On The Way To Delhi

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This blog entry about the events of Monday, October 25, 2004 was originally posted on October 26, 2004.

DAY 373:  All my bags were packed, I was ready to go…  ‘Cuz I was leaving on a jet plane, didn’t know when I’d be back in Kathmandu again…

My flight wasn’t until five in the afternoon though, which gave me most of the day to run last minute errands in Kathmandu, get some food and try and call one of the lodges in Delhi, India recommended in my Let’s Go book with a thumb’s up icon.  I figured I’d better secure one of the recommended places before arrival in India so I wouldn’t be persuaded by all the touts to other places where I might not meet like-minded people; the advantage to going to a place recommended by a guidebook was getting to meet other solo travelers so that I might have a new character for the beginning of the Blog’s chapter on India.

However, every call center I went to got nothing but a busy signal or non-answer for every number I tried to call in India.

Tilak came to the hotel to escort me to the airport around two and we got a cab to take us there.  Only ticketed passengers were allowed in the building, which meant my goodbyes with Tilak could only be brief.

“I have something for you,” he said out on the curb near Departures.  He pulled out this silk scarf thing called a kata, which he told me was what Nepalis gave to each other in a farewell.  He put it around my neck.

“I have something for you,” I retorted.  Despite The Incident on The Everest Trail, I gave him an envelope with my tip inside.  “I put the story on the internet,” I told him.  “When my mom read the story, she told me to give you this.”  I gave him another envelope with the secret amount of 7500 rupees inside (about $100 USD, over twice the amount a Sherpa porter made in a month), which my mother wanted to give him for his trouble.  (She would reimburse me later.)

I went off to the first of many body frisks while Tilak went to the curb to hitch a cab.  I don’t know if he opened the envelope just yet, but I’m sure he would have been pleasantly surprised.


THE AIRPORT WAS THE SAME OLD SITUATION, and by that I mean being approached by every Nepali security officer in the Nepali language who wanted to start casual conversation with me under their presumption that I too was Nepali. 

“Uh, I, I don’t understand,” I’d always say.

“You are not Nepali?” they’d always reply, completely shocked. 

“I’m from the States, but Filipino,” I’d say to make things simple.

“Filipino, Nepali, same thing.”

However, my Nepali-looking ways didn’t stop security from confiscating my keychain link chain from me at the big security check near the boarding gates. 


“EXCUSE ME, WHAT COUNTRY ARE YOU FROM?” asked one of the passengers checking into my flight.

“The States.”

“Oh, we were wondering if you were from Brazil because you look Brazilian,” said one of the two Brazilian guys.

Here we go again, I thought.


THE FLIGHT TO DELHI on Royal Nepal Airlines was fairly routine.  The hour and twenty minute flight departed at sunset (picture above) and was long enough to require an in-flight meal but too short for a movie.  When the flight attendants went around with the arrivals forms for foreigners, I saw one stare right at me and deduce that I was probably Indian and so, she skipped me.  I had to go ask for the form in person with my American accent.

Kick ass.  Perhaps I’ll blend in India too.  This was a good thing because there were so many travelers’ tales I had heard about India, how it’s probably the “hardest level” if you had to rate the level of difficulty in the standard backpacker countries with its culture-shocking poverty and arguably the toughest touts and con-artists in the world. 

Landing proceedings were a breeze, and so far India wasn’t looking too bad, so much in fact that the posters by the Ministry of Tourism spelled India with an exclamation point in their slogan, “Incredible !ndia.”  Still, I was all set to leave the coziness of the the baggage claim area (Is there such a thing?) and be barraged by a mad scene of taxi drivers outside trying to get me as their fare to take me to one of their affiliated hostels so they could whop a hefty commission on my bill.  Instead, I found the easy way out; I simply took a pre-paid taxi from the desk outside the customs area. 

