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Friday 12th November - Hong Kong to Delhi
By Claire
Sunday, 14th November 2004 10:24

A few bars of chocolate pre-bag-arranging and a sandwich from the shop round the corner for old times' sake, and then we bought a mah jong set cos I'd seen one here before and it was nothing fancy or fiddly, just nice big tiles that make a satisfying clunk. No idea how to play the game (it comes with instructions) but if the players in China are anything to go by, the clunk is important. An old man was buying one just before us, and it made it easy to explain. It's INCREDIBLY heavy, though, but that wasn't a problem - our next stop was the post office.

We didn't think we had that much to post home after our bulky items posting in China, but we were surprised and managed to rid ourselves of about twenty pounds of luggage, for which my back will be grateful. We sent the mah jong set home by seamail, so we probably won't see it before February, but I think we can wait that long, and it'll be a nice surprise when it turns up.

A quick read of email and then to the cinema for Ladder 49, a post-September 11th how-brave-our-firefighters-are-fest with a weird-looking guy and John Travolta. It was the only thing on! Our last job in Hong Kong was to go back to the Vietnamese restaurant for beef rolls and soup, and then we picked up our (considerably lighter) bags and waited for the airport bus. It took longer than expected to get us there, and Mikey, despite the 24 flights we've taken in the last seven and a half months, still has airport timing worries. We got there almost two hours before the flight, no problem at all.

Take-off was the roughest we've had, the plane kept banking sharply to the left and bumping through the air, and there were screaching noises coming from the left-hand side of the plane.It was a bit concerning, mainly because if I'm going to get a plane crash I'd prefer it to be in the daylight so that the photos are better. You know what I mean.

The flight took six hours and arrived in Delhi at 2am local time, or 4.30am our time. It wasn't very nice. Just before they landed the stewards sprayed the cabin with something. It was possibly an antibacterial spray, but we were advised to close our eyes and cover our mouths and noses.I wasn't impressed by this, mainly because it was 4am and you can't expect me to be happy about that sort of thing at that sort of time, and also because, in terms of health, I'll be entering the country in a much better state than I'll be leaving it. I don't need fumigating yet.

In the airport, the arrivals hall was packed with people wearing pristine backpacks pushing, shoving and extolling the virtues of Dan Brown's books. It took an hour of endurance to clear immigration and then we collected our bags, changed some money and bought a taxi to take us to the hotel. We had made a reservation at an airport hotel because we knew we'd be tired and just want to sleep. The taxi driver, who first of all told us that the hotel we wanted wasn't nice, then that it was only for Indians, and that he had several places he'd show us and if we didn't like them he'd take us straight to the hotel we wanted, finally decided he didn't know where our hotel was. We were expecting this, and I wasn't impressed, so I showed him on the map. He made a display of searching and saying that it was closed ('don't midguide yourself' said the man on the phone) so I demanded we go back to the airport and get him directions. He said that he knew other hotels closer and then made Mikey go into another place with him and ask directions, and finally we made it to the place we wanted to go. He had made an attempt to be our driver for the morning, but sensed that I wasn't going to go for it, so he left without a word.

The room was clean-ish, but there were lots of black hairs all over the bed and the pillow. I slept in my mummy bag (for just such an occasion).

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