I checked the clock for the 100th time, it had been five hours and Daniella should be walking out now.
Costa, the only coffee shop at the Terminal 3 Indira Gandhi International Airport Arrival, had no wifi. Thus, all I could do was wait until my best friend showed up.
It was 1.24 AM when I spotted her, and we headed out to get a cab right away.
Some men were calling out to us for taxi services, and our guts told us that it was a bad idea. But at the time we really needed to get some rest, so we agreed and hopped into one of the cars.
The first turn outside the airport, another guy hopped onto the front seat, and I freaked out quietly, digging into my bag for my pepperspray. Later on, the stranger and the driver stopped for cigarettes, and they started smoking.
We spoke to each other in French because these men would have understood us in English, and I had my heart beating so fast I am am surprised I’m still alive today.
Not finding our hotel, we borrowed their phone and called the hotel, who rejected our arrival and sent us to another “sister” hotel. So we went to the other hotel, where the room was filthy and the trash can still had leftovers from the last guests. It was also overpriced, but when you’re stuck in a country where you know for sure you’re powerless and it’s 3 AM, you’ll take this deal.
The driver and the other man didn’t leave. They were screaming at each other outside and we rushed into our filthy room when they weren’t looking. Filthy or not, that room was our fortress.
I don’t think I’d ever locked a door the way I did that room’s.
We ended up talking till morning arrived, when we showered and got ready to checkout. The receptionist insisted that we had breakfast there, because it was included in the very expensive hotel room we paid for.
Afterwards, we set to go and headed towards the government tourism office. There, the officer was disappointed and questioned us, “Are you sure you want to stay in Delhi for few days? You don’t want to go to Agra now?” after finding out what happened to us.
We were spacing out, because what the heck was that? Shouldn’t this officer promote his own city?
How bad could it be?
After confirming the location of the darn hotel who rejected us, the officer sent us away in a tuk tuk with a tourism friend.
Just like everyone else, this friend tried to get us to stop at many shops and buy plenty of things. But cheap, cheap, being cheap that Daniella and I were, we weren’t easily persuaded. In fact, this whole trip was defined by our heads shaking “No” and Daniella’s bargaining.
But we finally got to a new hotel, a different one in Karol Bagh, and the friend followed us to our room. At some point, he told me that, “Tomorrow morning I’ll come and surprise Daniella” because we told him that the next day was her birthday. Oh the horror.
When we got rid of him, him who o so sweetly declared his wonderful friendship with us, we locked our room and fell asleep right away.
Later on that day, our friend, his wife, his brother, and his cousin finally rescued us.
We went for dinner, and I devoured the food like I’d never eaten before. We were starving. And the biryani, even though it was just alright, tasted like heaven because we were starving kids from depression and money loss.
Our friend looked ten times more handsome than he had ever looked before that day. Must be the savior effect.
But day one was done. We spent the rest of the night gushing over how beautiful our friend’s wife was, and how this first day felt like the longest ride ever.
What would day 2 be like?