I travelled by train, on Megabus and on the London Underground with plenty of walking in-between to get to Heathrow Airport.
At Heathrow I was met by Robert and Michael (Robert’s father). After big hugs had been exchanged, we boarded a British Airways (BA) flight to Delhi, India. Robert and I sat together, with Michael close by.
The BA flight was superb. Excellent service staff, that served us with a smile and timed everything on the flight perfectly. We had free food, drinks and of course alcohol. The onboard entertainment service had the latest blockbuster films and even some games that Robert and I played together. The nine hour flight felt like it flew by.
Here are some photos from plane:
We arrived at Delhi Airport which I would soon discover was so cool because of the glorious air conditioning. Robert, Michael and I had a moment of panic after a family had accidentally picked up Michael’s hand luggage and walked off the plane with it. But after a quick paced jog, the family were found and the hand luggage was safely returned. No harm done.
Then we stopped a foggy smoking room (it had no windows) so that I could feed my nicotine-addicted brain receptors and then glided through immigration, security and baggage collection without incident.
While waiting at the baggage collection, Robert took the opportunity to transform himself from Weary Traveller to Handsome Groom-to-be. It was an impressive feat and one that I understood as he hadn’t seen his fiancée Neha in quite sometime.
Stepping outside at Arrivals at Delhi Airport was like stepping into an oven on its highest setting. There were a sea of people and with lots of noise, presumably waiting to greet other travellers. Then we saw Neha – she was everything I expected and more. Gorgeous, intelligent and simply wonderful. Neha and her family helped Robert, Michael and I with our suitcases and bags into the car and then we set off away from the airport and into the city beyond.
My first impressions of Delhi were made in the first day or two. Delhi is a progressive city that’s under constant development. Everywhere you look infrastructure is being improved and new buildings (homes, businesses and hotels) are being built.
Driving in Delhi at first appears to be a free for all, complete with frequent sudden breaking and incessant use of horns. But the more time you send on the road, the more you realise that there’s lots of unwritten rules. That said, every car in Delhi has a body that’s covered in scratches and dents.
During the day, cows were often seen grazing at the side of the road. They were apparently owned.
At night, many dogs were seen on the streets of Delhi. These street dogs aren’t owned by anyone and have to scavenge for survival. Throughout my time in Delhi I only saw one dog on a lead that was being kept as a pet.
Delhi appeared to be a Patriarchal society. However, I was reliably informed that this is changing. More women are working, getting protection so that if they get pregnant employers can’t sack them and some are even getting maternity pay. This was good to hear and gave me the impression that Delhi is a progressively liberal city; one that’s getting more liberal as time goes by. Delhi appeared to be working towards gender equality, with other types of equality are likely to follow on from this.
The Guest House
The guest house was clean an gave Robert, Michael and I ampul space. Each of our room’s were ensuite and had air conditioning. The Wifi left a lot to be desired – but this didn’t bother me, as it turned out there would be very little time to check Facebook anyway.
Indians that call the Bathroom the Washroom. Delhi has low water pressure, so to shower you fill a big bucket (see Washroom photos below) with water and then use a smaller jug to pour water over your body as required. In my bathroom there were plugs and wiring above the toilet. I felt slightly uncomfortable with this, I growing up I had been taught that electricity and water don’t mix. But apparently there’s no health and safety in India – so I just rolled with it.
I had cold showers for three days before I realised that there was a water heater outside, wired to a plug above the toilet and that there was a separate switch in the bathroom to turn the plug socket on. The Guest House staff only spoke Hindi so I had to discover these things for myself. Here are some photos from the Guest House:
The family included Neha’s parents, Neha’s two sisters, Neha’s two brother-in-law’s and their children. They were all such lovely people. They were kind and generous and looked after Robert, Michael and I really well. We were all treated like part of the family. It was especially kind of them to treat me in this way as I was an extra who was just Robert’s friend – owe there’s my inferiority complex kicking in there. Each of the family members have left a special place in my heart. Thank you doesn’t seem like a good enough phrase to express my gratitude.
I have deliberately excluded photos of the family here, as I don’t post photos of people without permission. It was such a busy week that I did get the opportunity to ask them for their permission.
I particularly loved the family meals at the home of Neha’s parents. They were easily the best indian food I’d ever tasted – but more on that in another blog post.
On the night before Robert and Neha’s wedding, to celebrate a birthday of one of the brother-in-law’s the men in the family went to this fantastic five star hotel bar for drinks. I had a Cosmopolitan, which was buy one get one free. Just look at how fantastic the bar in this five star hotel was:
In the next blog post in the series titled My India Adventure (Part 2) – The Wedding, I will be writing all about Robert and Neha’s Wedding. It will be coming soon, so come back for that update.