Meeting Reannon in Delhi

Currently we are in Shimla, having successfully escaped the heat and humidity of Delhi. Don’t have time to write a full update, but here’s what we did for our first few days in the capitol of India:
We left Dharamsala after an early dinner, with a significantly lightened load, leaving much of our luggage iwth Iain & Claire (thank you!). We took an overnight deluxe bus along curvy roads down out the hills, full of bump and fast driving. Hours of nausea ensued, which Liz at least was able to escape after politely asking her downwind neighbor to close his window! We were befriended by a kindly fellow traveler, named Aroop, who works in Delhi for the Prime Minister, with whom we shared a rickshaw when we arrived, at dawn, at the tailen of 12 hours of pounding monsoon rains. Streets were flooded with several inches of rushing water, of the sewer and feces variety. We’d received a recomendation for a hotel, on Arukash Road, just north of Paharganj, which is the main traveler’s hangout. The hotel was uncooperative on price, we’d been told 250 Rs, but they wanted 700 and wouldn’t budge, so we began a wet slog through the slowly lightening streets. We found a few acceptable options, ignoring the rancid stench of urine in the bathrooms, but on our 5th place or so, Hotel Neelam Palace, which while definitely optimistically named, was able to compromise on a 400 Rs/night triple room. No windows, a small bathroom, and a slight paint smell due to construction were a few of its features…
We also set up a genuinely cheap roundtrip taxi for that night, in order to pick up Reannon from the airport, at 450 Rs a great deal considering Aroop has estimated 600 for the ride. After sleeping off the bus ride, as best as possible, we grabbed a much needed thali, before doing some minor shopping and meandering. Soon enough it was evening, and time to go to the airport, but of course the 1st driver refused, claiming he did not have the proper tags to be seen by police at the aiport. An hour later, then, we were rolling around Delhi in a taxi-van, thankful our hotel managed to work things out on our behalf. Then came the anxious gate-side wait, for over an hour, since international flights, particularly in India, take a bit of time to deplane fully. We observed numerous happy reunions, a few disgruntled Europeans who were looking for their ride for over an hour, and more than a few Westerners with apprehensive faces upon their arrival in India. But no Reannon…
After checking an alternate exit since we were at the main gate, Anderson decided to buck up the 60 Rs to enter the actual airport, and 30 seconds later there was a Muth cousins reunion! The journey home was uneventful, just lots of chatting if you can believe that, and soon enough Reannon was settled in her 1st (amazing) Indian hotel. Being a late night, we slept in a bit on Friday, and after another thali we headed off for some sightseeing…

More to come soon, this internet connection is super slow, but we are leaving Shimla tomorrow, for nearby Mandi probably, although that is still up for some debate!

More to come soon,
Peace
A&E

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