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Thursday 31 Mar 2011
Kochi, India

Time to head to Udaipur... er I mean Delhi

Thinking I had plenty of time to go out souvenir-shopping before my 12.55pm flight, I spent the morning hunting bargains in the shops on Princess Street. I got some really nice items (including a tapestry depicting an elephant) at some very good prices because I was "the first customer of the day". In India if you are the first (or last) customer of the day it is considered bad luck among traders if you leave without buying something. I sneakily took advantage of this by getting some pretty crazy prices ... even if the shop keepers made a loss at least they were happy to get a sale Wink

Amidst all this shopping, I misjudged the time required to get to the airport partly because Mr Walton had said I could relax and I implicitly trusted him to be an excellent timekeeper. It was really my fault for being laxadasical about how long I thought I would need to get from Fort Kochi to the airport in a taxi (about 1 - 1.5 hours). The night before I had it in my head to leave the hotel at 10.30 but, on Walton's advice I decided it would be ok to leave at 11.30.

As a result, despite some crazy taxi driving we arrived at 12.30 and I couldn't check in for the flight to Mumbai. Due to the nature of my tight itinerary it also meant I was going to miss out on my Mumbai - Udaipur leg. The only alternative was to spend another 150 euro (about 9,000 Rs) getting from Kochi - Delhi - Udaipur, but that wouldn't arrive until 2am into Udaipur and then I'd have only one day in the place.

So, pissed off at myself, I decided that I should cancel my 2 connecting flights, and try to get a refund (if even possible). I would have to skip Udaipur (and thus miss out on my Rajastan leg) and go direct to Delhi.

I managed to get a refund for about 70% of the cost of the flight to Udaipur and then Delhi, which amounted to around 85 euro. Then, as luck would have it, I got a last minute flight to Delhi for ... wouldn't you know ... 85 euro. Phew!

Still, exceedingly disappointed as it was so avoidable and I should have stuck with my gut feeling. I had predicted Udaipur would have been one of my top five destinations. Until next time...

On the plus side, though, it did mean that I would have a more relaxed time to take in Delhi.

Had a bit of a panic trying to sort out a last minute hotel (Internet access in Kochi airport is a bit cumbersome), but I eventually settled on a place in the more upmarket area of Karol Bagh in New Delhi. I decided to steer clear of Paraganj and Old Delhi this time. I found the hotel through TripAdvisor (always a good idea for last minute reservations I find, although you can be guaranteed that the hotels recommended by TripAdvisor tend to be full of Americans). Called them up and arranged a pick-up from the airport for around 10 euro.

During flight kids behind me were kicking the chair while their doting parents did nothing to stop them. I had to bring it to their attention. Ah "little Maharajas"...

New Delhi seemed just as dusty as Old Delhi, albeit with slightly larger avenues. The hotels in Karol Bagh (my upmarket area) are also similar in style to those in Paraganj, being rather narrow but tall and deep, with decrepit looking shops on either side. No grand hotel driveways in Delhi, unless you stay at the ridiculously expensive places.

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