With minimal words, I tried to keep the illusion that I might not be a Westerner as the cabbie drove me down the highway into the city center — aside from the fact that I saw a guy riding an elephant on the shoulder of the road, the highway was fairly modern, complete with rush hour traffic.  “You come from Nepal?” asked the cabbie.

“Yes.  Kathmandu.”

“No you, what country?”

“Philippines.”

There wasn’t much of a conversation as he weaved in and out of traffic until, “What’s your budget for hotel?”

Here we go.  “I already called ahead, it’s okay.”  This was true, I did call ahead, only I left out the part about them never picking up.

Eventually there were more questions and my cover was blown and he tried to convince me that “it’s the tourist season, it’s so busy.  We should stop at the “tourist center” so you can call.”  I stuck to my story, even adding that I was “to meet someone at the Camran Lodge” (still the truthful plan), and he backed down.  I was dropped off as far as a car could go on the Main Bazaar in the tourist district of Paharganj and proceed on foot.

This isn’t so bad, I thought, walking down the crowded nighttime market street with my big bag on, the obvious sign that I was a foreign backpacker.  But for the most part it was pretty tame — Egypt was much, much worse by comparison.  Unless you were a blonde European-looking woman attracting unwanted attention, Delhi so far was really civil, despite all that I had heard. 

When I finally got to the Camran Lodge on the main strip, that lodge recommended with a thumbs up in the Let’s Go guide, I really questioned why that was.  Sure the place was built into an old mosque, but the appeal ended there.  My room was put together with plywood and the place was pretty deserted — it wasn’t swarming with happy-go-lucky travelers like I thought — but at least there was a view (a mediocre one at that).  I checked in anyway since I was so determined to go there since Kathmandu and then went out to an internet cafe to close the night with some Blog entries.  The connection in the cafe clipped my latest entry, making me lose about an hour of work.  I’m sure the resulting anger and frustration in my face was a universal one, no matter what nationality the cafe owner may have thought I was.






Next entry: Good Old Delhi

Previous entry: Reunions




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Comments for “On The Way To Delhi”

  • Erik…...you are spoiling us with all these entries!!!!  LOL Good to hear you are doing well….I guess I am first!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/26  at  07:08 AM


  • Really looking forward to some good Indian stories…. don’t let us down.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/26  at  07:13 AM


  • BILL:  Ooh, I feel the pressure!  wink

    I be ready to write some good ones, or me be walkin’ de plank!  Yaaarrr…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/26  at  07:22 AM


  • Sorry for that little tantrum last night; I felt like banging my head on the keyboard in the internet cafe when I lost my work, just like Don Music the muppet on the old school Sesame Street.  (Remember that guy?)

    I’m officially all caught up now; it’s 9am and Delhi is still in the waking up process.  (BTW, I’m 9 1/2 hrs ahead of NYC time.)

    MARKYT / MOELICIOUS / DUAINE:  “Pangkot is not on the way to Delhi…”

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/26  at  07:26 AM


  • On the way to delhi and no Indiana Jones quote?!!!

    Glad the only trouble you’re experiencing is internet related. Onward!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/26  at  09:20 AM


  • So, how have internet prices been around the world? What’s been the cheapest, most expensive, most annoying, etc??

    I want to go to Sri Lanka - is that on your itinerary? A coworker is from there and loves it… And Rajastan? Are you going there?? Just wondering what the plan is for India… so much fun - and what’s the weather like there now?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/26  at  09:46 AM


  • NOELLE:  Prices around here are about a dollar an hour…  Nepal had places for 40 cents an hour.  Other places (South America, Africa) were about $2-$4/hour…  In the Himalayas it was a whopping $12 and in Siberia about the $15.

    Internet is generally there; its annoying when I go to a developed nation and it’s not; they just expect you to have it at home or at work.

    SRI LANKA, sadly is not on the itin for this one…  Maybe in TGT3…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/26  at  10:05 AM


  • OOGY:  Don’t worry; just being here, I’m set up for TONS of Temple of Doom references… 

    OOGY/ MARKYT / MOELICIOUS / DUAINE: “Pangkot is not on the way to Delhi…”

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/26  at  10:06 AM


  • Okay, so the drama in Nepal has got me reading your blog on a regular basis - I admit it.

    I have no idea how often the scams change, but last year when I was in Delhi, the scam was for one boy to put dog doo on your shoe and another to then come up and overcharge you to clean it off.  Last winter, this was going on so much that my friends got hit twice a day.  Maybe since you don’t look western, no one will run up and put dog doo on your shoes, but watch out!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/26  at  11:24 AM


  • Hey Erik - just caught up on all your entries from Everest.  Wow. Glad youre ok.  And the journey continues… rain, sleet or snow! or should I say, pulmonary edema, slow internet, or fierce monkeys!  Take care!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/26  at  05:03 PM


  • Meg - in New Orleans, it’s that they bet you $20 to tell you where you got your shoes. And then they tell you, “On your feet.” It’s reallly quite ridiculous…

    I’m sure in Delhi the shoes would get dirty just from walking around, so why would anyone need to clean them? smile

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/26  at  06:04 PM


  • Hi Erik, just found your site - amazing! I’m jealous! Fantastic pictures, you’re a wonderful writer. How long have you been travelling/how long will you be gone?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/26  at  09:57 PM


  • HEY MR. E! WELCOME TO INDIEEAH…Have just replied to your email, kind of mixed news. will keep in touch. 8-)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/26  at  10:31 PM


  • now with all that has happened, it seems as tho it’s back to the same ol’ same ol’! Where else are you going in india? i’ll have to ask neeraj if he has any sugestions for some adventures! N:)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  12:04 AM


  • Ok, I’ll bite…

    Your mission, if you choose to accept it?

    “You will go to palace there… It is Pankot Palace that kills my village…. The evil starts in Pankot.  Then like monsoon, it moves darkness over all country…. They came from Palace and took sivalinga from out village… It is why Krishna brought you here. We pray to Krishna to help us find the stone.  It was Krishna who made you fall from sky—so you can go to Pankot Palace.  To find siva-linga—and bring back to us.”

    Posted by Duaine The Shaman  on  10/27  at  12:22 AM


  • A real palace does exist, and not just on a set in London.  Its in a place someone mentioned earlier.  So I need pictures of the three possible sites.  Interiors, as well as the beautiful exteriors, please.

    The Shaman

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  01:03 AM


  • “they took the stones from here” (use a high pitched indian accent)...

    you are officially shortround in india with that beat up yankess hat!....

    hang on lady, we going for a ride….

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  02:19 AM


  • Geez, you’re room looks like a shack more than anything else…

    Watch the food out there…talk to Maria if you want pointers…

    Word Life.

    Moman!!

    Posted by Supreme Moman  on  10/27  at  07:07 AM


  • LISA (THE NEW ONE):  Thanks and welcome aboard—now you can start reading the Blog from Day One!

    I have been gone for a little over a year now, and have about four months left (or until my credit cards are maxxed out, whichever comes first!)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  08:13 AM


  • NICOLE/NEERAJ:  Yes, please, suggestions!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  08:16 AM


  • DUAINE THE SHAMAN:  I thought it was SHIVA who made me fall from sky…

    I’m clueless to your clues; did you mean the real palace is in Sri Lanka?  You know that’s another country, right?  I’ll see what I can do.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  08:19 AM


  • NICOLE/NEERAJ: So far, I’m thinking Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Varanasi, Bikaner, Goa, Kerala, Mumbai, Bangalore….

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  08:29 AM


  • ERIK TGT:  It may be SHIVA who made you fall from the sky. The final versions rarely match the screenplays 100%.  And when you test shoot exteriors of palaces and the government wants to approve/edit/censor your script due to claims of blasphemy… you don’t shoot in that country.  You build your very detailed Palace and Temple on the grounds of your movie studio lot.

