Yoooooooooooo! Readers… The oddest things happened to me in my first 2 nights here and I’m still laughing about them. This blog has 7 parts. Enjoy!
1. Where did we leave off?
Oh yeah, so I arrived at the airport, the bathroom attendant was nice, but there’s one part I forgot to mention in the last blog: getting my phone. Contrary to what the websites will tell you, you don’t need all of these documents and pictures to get a sim card there. You just go up to the desk, ask for a sim card after the cellphone guy stops ignoring you for 10 minutes, and then get your data and coverage plan. It costs about 15 bucks for a week. The only problem is, unlike Thailand, you have to wait like 3 hours before the service starts working. So for at least 3 hours of being in the country, you won’t have service. And after those 3 hours are up, you have to make a special call to activate it.
2. Gina, the last thing you said in the previous blog was you “entered chaos”! What was that about?
Y’all, leaving the airport, there was just a lot going on outside. I remember just seeing men… lots and lots and lots of men everywhere. And they started staring at me.
All those “rape” articles started popping up in my head and I had to calm myself down. “Gina, you’re safe. You’re still at the airport. They can look but as long as they don’t touch, you’re good.” That kept me from hyperventilating.
It was so noisy and cars and motorcycles were roaming about everywhere. I think it was more hectic than usual because it was the night before a big holiday called Holi, The Festival of Colors. Thank God I only had my bag and my coat. If you’re not getting an Uber in southeast Asia, then you usually have to pre-order your taxi to go someplace at an official taxi booth. I saw that there was a long line at the booth, but I happened to see a few women in that line so I felt comforted by that. When it was finally my turn, I showed the guy in the booth sweating bullets a screenshot of where I wanted to go. I could tell he didn’t really recognize where to go but he tried to play it off like he knew what he was doing. Then he asked for payment.
Taxi Coordinator: Your total is 7 bucks.
Me: Ok. ( I handed him some bills he didn’t like)
Taxi Coordinator: Give me the singles.
Taxi Coordinators: Give me the singles! I want them!!!
Again, usually I’d fight with someone like this but I was tired and just wanted my hotel. After giving him the singles, he became the politest little man in the world and started smiling.
Taxi Coordinator: Miss, I hope you have a good trip to your hotel. Are you here to celebrate Holi (The Festival of Colors)?
Taxi Coordinator: Good! You’ll love it and you’ll love our country (he said with a smile.)
I just gave him the sister-girl look and left for my taxi. I was already in need of a cocktail at this point.
3. Sorry, your hotel doesn’t exist.
Some of the drivers seemed hesitant to take me because they knew where I had to go might be difficult to get to. One taxi driver volunteered. I just happened to get the one that didn’t seem to speak a lick of English, but he was very kind. We drove through the streets of New Delhi to find where I was staying for the night. It was near the airport. The streets were packed! Cars, trucks, families and people all tried to fit on these small streets. Random women walked up to my window, asking for money. It looked like a madhouse!
I recall my driver driving in circles because he had finally realized that the address that I had given him made no sense.
He points at my address.
Driver: No! Exist, no!
These were the last words I wanted to hear after arriving in India for the first time: my hotel not existing!
The driver parked in a dark spot on the side of the road and made a gesture to call the hotel. So I gave him the number and he called the hotel. Suddenly, a dark figure walks up to my taxi window and taps on it. My taxi driver unlocks the door for him and a strange man opens my car door. I was terrified and had no idea what was happening.
I finally got a good look at the shadowy figure’s face after some headlights had flashed onto him. He turned out to be a young man in a brown hoodie and jeans. I could see on his left hand, he had 2 thumbs! I tried not to stare at it (or them) and focus on what was about to take place. Mr. Thumbs looked at me and spoke.
Mr. Thumbs: Come with me.
I got extremely defensive.
Me: Who are you?! I don’t know who you are!!!
Mr. Thumbs: I’m with the hotel.
Me: How? You have no uniform and you haven’t shown me any piece of identification!
Mr. Thumbs: It’s me! Believe me!
Me: I’m a single woman who just got off a plane in Delhi at night. You really think I’m just going to get out of this taxi and follow you blindly?
Mr. Thumbs looked a little frustrated. He spoke in Hindi but I could tell that he told the driver to call his phone so I would have proof that it was the same number from the website. And low and behold, the driver called the hotel’s number and Mr. Thumbs’ cellphone rang as proof. I was so mad and looked at him in shock and slight terror. I was thinking to myself… “Shit… what if this is a set-up?! Is this how Gina is gonna die? In Delhi? Before Holi? Ok, ok Vishnu. I understand. March 1st, 2018 is my last day on earth. Damn…”
I reluctantly got out of the taxi with my backpack and winter coat in arm and joined the chaos I’d watched for entertainment out of my window. The man had walked me through traffic and down a dark alley way. I started praying to myself really hard. Then he took me through a construction site, where most of the ground was missing… That shit terrified me. And finally, after going down another dark alley, a bright light appeared as if God had appeared in the middle of the street and there was the hotel. I swear I thanked every God imaginable after entering that lobby.
