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Saturday 1 Nov 2008
Delhi, India

Last stop... India!

We arrived in Delhi a little anxious about the two weeks ahead of us. We had decided to do a tour of Rajasthan with a driver from a company we found on the internet and sure enough Maneesh was waiting for us with a sign saying Mr Sioned Betts... we were soon going to find out that India is VERY male orientated and that the thought of a woman organising a trip is absurd! Maneesh threw flowers around our necks and drove us to our hotel; he had a fat-man wheeze and I was dreading the next two weeks with him as the polite conversation ended soon after we pulled away from the airport.

Everyone we had spoken to about India had warned us about three things; the heat, the noise and the smell. Our first impressions were that it was a little chilly (it was 10pm), it was quite quiet on the roads and it didn't really smell of anything. I think having spent a month in Vietnam, India is far less shocking than it probably should be! Our first night was spent in a huge room, organised by our tour operator. We were quite excited about the two weeks to come as we fell asleep for the first time in our last country of the trip. 

The next morning we were picked up by Rabi, who we discovered was in fact our real driver, the wheezer had just been our airport pick-up, phew! Rabi was young, smart and spoke much more than Maneesh - we were instantly reassured. We were taken to 'the boss' at his home and worked out our tour over some Chai (Indian tea which we grew to adore).

After the planning we were taken by Rabi around Delhi for a sightseeing day. First stop was to take a picture of a huge temple that we could hardly see because of the smog, the pollution really was like nowhere else we'd seen. Next stop was a walk around the grounds of Humayun's Tomb. We got chatting to a very friendly old man who wanted to tell us all about the building; he said he didn't want money but wouldn't say no to a tip, we apologised as we had no change but he wanted to give us a mini history lesson anyway! We learnt that it was a fine example of Mughal architecture and that it was the ‘tester' building before the Taj Mahal was built; this is very noticeable in its design. At one of the buildings inside the grounds we were approached by a man who asked us if we wouldn't mind having our photo taken with his family. Two beautiful ladies in colourful sari's came shyly up to us and said "Namaste" (hello), we were told to smile and then thanked for our cooperation... it felt very odd, they only wanted our photo because we looked different but it was nice to feel famous for a little bit!

After an expensive lunch (something we learnt, if the room's full of westerners the food will be bland and the prices high!) we went to the Lotus Temple which is a multi-faith house of worship. It looked like a misshapen version of the Sydney Opera House. At sunset we went to India Gate to have a nose around. After that we were dropped back at our hotel by Rabi, his parting words for the evening were, "I'll pick you up at 8:30am and be careful around here tonight, it's where all the bombs have been going off"... we stayed in for dinner that night.

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Phil & Sion

Phil & Sion

Our round the world adventure (12 countries in 308 days) is taking us through California, the Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and India! Follow us both on our journey with this blog site!

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