What a mix of emotions…
This post is all over the place to be honest. It’s got a bit of everything!
Day 316 – Sunday 3th May 2017
Today, after four days in Hong Kong, it was finally time for us to leave. Sounds simple, but it definitely wasn’t!
We faced our first obstacle at the check-in desk, where they told us that although we had each been granted a visa (for our next destination), it had to be printed instead of just saved online as a copy. We somehow found a lady who helped with printing our documents, but she was absolutely useless. It genuinely took over an hour for her to open two emails, download two files and print four pieces of paper. It doesn’t end there though.
When we finally returned to the check-in desk, visas in hand, we handed over our passports as usual, only to be told that Abbie had a ticket but mine had been cancelled. I nearly had a mental breakdown – It was around 10:00 in Hong Kong, so early hours of the morning at home in the UK, and that meant that I couldn’t even call STA Bluewater where we booked our tickets to find out what on earth was going on. We didn’t really know what to do but Abbie got straight on the phone to STA Australia to see if they could help from the other side of the world, and I took to Twitter to request immediate assistance. It took about ten minutes (which felt like forever) for us to hear back, but then things started looking up.
I received a message on Twitter just as Abbie got through to someone on the phone, who just so happened to be the same guy who messaged me, so somebody was on the case for us. He apologised endlessly, and assured us that he’d be able to get another ticket issued within 15 minutes before we missed our flight, which he did. I was a little unsure whether I should be angry for the initial disaster, or thankful for the eventual solution, but we managed to check in on time and at the end of the day that’s all that matters.
We made our way to the departure gate, then stopped at Pacific Coffee to grab a bite to eat, where our luck really turned around. It turns out that you can pay for just about everything at Hong Kong Airport using Octopus Cards, and we had around $20 credit remaining, which paid for a sausage roll. Better yet, the lady working at Pacific Coffee let us know that you can also go into minus credit on Octopus Cards, essentially urging us to spend our minus credit before leaving. We ended up with so much food, but couldn’t finish it all at once and didn’t have time to eat before boarding, so saved it all and then headed for the plane:
The flight took nearly six hours, but had a great selection of Bollywood movies to choose from, and served an incredible chicken curry as the in-flight meal. I mean, it doesn’t get any more cliche than that does it? We were, of course, on our way to India.
We arrived in Delhi at around 15:00 then took the Metro to Hauz Khas Station. From there we planned on taking a tuk tuk to our hostel but refused to pay more than ₹30 (that’s only 38p) so ended up walking. I guess we probably should’ve parted with a little more pocket change and taken the tuk tuk though really, because it was stupidly hot, so walking wasn’t the best idea.
We checked in to Madpackers Hostel early in the evening, where the facilities are pretty decent and the staff are incredible (they even helped us to order a takeaway before introducing us to a few other guests and sitting us all down to watch a movie). It’s pretty much the perfect place for a first time visitor to India – great staff, no language barrier, clean rooms, a huge common area, a rooftop garden, free breakfast and free Wi-Fi – what more can you ask for?
Day 317 – Monday 4th May 2017
Today was our first full day in Delhi, and although we had no idea of where to go or what to get up to, it didn’t take us very long to put a plan together. We got talking to loads of other people over breakfast, quickly formed a small group of friends, then sorted out a short but sweet one day itinerary and set off on our way.
We took the Metro to Jamali Kamali Mosque, then continued to to Quli Khan’s Tomb and climbed on to the roof for some amazing views of the Mehrauli area of Delhi. From there we took a taxi to Humayun’s Tomb, the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun, which is often considered ‘the mini Taj Mahal’:
From Humayun’s Tomb we shared a couple of tuk tuks to Lodi Gardens, then explored Mohammed Shah’s Tomb, the Tomb of Sikandar Lodi, Shisha Gumbad and Bara Gumbad, all without having to pay anything for entry.
In the evening we joined a group of even more Madpackers and went out for something to eat, which gave us an even better chance to get to know the others:
There’s something about Madpackers Hostel, and although I cant put my finger on exactly what it is, I absolutely love it. There’s a real positive vibe here, everybody is super friendly, and nobody gets left out. Before bed we made a last minute call to extend our stay by another two nights, because we’d have had to check out in the morning otherwise.
I really hope I’m not speaking too soon here, but I am completely in love with India already. Let’s hope that it only gets better eh?