India - Round The World Tour 3 2004 Day 205 (15)


Wednesday 29th September

Today was a very lazy day for us both. We are rapidly losing our energy for yet more site seeing. The plain truth of the matter is, in fact, that India has finally worn us out and we find ourselves looking ever more forward to our next destination. That isn’t to say that we have not enjoyed India. Quite the contrary, in fact, we are still very much looking forward to our planned trip to Agra and the Taj Mahal tomorrow. Something tells me that we’ve left the best till last and we are certainly expecting great things from the Taj.

For today, however, a very slow start meant that we didn’t even get out of bed until gone eleven in the morning. Our room is quite roomy with a tall ceiling but there are no windows to the outside world. A clear advantage to this is that there is no morning sunlight to wake us up. With no clocks on the walls or watches on our wrists, we simply slumbered away, blissfully unaware of the hustle and bustle of metropolitan Delhi plodding on all around us.

When we did finally start to stir, we sat and contemplated whether or not we should go site seeing today. Although not terribly rich in absolute must-see sites, Delhi nevertheless has a few interesting places worth visiting. We ploughed through the guidebook but nothing really jumped out at us and we decided to give the site seeing a miss today after all.

Still not quite prepared to venture out into Delhi, we rummaged around in our backpacks looking for things to send home instead. Guess which one of us found the most stuff to ditch? She must have found at least a couple of pounds of clothes and stuff to send home. I seem to remember wondering from the outset just how long it would last before the wife gave up on all her ‘necessary’ clothes and stuff. In the end, it took little more than a couple of weeks. Why do I find that strangely satisfying?

Our taste for Indian cuisine still being what it is, we decided to brunch today at MacDonald’s again. If all else fails, America fast food is always there as a last resort. The chicken burgers there are actually quite nice and we are getting much better and determining where the packaging stops and the actual burger starts.

With little else to keep us occupied, we decided to go back to the hotel again where we contemplated the possibility of working Japan into our schedule. I had originally wanted to include Japan into the schedule but there always seemed to be too many logistical problems. Firstly, we couldn’t afford the mileage on our RTW ticket. Then there was the problem of the climate. We had to make sure that we were finished with Beijing and North East China before the cold set in yet couldn’t start with India until the end of the monsoon season. These two competing time pressures left little room for Japan, and South Korea for that matter. The other big problem was the cost of Japan itself. It’s probably the most expensive country on the planet to visit as a budget traveller. I spent a lot of time going over our budget on my very complex spreadsheet but each way I looked at it, I couldn’t figure out a way to spend time in Japan without running out of money before the end of our trip. As it is, we are going to be cutting things tight. Although a shame for sure, we are just not destined to visit Japan this time around. Perhaps we can add a trip there during a holiday somewhere in our future. The world is simply just too big to see in one go.

With Japan turning out to be an unachievable goal, this leaves yet another logistical problem. For the past several weeks, I’ve been communicating with a Canadian English tutor in Xi’an, China. She and I have discussed Sandy and myself swinging by to meet with her and her oral English students when we pass through Xi’an on our way to see the famous terracotta soldiers. We would spend some time talking to the students in return for a glimpse into the lives of some of these Chinese people. Arranging the timing of our visit to coincide with our English teacher friend not being on holiday is proving to be trickier than it sounds. Yet another problem is the national holiday that will sweep across China in the first week of October. It’s looking more and more like we are simply going to have to deal with this one way or another. It seems that no matter how much planning you do, you simply cannot win all the battles.

We also spent some time at various Internet cafés today. It’s always nice to exchange e-mails with people from back home and there is a growing army of people that are following our travelling progress. My daily journal entries that I’ve been uploading to my blog website are proving quite entertaining by all accounts.

A funny thing happened on the way back to the hotel. We are now used to various touts and rickshaw drivers offering us all manner of things. One cycle rickshaw driver that passed us by called out as usual but then is a slight whisper; he added ‘Good hashish, good grass?’ I had to chuckle at this.

I called the airline that we are flying to Hong Kong with, earlier, to inquire about bringing our scheduled departure date forward a few days. Our flight dates are only tentative and there is a very good chance that we will change each of them as we slowly progress around the planet. I had given us an extra week in India to allow us to spend the time we needed here but it looks like only half a week was necessary and there really is no more reason for us to remain in Delhi the extra several days. The problem now is that there are no available seats on the flights that we want to depart on. We have been waitlisted and there is a fair chance that we may yet get our desired flights but we’ll just have to keep calling back to check on the status.

With tomorrow completely occupied by our day-trip to Agra (our train departs at six in the morning and we won’t be back in Delhi until gone eleven at night), this now leaves precious little time left with which to make any last souvenir purchases. Accordingly, we spent some time this afternoon wandering around the bazaars in our part of town looking for that little something that will remind us of our time here in India. We picked out a few things and will add these to the package that we intend to send home shortly.

After another brief trip to one of the very many Internet outlets dotted around our immediate vicinity, we turned in for an early night ready for our very early start tomorrow morning.