    In one place you mention (to NICOLE/NEERAJ), palace you will find.  No proof I have, other than whispers of production team.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  04:49 PM


  • Hey ET—
      If Everest didn’t make you sick enough here is somethng else.  The Boston frekin’ Red Sox just won the 2004 world series.  I am not kidding and I do not have altitude sickness!!

    Anyways enjoy India.  Try to hit Udaipur and Jaipur.  Very beautiful cities and can be reached by train from Delhi.  Goa is another great place right on the Indian ocean.  Have fun.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  05:04 PM


  • THE FUN CONTINUES!  I am limping right now after mild elective surgery…

    So on the second night of my recuperation period in Kathmandu from that OTHER incident, I got some sort of an insect bite on my left shin as I was sleeping in the middle of the night.  I assumed it was a mosquito and ignored it. 

    Days later the swelling of the bite did not go down; it actually spread in area on my leg.  I put some hydrocortisone on it.

    Fast forward to Delhi…  The sting of the bite worsened, almost in a paralyzing sort of way.  Still I could walk, but it stung everytime I stretched the skin of my left leg.

    Today the pain only got worse, in fact I felt it was spreading down to the rest of my left leg.  So I went to the local clinic recommended by Let’s Go off the Main Bazar in Delhi.

    Dr. Gupta looked at it and immediately diagnosed I got some sort of staphylococcal bacterial infection in the bite.  It may have not been a mosquito bite after all, and at this point no one can know for sure what it was.  (I’m hoping it was one of those genetically-altered radioactive super-spiders.)  One report I found on the internet calls the infection a “superbug”:

    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/staphylococcalinfections.html

    Before I told the doctor the history of the pain, he deduced that the pain was benign at first and then spread; which was right on the money.  He told me the infection would only spread more unless we cut open my leg and drained the pus, cleaned it out and put me on antibiotics. 

    I elected surgery.

    And so, in the little shabby clinic in the middle of the bazar (with safe and sterile instruments opened right from their sealed packages thankfully), Dr. Gupta and his assistant operated.  I was injected with adrenaline as an anesthetic and then he cut a deep slit in my left shin with a scalpel.  Using a retractor, he inserted a swab thing and cleaned out the inside. 

    “Tell me if it hurts,” he said.

    I believe the entire ten minutes I went something like this: 

    “Oh…  Ugh…  Yeah, that hurts.  Oh, yeah, that hurts too.  THAT hurts.  Rrrrrr…  And that hurts….  Oh yeah…” etc.

    Anyway, so now I’m wrapped up and bedridden again (thankfully in a different hotel with HBO) to recuperate again with more drugs.  (If you’re interested, I’m on Amoxicillin, Lupisera and Tylenol.)

    I’m behind on the Blog a day now, but it looks like I’ll have plenty of “me” time to catch up again.

    Okay, the anesthetic is starting to wear off now…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  05:21 PM


  • Hello!  I renamed myself Canadian Lisa since another Lisa is posting!

    Erik, I was talking to a friend yesterday about your blog and all your adventures in Nepal.  She did the same trek to Everest Base Camp as you did with a Sherpa as a guide!  I am going to send her a link to your blog…I am sure she will enjoy your stories.

    I am knocking on wood as I type so that you will have better “luck” for the rest of your trip….no more entries with “medical clinics” as your point of interest!

    Take care and have fun!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  06:03 PM


  • Guess I’m too late for my “what calamity will befall Erik next” quiz.  Geesh Erik.  Well, maybe this is fate’s way of telling you to slow down and take it easy for a bit wink

    Posted by Liz  on  10/27  at  06:08 PM


  • OW!  At least it wasn’t one of those bugs that lays an egg in you.  Did you take pictures of yourself getting surgery?  Kind of like when the sign fell on your head?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  06:41 PM


  • yo man, just arrived in Ecuador, looking at your stuff for tips. looks like i am going to take spanish classes at the same place you did.

    enjoy india, i loved it and im sure you will too. dont miss Jaisalmer in the western part of Rajistan.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  07:50 PM


  • yeah those bugs that lay eggs inside you is NASTY!!...

    might as well get some new bootleg dvds to watch too…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  10:45 PM


  • I was worried about the same thing Sara.

    Erik: Your travel insurance company is probably going to black-list you!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/28  at  12:02 AM


  • It’s good to have travel insurance… if they don’t reimburse you, you have a whole host of SBR’s and BH’s who will kick some ass…

    Get well - yowza…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/28  at  02:07 AM


  • Okay, in a post back, you mentioned Eminem, Erik, has everyone seen the new video? It’s called MOSH - and I HIGHLY recommend it. It is quite brilliant…
    http://www.gnn.tv/content/eminem_mosh.html
    And there are other sites of commentary on it… I am impressed.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/28  at  02:11 AM


  • ELI NYC:  If Rosa is still teaching there, tell her I said “buenas dias y que tal”....  Same goes for all the quarenta players over there…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/28  at  11:44 AM


  • ELI NYC:  If Rosa is still teaching there, tell her I said “buenas dias y que tal”....  Same goes for all the quarenta players over there…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/28  at  11:44 AM


  • Yeah, I was worried about those EGG-LAYING bastards myself, but I think I’ll be fine…  Insurance won’t cover this one because my deducticle is $250 and this was only about thirty bucks.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/28  at  11:49 AM


  • MARKYT / WILL FERREL FANS:  The bootleg DVD scene isn’t big here like in Kathmandu; I guess it’ll have to be yet ANOTHER screening of Wil Ferrell in “Anchorman” (I watched it again this morning).  Man, I can’t wait ‘til you guys have seen it; it’s chockful of classic Wil Ferrell lines to be quoted over and over…  (“Oh, deep burn!  Deep burn!... I can barely lift my right arm ‘cuz I did so many.”)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/28  at  12:05 PM


  • hey.. kuya erik you probably dont remember me but i’m your cousin.. my dad is your uncle, Jose Trinidad .. well not much to say here.. i really envy you because you can travel around…  haaay… i’m bored and stuck here.. well.. bye!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/28  at  12:05 PM


  • LIZ:  It’s hard to get into “take it easy” mentality when so much is going on;  I “took it easy” in Kathmandu and pretty much missed the entire Dishami festival (something that only happens once a year and I JUST so happened to be in town for it). 

    Now it is Diwali in India and the only celebration I see is HBO-India’s “Diwali Extravaganza” premiere of Ocean’s Eleven.

    Heal leg, heal!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/28  at  12:09 PM


  • JEK:  I’ll be seeing you soon, and maybe you won’t be so bored!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/28  at  12:14 PM


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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by BootsnAll.com. It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today, RickSteves.com, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.


Next entry:
Good Old Delhi

Previous entry:
Reunions




THE GLOBAL TRIP GLOSSARY

Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

The Big Trip: the original sixteen month around-the-world trip that started it all, spanning 37 countries in 5 continents over 503 days (October 2003–March 2005)

NIZ: acronym for "No Internet Zone"; a place where there is little to no Internet access, thus preventing dispatches from being posted.

SBR: acronym for "Silent Blog Reader"; a person who has regularly followed The Global Trip blog for years without ever commenting or making his/her presence known to the rest of the reading community. (Breaking this silence by commenting is encouraged.)

Stupid o'clock: any time of the early morning that you have to wake up to catch a train, bus, plane, or tour. Usually any time before 6 a.m. is automatically “stupid o’clock.”

The Trinidad Show: a nickname of The Global Trip blog, used particularly by travelers that have been written about, who are self-aware that they have become "characters" in a long-running story — like characters in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

WHMMR: acronym for "Western Hemisphere Monday Morning Rush"; an unofficial deadline to get new content up by a Monday morning, in time for readers in the western hemisphere (i.e. the majority North American audience) heading back to their computers.

1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.




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