While I am amazingly grateful and still kind of surprised that everything went perfectly while I hiked to the foot of Everest, my very first day of the trip was a tad bumpy. Craig and I decided to spend two days in New Delhi before heading to Nepal to get our bearings and see a little of India before trekking into mountain country.
After 17 hours of travel, we landed in New Delhi at 12:30 in the morning bleary eyed. I patted myself on the back for being such a responsible traveller and booked a cab at the legitimate taxi service inside the airport. I had almost had my luggage stolen in China by a rogue taxi driver and had learned to trust no one. With a little number in hand, Craig and I headed into the humidity to grab our cab. We found our guy, paid the porter who insisted on carrying our bags three feet and headed into the chaotic city.
Five minutes into our drive and our cabdriver pulled off the road and onto a shady strip of sidewalk. “Tourism Bureau!” he barked. “Go see!” he looked at Craig and nodded, “you too.” Really? The official tourism office of New Delhi is on a shady street and open at 1 am for consultations? Even hallucinating from exhaustion I had my doubts.
Craig, who is blessed with more common sense than I am, inferred that they were trying to get us to leave our bags so they could steal them. Now I know sweaty polar fleece in an array of pastels isn’t exactly life changing, but I wasn’t about to let some scoundrel run off with my Patagonia. So Craig stayed with the luggage as I went in and chatted with some con men who lied about the location of our hotel and tried to force us to stay in the fleabag next door. Luckily, we remembered that we had seen a Radisson Hotel right next to the airport and begged our shady cab driver to take us there.
“Too expensive!” the driver declared and sat behind the wheel. But finally we convinced him with some hard earned rupees to head back towards the airport and to drop us at the Radisson.
Yes, it was $400 a night. And I would have paid $800. It was luxurious, clean, sporting enormous beds and free of swindlers trying to steal my ergonomic backpack. So after Nepal, we went back to the Radisson and they even provided me with my 30th birthday dinner, ordered off the kids menu and eaten in bed.