolute paradise – had I been transported by time machine to another country, where were the old tents and footprints in the sand?.
Directly in front of me, the floor was an ocean of gorgeous brown marble, with striking pillars of brown marble reaching for the moon and a reception desk of pure marble dotted with what looked like stars from the night sky. The reception staff, immaculately dressed, greeted me with bright white marble type smiles, against their gorgeous brown skin with my booking in forms ready for my signature. I thought to myself I could put up with this for a very long time as I was blown away by everything I was now surrounded by, sheer luxury.
I filled in my arrival forms and handed my passport for photocopying, my luggage had gone through the security scan and had been brought in to be sitting next to the lift, on my right, ready for my departure to the floors above. My dream was interrupted by “Room 28 sir and please, there is the lift, enjoy your stay”. Off I went, with my rucksack carrier, “this way sir” to the 2nd floor and directed into my room, which would put anything in Britain to shame…..it was out of this world, and not a tent, or feet shaped markings in sight. I was shamed though because I had no Indian currency to tip my porter and did my best to say I was sorry.
My room was incredible…..offering a huge bed, large ‘glass’ walled bathroom (if anyone was with me they would be able to see my ‘bits’ in the shower or sitting on the toilet which was a bit strange), deep piled carpet and bottled water. Excellent, as I had been told to drink nothing that wasn’t in a sealed in a bottle ‘do not drink the water’ and while on the subject to eat nothing they called a chicken!
It was after midnight now so undress, shower, and beddy byes – off to the land of dreams, although I was beginning to think I had already arrived there zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.