Me: So you guys didn’t get my email about airport pick-up? I sent like 3 e-mails…
They looked around confused, pretending to look in their system to make it seem like they hadn’t screwed up.
Manager: We apologize for the inconvenience. However, can you please pay us in cash?
Me: I was unable to exchange all of my money at the airport. So I don’t have much cash. All I have is my card…
Desk Attendant: You’re totally is 20 bucks. You’re not going to pay us in cash?
4. How was the room?
So Mr. Thumbs showed me the first room and it was #nasty. The first room had a lot of stains and hair on the comforter. So did the second room. But the third room’s bed had the least amount of stains on it, so I took it on the condition that they’d get me a sheet. I had decided to sleep on top of the comforter since I found a clothing button under the blanket… sounds like hooker central. But oddly enough, the bathroom was immaculate. It had seemed that the bathroom was much cleaner than the actual room, which was a bit odd. But the water was cold so I couldn’t take a shower. It was nearly midnight by this time and I had to wake up at 5 to catch my 7am flight to Jaipur! So I just dealt with it and slept. But before sleeping, I got a message from this guy I had been texting that lived in the next city I was going to. We had agreed to meet up the next day so I as excited about that.
I got a wake-up call promptly at 5am, which was appreciated. They called a cab for me and walked me down the dark allies and through the construction sight to find the cab. Here’s some footage from the drive to the airport.
The lines were pretty long but I didn’t have to wait long. I ate some spicy Indian burrito at Starbucks in the airport and then went to go catch my flight (55 minutes).
5. It’s safe but…
When I landed in Jaipur, we were a bit early… maybe by 30 minutes to an hour early. I think this is why I didn’t see my second hotel’s airport pick-up guy. So I got a taxi. There was something about the atmosphere in Jaipur that made me feel safe, so I had no problem just going out and getting one.
Immediately after walking outside, there was an older gentlemen looking for a customer to drive, so I hired him. My hotel was about a 20 minute drive away by car. The driver, named Jay, also seemed kind and explained to me how things worked in Jaipur.
Me: Honestly I was a bit terrified of coming to India with all the rape cases.
Driver: No! No! India is very safe, ma’am! If you yell, someone will protect you and come to your rescue. If a man touches you while with me, I’ll hit him!
Driver: There are some areas that aren’t the best, but I can assure you that Jaipur is very safe! Just… don’t go outside after 9pm.
Driver: 9pm! Got it?! Go back inside after then. I can’t guarantee your safety after that time. But Jaipur is safe!
Driver: Also, today is Holi! It’s a beautiful time in India! But play the Holi at your hotel. Not outside. Don’t trust the men who want to play Holi with you and you don’t know them. They will be drunk and not themselves and might do inappropriate things…
Me: Hmmm…. sounds like the clubs you’d find in any country.
We both laughed. He offered to drive me around for a tour later that day or the next morning, but my hotel had already given me a complimentary chauffeur with my room. So I declined but took his number in case things weren’t organized.
6. MY HOTEL WAS SO PRETTY ❤
I arrive at my hotel, which had some guards outside of it. I wasn’t expecting that, but they let me in. I chose a traditional, 18th-century heritage style hotel for my night in Jaipur and it was absolutely beautiful inside and out. LOOK!!!
It really gave you the feel of being in India and the staff there was so kind ❤ But… it was a bit pricey for India. With taxes, I paid about $125 for the room. Remember, they charge an 18% gratuity tax for almost every hotel you stay at. And you’re probably wondering why I chose to spend this much. I wanted to make sure that I was absolutely safe, avoided food poisoning, had a clean environment to sleep in, knowing that a giant roach wasn’t going to crawl next to me for a cuddle. And after staying in that $18 room in Delhi for a night, it’s safe to say that you definitely get what you pay for. But some of the cheaper hostels seemed ok…
7. NO SEX ALLOWED! (The Cock-block of a lifetime!)
Readerrrrrrrsssssssss! I’m still laughing about this incident. So after I checked into my hotel. They let me choose which design I wanted for my room, I sat my things down, then went to the tourist shop on the first floor to buy some white clothes to celebrate Holi in!
I took a 10-minute tuk-tuk ride to the area where it was being celebrated. It was beautiful madness. Colors and happy faces were everywhere. People, mainly men, would come up to me, hug me and wish me a Happy Holi. We danced, smeared each other with colors and I was even on the local news for a couple of minutes hahaha
But I hated this one guy who walked up to me, hugged me and just casually grazed his hand along the side my left breast. Ewwwwww!!!! But like the taxi driver said, that was to be expected. Ugh!
I got a call while I was at the Holi festival. It was the guy I told you I had kept in contact with before coming to India and I met him. He stood at 6ft 1 (186cm), standing in front of my hotel with his motorcycle, dressed in white but completely covered in a rainbow. He looked magical to me and we definitely had the goo-goo eyes for each other. Holi Guy greeted me with a smile, we embraced each other in a colorful hug and decided to continue the magic in my room. I was down for some “colorful love.” But then… the hotel manager and about 3 desk attendants saw us walk in the door. They stared at us and their mouths practically dropped realizing that he seemed to be accompanying me…TO MY ROOM!
They got extremely protective and started questioning Holi Guy.
Manager: What are you doing here, sir?
Holi Guy: I’m with her! Tell them, Gina. Tell them I’m with you!
To be honest I was a little reluctant to speak, seeing that I had to publicly admit that I was about to GET SOME. But I spoke up…
Holi Guy: Gina…? Gina?! Tell them!
Me: Yeah… he’s with me. It’s true. What’s the problem?
Desk Attendant: Ma’am, he can not come into this hotel…
Me: What’s the reason?
Desk Attendant: (speaking to Holi Guy) Please give me your ID. And ma’am, I’m sorry but he’s a local and locals aren’t allowed in traditional hotels. If he was from another city, then it would be fine. Locals from Jaipur aren’t welcomed into guests’ rooms. We apologize for the inconvenience.
He meant “sorry to cock-block you!” I waited 5 months…I was shocked… and Holi Guy got ANGRY. He started yelling at them in Hindi. At one point he tried to make some calls lol I’m guessing this is what was said…
Holi Guy: Dude… you’re blocking the shit out of my cock right now. Are you serious? Do you see her???
Manager: Ok, I get you but you’re just… not allowed, man.
Holi Guy: I haven’t gotten laid in like forever and you’re gonna stop me from enjoying this chocolate American you see before you??? She’s only here for a day, man!
Manager: I mean… it’s not like you’re sharing so… to the left, my friend. We must protect our guests…
Things got quiet so I walked up to Holi Guy, patted him on the shoulder and spoke.
Me: It’s alright. Don’t feel too down. You can go home if you want.
He looked pretty defeated. At the time it was around noon. He had agreed to meet me at 3pm after showering for a tour of Jaipur and dinner at my hotel. They would allow him to at least spend money in their restaurant haha While I waited for him, I took selfies around the beautiful hotel.
Maybe it was all in my head but all of the male servants started looking at me with a smirk. I think word had gotten out that an “Indian boy” had “caught my heart”. However, I didn’t notice it until 20 minutes into taking photos around the hotel, but one of the servants was watching me intently like I was his new favorite show, grinning ear to ear. I smiled really big to hide how uncomfortable I was…
So of course Holi Guy didn’t show and would send me pictures of him still dirty while I got dolled-up. I was pissed but tried not to feel down about it. I was in India after all! But later, he asked me to come meet him at 7pm in the city center of Jaipur.
Holi Guy: Gina, meet me there in the city center. I’ll treat you to dinner in the nicest restaurant. You can take a taxi back.
Me: Uhm… no. I’m not leaving my hotel. You promised to come here, you know how worried I am about the safety issue. I heard I shouldn’t be out at night alone as a single woman. You come here!
Holi Guy: You’re being so selfish! I had to celebrate with family. The least you could do is meet me! You’re like 30 minutes away from where I am now! Traffic, Gina!
Me: It took me 3 planes and a total of 10 hours to reach Jaipur, not to mention the money I spent to get here. And you can’t take 30 minutes to see me? If you’d visited me in Chicago during the Fourth of July, I would make time for you knowing that meeting you was a rare chance.
He got quiet and then agreed to meet me at my hotel. He still had a bit of an attitude but shook it off at dinner and became romantic. It was still a nice way to end the night, but I knew this wasn’t going to last after that. He wasn’t being the best vacation boyfriend anyway…
His Uber had arrived so I decided to walk down 4 floors to say good bye. The guards and servants in the hotel watched us intently. If it even looked like he was going to touch me, they would yell “Hey!” or “What are you doing to her?!” I really loved how safe the people at the hotel made me feel ❤ After seeing him off and ignoring his fake promises of visiting me in the morning, I went back up to my room feeling like royalty and slept in my bed that felt like pure heaven to me. I miss that room. I swear staying at that hotel was like taking a happy pill.
That’s all for now! Day 3 and 4 of the Taj Mahal and the creepy bus-stalker will be in the next blog! ❤