After 20 hours without sleep, I was at my destination: India, New Delhi. It was early afternoon and although I was completely exhausted, I managed relatively well to dig my way out of the airport and find a cab. The old cab that I, as a nostalgic person, desperately wanted was uncomfortable and the driver, as to be expected, eager to drag me to another hotel than the one I had pre-booked. He failed and I arrived at Main Bazar Road, the dirty bustling neighborhood of backpackers, with countless budget hotels.
The hotel was not a good choice, but I lacked the energy to look for something better. I wanted to finally lie down and get some sleep. I did not succeed. So I got up again, walked around haphazardly, had my first good experience with Indian cuisine and with Kingfisher, the beer, that culture shock and strain eventually let me cope with, and as evening fell, my eyes finally fell shut in the shabby hotel room.
I had no big plans for my short stay in New Delhi. First of all, I wanted to get into this strange and completely unknown world. I tried to do that the next day with an extensive stroll in the center. The expensive cafes, restaurants and stores did not seem too unfamiliar to me. This was rather the place for the well-off society or youth and in contrast to what I had seen of India in the first 24h (and should still see), a first stark contrast.
Promoted by more or less problematic events and a decent jet lag, I sat on the second evening a bit in a pinch. I had prepared myself with regard to travel equipment undoubtedly well, but realized to be overwhelmed with the many people and the lengthy organization of even simple things. So how to get on and overcome the culture shock? Finally, I took up the offer of the hotel’s own travel agent and booked a driver and cab for the next 12 days through Rajasthan.
Ahmed was an older gentleman and quiet driver and although not thoroughly personable, exceptionally courteous and friendly. To “warm up” there was an extensive sightseeing tour of New Delhi and I began to photograph extensively. Very happy about not having to worry about train or bus tickets from now on, I continued the next day to Agra to the longed-for Taj Mahal.