mardi 21 avril 2015

Desvelada En Delhi

I was finally in India and couldn't believe it. Whoa. After being trapped for hours by The Woman in the Puffy Coat, I obviously had to use the restroom. I got off the plane and walked for what felt like a hundred years to find one. You know in the cartoons when a character is on a long journey and while they are walking the seasons change in the background? That was me. Keep in mind that I couldn't walk for shit-- in fact I think my legs felt worse. I finally found a restroom, threw open the door, walked in, and closed it. When I turned around there was... nothing. My first thought was "Where is the toilet?!" but then I remembered I was in India. Duh! I have been in Asia before, so I am not new to squat toilets, but for some reason I just totally forgot they were in India, too. Do you know how hard it is to squat when your legs feel like linguine?!

I was trying to hurry up and clear immigration because my driver was only going to wait for an hour. I had arranged for someone from my hotel to pick me up because I didn't want to take a taxi. Give me a break. Had this been noon, who cares. I am not that adventurous, though. As a solo female traveler there are just some precautions you have to take. It is what it is. We were slightly delayed and I was not about to try to find my way home past midnight. I guess this is where I mention that I was on a tour. I would be joining my group at the hotel and we would set off together the next day. I was not about to do India alone. I figured I'd scope it out and return back by myself if I felt like I could handle it. If you want to know who I took this tour with, contact me. I loved it! Back to the story.

I made my way over to the ATM to get some money out. When I arrive to a new place, I usually pull out about $200 USD to cover transportation or whatever else I may need to get before I settle in. When I asked the machine for $200 USD I nearly fainted. The equivalent in rupees was 17,000!!! Holy fuck. How much is 17,000 rupees? What does that even mean? I felt like a mob boss or something. Did I need to carry a briefcase with all this money? I was not in the mood for math, so I silently cursed the internet for failing me. You see, leading up to my trip I tried to find the value of a dollar against the value of a rupee and all I got was tumbleweeds. How much would I need for this trip? How much does a soda cost? How much should it cost? My questions were met with ERROR 404. So here it is. 100 Indian Rupees equals to about 1 US Dollar. How much do you need? India is mind bogglingly cheap. It is so cheap that you almost feel bad about it (I know I sure did). I'm used to getting fucked by the British Pound, so I almost felt like I was being pranked. I pulled out about 2500 rupees (about $40) but the dumb ass machine only gave me 500 notes. Man, once again what did this mean? How much is a coffee? In my brain, I was walking around with a $50 bill trying to buy a raspado or something. Will anyone give me change for this?! You could be an asshole and say I should have done my research, BUT I DID and it didn't help. Whatever, time to for Richie Rich to get her bag.

I headed over to the baggage carousel and saw all the bags disappear. Mine was nowhere to be found. Of course it wasn't. You've got to be shitting me. At this point, my patience was starting to wear a little thin. I made sure I was at the correct carousel but my bag was not there. I asked an employee who motioned over to some black suitcases and said maybe it was one of those. Uh, no-- my suitcase is bright red and even though I am a four eyes I can clearly see that it is not. I had been at the carousel for about 45 minutes and I was upset because time was running out. I walked over to the baggage counter to file a report for my missing bag. It was a FUCKING ZOO. I waited in line for what felt like an eternity before someone finally gave me a paper to fill out. I literally waited for about 30 minutes to even be acknowledged. It was now about 1 in the morning and my driver was long gone. Obviously, there was no way for me to get home on my own and even if I wanted to take a taxi... would he break this 500 rupee bill? Calm down. I had to deal with my current problem before I got ahead of myself. I talked to an American girl next to me who was also waiting in line for her bag. We commiserated over the ridiculousness of the situation. She had gotten there after me and I even let her borrow my pen to fill out her paper. There was finally an opening and this bitch ran up there before me. I could have killed her with my bare hands!!! I should never trust a woman who wears brown and blue at the same time, but I let my guard down and here I was. Fuck me. She proceeded to be a typical American bitch (do you know where you are?!). The sense of entitlement from these assholes kills me. Do the world a favor and stay home, for real. Anyway, this bitch proceeds to make a scene yelling at the top of her lungs and being totally rude. I was tired, worried about getting home, and sleepy as all hell. This was the last thing I needed. I mean, was this how it was all gonna end? Starring in my very own episode of Locked Up Abroad?

