Our India experience started with flying into Delhi not having a hotel or anything booked at 7:30 in the evening – either we’re adventurous or stupid! All the horror stories you hear as a traveler about India, flying into the city I admit I was pretty nervous. We went to the official (we think) tourist desk in the airport and got some recommendations from them for hotels as well as a prepaid taxi. This proved to be a good decision as they ended up leading us in the right direction – so Delhi Tourism Desk something good is written about you! The taxi driver also proved to be OK although his sudden stop for a bathroom break was a little unnerving until we figured out what he was doing. He took us to three hotels and tried to convince us not to stay in the hotel we ended up choosing because “there aren’t many foreigners around here”. Well, this was true, but why not get in the culture!?
We ended up staying at Hotel Madonna (or Megha Sheraton) and the hotel owner, Naresh Bhatia, convinced us to book a tour with him (Megha Tours) complete with a driver and all the places we wanted to go in Rajasthan. Now I hate tours, like I’ll mention in another post, but we figured in India this may be a good thing just for ease of not having to research, book, and deal with not knowing if something is legit or not. Obviously at first we didn’t know if this was legit or not either but as we continued on in conversation and saw how he treated his staff and us we trusted him enough to take the risk. (Hints – get everything in writing signed receipts and spelled out on the tour).
Naresh proved to be trustworthy and his driver Mr. Puri was excellent (ask for him! Our Indian father!) While in Delhi, the first time round we went to the Red Fort and stayed for the night historical light show which was sort of Bollywood-esque with the music and voices explaining the history of the fort from Mogul times to the present. E also got to do a bit of shopping as she picked out two kinds of material for traditional Indian outfits and had them tailored to a perfect fit. We also spent about half a day trying to figure out our New Zealand residency process at both the US and NZ embassy (the other part of our life!) Pics follow below: