sarah vs the world

Not a video game, not a comic, not a band, but an amazing adventure continues...

Monday, June 07, 2010

Arrived in Delhi

I have got here. Not without a few minor mishaps along the way. First, I was checking in at the airport and the ticketing agent informed me that there wasn't a ticket for me. Yikes. I was worried that this could possibly be the Organising Committee's (OC) way of telling that they no longer required my services. However, after a quick email lookup, my ticket was actually booked as Ms Grubb Sarahjane. Luckily they let me on the plane since it was technically still spelled correctly. Then there was mishap with my amount of allowed luggage. Apparently I was only allowed 20kg. I had approx 38 kilos! So it was open up the smaller piece of my second luggage and put what I had in there into the larger one. Luckily, Anne-Marie was with me, helping me to remain calm through the bulk of all of this. The guy at the ticket counter let me get away with 1 bag @ 30kgs. Whew. Disaster averted.
Then it was off to wait to board the Singapore Airlines flight to Singapore. When I landed in Singapore, my Air India flight was canceled. So it was off to Kuala Lumpur on Malaysian Airlines and then 6 hours in the airport until I would be off again to Delhi. Luckily you can hire hotel rooms in KL airport by the hour and the hotel was just next to my gate....initially mind you. So I checked in, grabbed some food, had a sleep and shower and headed to the gate. At about 40 minutes to go, I worked out that the gate had actually changed to another terminal. Temporary panic, but eventually I got there. 5 hours on a plane to Delhi. 1 big movie screen with a Bollywood feature. Some average food. Then around 9pm I landed in Delhi. To my amazement, my 1x30kg bag did in fact arrive on the carousel. My driver arrived and we started off to my guest house. The drive there was hilarious. I think the lines are painted on the road just for a mere suggestion.
The guesthouse that we are all staying in is lovely. The hostess of the house, Shalini, greeted me upon arrival and offered me food and a beer. I accepted the beer and just sat for a moment with AG and a few other invited guests. The other boys had already gone to bed by the time I got there. This is the website of our guesthouse:
The owners of the house are descendants of the first Mayor of Delhi, Mr Sham Nath. There are photos of him in the house with the Queen when she visited a long while ago. And there even is an actual signed photo of Gandhi because Mr Sham Nath was actually involved in the revolution with him. The area we live in is called Civil Lines. The name Civil Lines is a relic of British times, when the city of Delhi was organised into separate areas where the British Military and Civilian buildings were located. Areas where civilians lived were demarcated as Civil Lines.
The Outside of the House

My Room:

Where we eat breakfast and dinner

I have been to and from work for a quite a bit now. We go into work each day on the Delhi metro train. The station is very close to our guesthouse. It's actually not nearly as crowded as I would have anticipated, but then again we do leave a bit after 9am to avoid the rush.
Here we are on the train:

Our office is a pretty standard looking office building. Although it kind of resembles the Atari logo. But the other day I did have quite a shock when I came out of the toilets. A monkey jumped down from the ceiling and blocked my way back into the office! Then I looked closer and there was about 3 more monkeys in the hallway. I didn't really know what to do, but luckily a man came along and shewed them along. Whew.
This the rendering of what our building looks like.
(Note the silouette of an armed guard. They are pretty much everywhere here.)

This is what it actually looks like:

The Countdown clock - today it is actually 118! Yikes.

I also have already been on my first tuk tuk ride. These are the motorised rickshaws and they are seriously everywhere. AG and I went out to a shopping mall which was at least 40 min away. It cost $4 each way. Excellent. Hilarious and terrifying all in the same moment.
The Tuk Tuk - but actually called an Auto-rickshaw (apparently Tuk Tuk means prostitute!)

I have also been out to the stadium already. It was an existing stadium that is being renovated for the games. It was very cool to have a look. Here is what it should look like when it is all finished. The stadium is named after the first Prime Minister after Independence - Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

So yesterday was the second Sunday I have been in Delhi. Since it is our only day off, Baldy and I decided to head to the Red Fort or Lal Qil'ah. It was a very educational experience. The fort itself was much bigger than I imagined. We paid 250IRS (or about $5US), but I think the locals paid about 5IRS (which is like 10 cents). Oh well. We must have walked around for about 3 hours or so. The Indian history is very interesting. The fort itself historically was for the Emperors up until the British Raj took over from 1858 - 1947. 1947 marked the official partition between India and the new Pakistan. The British Raj ironically jailed Indians in this fort during their reign. Strange that a palace built for Emperors ends up being a jail for its own people. Surprisingly on the whole Indians are enthralled by white people - you wouldn't think so considering their history with the Anglos. I think I was asked to have my photo taken with people about 10 times, not to count the sneaky photos people were just randomly taking. I am assuming that eventually all of that will wear off, but at the moment it really does feel like being either an alien or a superstar, I am not sure which. I can't decide if they want my photo because they assume I am famous or just because I am different to them.
We also went past a market where we were quite bombarded with the usual buy this, you know you want this kind of demands. I will have to learn how to do a bit of haggling I think. There is a much more posh market in town which I have to be sure to hit at some point I am sure.
Street on the way to the Red Fort

A Passenger Train that pretty much runs through the Fort

Mosque Ruins at the Fort

Power Pole at the Fort - and pretty much typical

A lock on one of the jail cells at the Fort

Pretty much just inside the Fort

The fountain was popular with the locals

More Fort stuff

Market Street

Overall it is going to be a very interesting time here. Will make sure that I get to the Taj, but it will probably not be closer till the end of my contract. I probably could write for ages about what I have seen so far, but I am pretty keen to get this posted. More to come I am sure.
Collection of signage photos

Lots of love,


Blogger Unknown said...

ahh Indian roads - they have a law unto themselves! I think my most crazy moment was reversing up a highway in a auto-risksaw at night. Oh and I warn you not to sit behind the driver in a bus - you are likely to go deaf from the constant horn blowing!


5:15 am  
Blogger Bill Rain said...

Sarah- Looks like a great trip. Sorry will missed you in Florida but had a great spring ski trip in Tahoe. Great picture of you and Grandma. We are going to try and get to see her this summer on our Ohio trip. Have fun, you are only yong once.... Bill

8:53 am  

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