A thousand years later, I was finally being "helped". I put that in quotations because the woman helping me was asking me questions and not listening to my answers. For the millionth time, I came from Paris, not Los Angeles! It wasn't until I was filling out the form that had me itemize everything in my suitcase that I realized how monumental my goof was. I didn't have a change of clothes, a bar of soap, a toothbrush-- NOTHING. Man, I am a fucking idiot. I was pissed because I avoid checking bags like my life depends on it. The one time I do, it is on my dream trip and this happens. I guess I never thought it would happen to me. Where was I going to buy clothes with these 500 bills? MAN. This absentminded lady asked me where I was staying in order to deliver my bags if they found them, so I gave her my paper with my hotel's address. Finally, after another ice age, she handed me my paperwork and told me to proceed to Customs. I was free!!! I asked a random employee if they had a phone I could use and he said yes and pointed to a desk. I didn't realize that the desk was passing customs aka a man in a folding chair who just waved me by. I walked over to the desk where a different guy said the phones were against the wall. Yeah, payphones. With my 500 rupee note. When I reached in my bag to get the address/number of my hotel I realized the lady at the counter kept my paper. Where was the other copy? IN MY SUITCASE. I had meant to get it out at the airport and forgot. Now I had no idea where my hotel even was! This is when I completely lost it. I had heard that India tested the fuck out of your patience and that it would eat you alive. It was now past 2:30 in the morning. I had been at the airport for 3 hours and I was DONE. When the payphone guy asked me if I needed help I felt my eyes get watery. I walked past him and into the restroom where I allowed myself to cry for all of 2 seconds. I wanted to laugh at the absurdity of the situation, but I was scared shitless. How was I going to get out of here?! Man, maybe everyone was right and this really was a huge mistake.

I took a deep breath and noticed that I had taken a screenshot of my hotel's address and number by chance. Okay, now we were getting somewhere. I walked over to payphone guy and asked him if he could dial the number for me. The guy at the hotel didn't understand me so I handed it over to the payphone guy and he helped me. Can you believe that the hotel driver was at the airport that very second picking up some guests?! I could have hugged payphone guy. The driver ran towards me and was like "Where were you?!" and I explained my situation. "Air France?" "Yeah, how'd you know?" "HAPPENS ALL THE TIME."  fuhhhhh. I was in a great mood at this point cause I was so relieved. There was a Bengali family of 3 being picked up. They were from New Jersey and on my tour, too! Woo hoo! We got to the car and realized there was a little pickle. The driver and his assistant or whatever were riding in the front, but the family would be going in the back. The problem was, they had TONS of luggage as they were going to Kolkata after Delhi. Oh hell no! We didn't fit. The younger girl commented that I travel light (I only had a hand bag) and I laughed and told her my shit was lost. I am no super traveler! I put my Tetris skills to use and managed to fit all of the luggage in. I made myself a seat in that suitcase fort and was good to go!!! It was so fucking ludicrous but I was happy as hell. The hotel was a bit of a drive and it was totally dark, so I was glad I didn't take a taxi. 

It was about 3:30 in the morning when I finally arrived at my hotel. When I got there, the guy at reception laughed and asked me if I had gotten lost. Man, they were roasting me! It was all in jest, though. This hotel was so fucking nice, I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. I'm generally not a picky person when it comes to accommodations, but I was all about this.

I finally got to my room and it was a sight for sore eyes. 

I could go on forever about it, but they truly saved my life. There was an awesome amenity kit included, with a toothbrush, paste, and lotion. YES. I showered and changed into the robe/slippers while washing my underwear. At this point, my eyes were Valentino Red and I was falling asleep as I fruitlessly blow dried my socks. This was shaping up to be quite the adventure. I mean, fuck, it was now 4:30... I had only been in India for about 5 hours and all of this had already happened to me. What was the rest of the trip gonna look like?! 

I couldn't figure out how to turn the AC off and I was contemplating just how long it would take me to die a hypothermic death when the phone rang. It was the concierge.

"I forgot to tell you-- wake up call is at 6:30."

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