I’ve spent the last few days feeling like I was on the edge of falling down the rabbit hole.
And now here I am back in Wonderland, and it’s pretty much just as trippy as I remembered.
Few notable differences: The Delhi airport is WAY modernized relative to 2010. Makes JFK look old and dingy. Same goes for the new metro, which is extremely shiny, clean, and easy to use. I was impressed.
Of course, once I got back out of the metro, it was back to the same exact chaos that I remembered. I’d like to say I was totally not overwhelmed and was 100% ready for the noise, the crowds, the smells, the people, the traffic, but I was not. I was pretty prepared, but really, it’s hard to be totally ready for all of this.
So after some haggling with a rickshaw driver who first took me to his friend’s hotel instead of where I asked to go — I threatened to not pay him and suddenly he changed his tune — I am now in a room at Hotel Namaskar. It has a flush toilet and everything! But I decided not to pay the premium for the AC. The fan is pretty strong.
Highlight of the day: at the airport, I handed the immigration officer my passport and entry slip and after he studied the picture of my 18-year-old self that’s in my passport, the following conversation ensued:
Officer: (blank look) .(looks at passport) “…this is you?”
Me: (laughing) “Yes.”
Officer: (gives picture hard look) “You were fat.”
Officer: “Well, you look fat in this picture.”
Me: “….this….is true?”
Officer: (stamps passport, bobbles head)
BACK DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE!