It's funny how time and distance change you, the roads you take don't always lead you home.
Our train to El Norte left fom New Delhi, so we headed back to Delhi in General Class. General seating is hard to describe as it is entirely a cluster f****. The train rolls into the station and people gather near the already open doorways. While the train is moving slowly, it appears to never fully stop and people jump on and off while it rambles on. We pushed through the crowds calling to one another as we dropkicked Aunties and babies who found themselves in our way. This is the epitome of the Indian experience. No lines, no mercy. Keddy and I had assigned seats, but anyone who can fit in the train car–can ride. That means sitting, standing, chilling on the floor with the mice. Our car was packed and Indian men were stacked on top of us for our 5 hour journey. We rolled into New Delhi and crashed on the floor of Priya and Nell’s hotel room since we had to be up to get our 6:40 train to Darjeeling.
We ending up staying up all night, so with blood shot eyes we raced to our station. At about 7 AM we began to worry. Trains in India are usually late, but there is also no order to anything so the amount of things that can go wrong are endless. Were we on the wrong platform? Station? Was this even the right day? We were still on the waitlist for the AC car anyway, so maybe we were just too misinformed to function. We spoke to the conductors and they told us the train was 15 hours and 14 minutes. Like those 14 minutes would make a HUGE difference. It took us about 20 tries to figure this out and the converstation went something like this:
Emma: Bhaiya, we are on train 15484 leaving at 6:40 where is it?
Conductor: Oh, that train in 15 hours late.
C: Yes, 15 hours. Come back at 10 PM.
E: No, 10 AM. 22 O’clock? No way. Really hours, not minutes?*
C: Yes, madame.
*This repeats itself four more times, but I will spare you.
Alright, bro. With no sleep we fought tears and laughter and went back to wake a sleepy Nell and Priya so we could mooch off their floor a little longer. We had a whole day to kill in Delhi. NOTE: forgot to mention we ran to the airport with glee hoping an airplane would solve all of our problems. A LOT of tears and an encounter with a floor buffer later, we were out of luck and back in the tube of Delhi.
Priya, being the resident hipster, recommended we go to Hauz Khas. Since we were being kicked out of the hotel room, we decided to try it. After getting off the metro at the right station, we were greeted by auto drivers screaming out locations in our sleepy direction. One man said, “Hauz Khas village, 30 rupees madames” and we said SUUUUUUUURE. It was like we were dropped in another world. No cars were allowed in the village and Delhi’s elite were shopping in high end boutiques stacked inbetween classy coffee shops and bistros. Our giant backpacks intow, we sat down for sangria, a lamb burger doused in brie, and a mango citrus salad. Needless to say, we were two refreshed, happy white girls. The owner, a NJ resident and KP’s new BFF, watched out giant bags as we wandered the village for a few hours.
I do not even know how to explain the seredipitous expereince of the Leaky Cauldron, but let me just say: IF YOU ARE EVER IN NEW DELHI GO TO HAUZ KHAS VILLAGE AND BY THE WATER GO TO THE LEAKY COULDRON AND HUG THE WORKERS AND EAT A LOT OF WEIRD MEXICAN-ISH FOOD!! I will put the info at the bottom. I am not kidding, these men saved us, helped us, and without them we would have missed out 30 hour train ride to Darjeeling. With their advice, we ran to the station hoping onto the train with about a minute to spare. Turns out our train was only 9 hours late. I told you India transportation was a cluster f****.
The Leaky Caldron Info: http://www.zomato.com/ncr/the-leaky-cauldron-hauz-khas-village-delhi