Thank you and goodbye Gulmarg. With an tear in our eye we took the taxi towards the airport in Srinigar. On the way we picked up our tailors son who we offered to tag along to Srinigar since he was going in school there. As thanks we were invited to their house on some tea and biscuits and I guess the tailoring is going well. The house had almost Swedish standard and in the garden there were around 200 apple trees, apparently they have a little side business with apples.
The flight to New Dehli went well and four security controls later we could actually walk out on the runway, point on which is my luggage and then board the lane. Wise from our earlier experience we this time took a prepaid taxi. A lot cheaper but we got a driver who didn’t speak english or found his way to Janpath but finally we arrived to our contact person in Janpath. We got two options, basic cheap hotel or a little bit more luxurious. Of course we took the second one and it turned out to be like the hotel in the beginning of the movie “The Beach”.
The room was a square with the same size as the bed, the walls war not all the way up to the roof so you could talk to your neighbor, no air condition or anything like that but at least a fan, which worked sometimes. Well we didn’t pay much for the hotel but it sure makes you wonder how the cheap hotel is if this is luxury
Walking around in the Janpath district we found a TGIF restaurant. Four weeks of eating chicken and rice made us drooling zombies when we saw the menu of hamburgers, ribs, beer and when we ordered a plate of bacon and two mojitos each as a starter our plan to check out the night life started to come along. A tuk tuk later and we were on our way. Im not really sure where we were but I know we drove by the US embassy. Once we arrived we couldn’t pay our tuk tuk because we had to big bills, a bit drunk and since its not really any cash for us we gave him the smallest bill we had and told him that he could drive us back home later tonight. We entered the club and even if we were the only white people there it was really nice and several hours later when we finally decided to leave our tuk tuk driver was outside looking for us. He had promised to drive us back and been looking for us for a long time, that is what i call service mind!
“I waited for you”
-Tuk tuk chaffis
Woke up by the phone ringing, “Your driver is here”. Oh yea right, we booked a tour to Taj Mahal to see one of the wonders of the world, to bad we are still drunk though. Its like 200km from Neh Dehli to Agra, highway all the way but still it took five hours to drive there and yes, it took a while before we started to enjoy the drive
To preserve Taj Mahal as much as possible car traffic is forbidden close by so from the area you can choose between walk, horseback riding, camel riding. The place is packed with snake charmers and people who try to sell stuff to you and if you think this is a tourist trap you are absolutely right. However as soon as you get into the area is much calmer and you can enjoy this stunning place. This place is just as big as crazy but if you have plenty of money, 10 years and somewhere around 20 000 slaves you could build your own Taj Mahal.
In Agra we also visited some jewel stores, markets and restaurants, a small mistake that we ordered food before we checked if we had any money. Not a problem, I walk to an ATM while Martin waits at the resturant but it wasn’t that easy. The closest ATM was far away so our guide borrowed a motorbike and drove me there. Clearly an interesting experience since we drove pretty much everywhere except where we were supposed to drive.
“In India, we don’t care about traffic rules”
-The guide who drives me on a motobike
Woke up really early to get to the airport in time but did our taxi arrived? Of course not. Well not a problem, we order a new one and what a taxi. It looked like a old Mercedes from the 70′ s painted as Jamaica’s flag. Now after I googled I know this is the biggest taxi company in New Dehli who drives those cars but it didn’t feel good to jump into the car. seatbelt didn’t exist and our luggage did almost fit, especially Martin skis was a problem and off we went to the airport and next problem.
Then we booked our flight SAS told us that they had a standard price for ski equipment which you pay at the airport. In Copenhagen on our way down that wasn’t a problem and we paid our €50 for the skis but they had probably sees skis before. At the airport in New Dehli they hadn’t and they had no idea about fixed price, instead they wanted to charge us for overweight and for the extra size and that wasn’t cheap at all. Both me and Martin refused to accept that and finally they solved it with upgrading us and not charge anything for the skis or for the upgrade. Pretty nice but I doubt it was our fact that changed their mind, instead I think they upgrades us just because we were such a pain in the as.
Once it was time to drop off our luggage that everybody we met during our trip has given us walnuts and we have saved those in our ski bags. The security staff looked really suspicious at us during the x-ray but they never said anything and we could get onboard and head back home to Sweden. It feels kind a mixed to get back home. It will be amazing to sleep in my own bed again, to be able to take a shower again but at the same time, I don’t looking forward to get back into the work-sleep-eat schema again.. I will really miss the laid back, calm feeling of Gulmarg!
My mum warned me before this trip that Beatles never was the same after they were in India. During this month I have experiences riots, earthquakes and avalanches. Ive been invited and been guided on the high altitude regiment, Ive been sitting in the living room at our hotel managers place and discussed Obama with an Iman in a mosque. I had the best skiing in my life in a snow which is so good I cant describe it. I have experienced more than I ever can write or talk about and to be honest, I think I have changed too, hopefully to the better.