Friday, October 04, 2013

First Solo Travel Adventure!

I just got back home from my 2 day trip to Delhi and Vrindavan and I am bone tired but I have so much I want to share! It was so much fun, and so many firsts, and it felt so natural to be alone and travelling. I made a new friend who said something like, "you seem to have globetrotting in your blood!" I am no Samantha Brown but I've decided I will blog about every STA I will have. It's written in the stars, that I will have lots of STAs! (so glad A looks so different from D) (also not written, imma make them happen bitches)

So Tuesday night I was so restless I couldn't sleep, slept barely an hour before it was time to leave for the airport at 4:30. I purposely booked the early morning flight because I wanted to see the sky transition from pitch dark with the crescent moon to dawn and full blown sunlight and also because I needed to have enough time to spend with one of my oldest friends who invited me to come stay with her in Vrindavan before my interview in Delhi the following day.

I was so excited I didn't sleep in the plane and clicked pictures and day dreamed lots instead! The land looked so interesting: squares of neatly cut patches, some green and some so barren. I forgot to charge my iPod and my battery was just 30% full so I abandoned listening to any music wanting to save it for later. I ended up killing the battery on my flight back only a few hours ago! HOW COOL.

 I reached Delhi at 8 am and my very pregnant friend's husband picked me up and we were off to Vrindavan, a good 4 hours drive. On the way we stopped at this delightful little dhaba and I honestly had the best aloo parantha of my life, so thick and so alooey and so buttery and so so so filling not only physically! :D

When we reached, I changed into a new flowery yellow salwar kameez and my friend applied tilak on my forehead too. I was looking like a total proper devotee! And she then took me to see the main ISKCON temple which also had Prabhupada's Samadhi and the house where he passed away in, with stuff he used like his shaving kit preserved, all neatly museumed for the world to see! Some stuff was pretty cool like his old Parker pen and a few strands of his hair too oO.

We couldn't afford to waste any time so after doing a quick lunch we went to Radha Kund, Shyam Kund, Kusum Sarovar, Mansi Ganga and Govardhan Hill. All such peaceful places, and the ride in the car was so much fun, so much greenery and I saw all kinds of animals: camels and monkeys and horses and so many cows! The feel of the place was so laid back and relaxed.

Everyone seemed so content, they all greet you sweetly and smilingly with a "Radhe Radhe" and they have such a difficult time, what with how underdeveloped the town is but still, from the vendors to the cycle rickshaw riders, they all look so happy. Faith is such a big thing.

We bought some channa to throw at the monkeys for their cute eating-by-picking-each-one pleasure. I had ganne ka juice for the first time, a 10 year old boy made it too, and he was so efficient about it, I swear it felt like no drop was spared from the machine! And en route we saw a rainbow, my first time seeing one so wholly; behind us the sun was blazing and in front of us, the rainbow and crazy pouring rain. The sky seemed so much larger, so grand and so blue and cloudy than it does in this shitty city, just smog everywhere. And then we got back home and rested a bit, I felt around for the little one, she's due very very soon. So psyched and excited for my friend!

And then we got an awesome cycle rickshaw and our driver took us temple hopping. We saw Banke Bihari, Radha Raman (such an adorable little Swayambhoo deity) and Gopinath temples and at one point we saw so many puppies, just-born strays walking around cutely. And we stopped to have this awesome aloo chaat and the best lassi of my life, from a matka thing too! A thick layer of malai on top and perfect temperature, and so thirst quenching, I am sure the dahi used was made from pure unadulterated milk which was why it was so wholesome!

And then we went shopping, I bought quite a lot of stuff, 2 lovely printed and colourful cotton dresses, a bed-sheet for the house and a necklace and earring set for the mother. We then went to have the best lemonade ever, it was so intricately made, lemon juice from one bottle, soda from another, masala and then 2 freshly squeezed lemons. And for just 15 bucks!

And then we got home and I was so tired, I crashed at around 11 PM and woke up at 4:30 AM and was out and on the road alone with the driver to the embassy in Delhi by 5:30 AM. I saw again the sunrise (2 days in a row, after years of never seeing a sunrise because I have a sleepy lazy bum) while listening to my iPod and we stopped at the dhaba again, and my aloo parantha version 2 experience was enhanced by the appearances of lots of squirrels, rabbits and this one cow who was chilling around in the morning sun and giving me looks when I took her picture.

I needed to have made a demand draft for my 10 AM appointment and the previous day was a bank holiday, so I was on the lookout for a bank and thought I saw one that was open at 9 AM and 15 minutes down the road close to the embassy when I saw no other open bank I asked the driver to take me back to the open one, so he dropped me off there and continued back to Vrindavan and when I checked the bank, it was closed!

Luckily I'd seen a couple of banks around that one so I walked around till I found one that was open. By the time I started to have the DD made it was 9:30 AM and I suddenly had to take a shit badly. So I left the teller with the processing and found the toilet and finished my business. Conveniently when I was done, the water supply stopped. I needed to wash my hands, so guess what I did? I lifted the flush tank and took a handful of water and put some soap in and lathered up both hands and re-entered a hand for more water to wash off the soap. And then flushed and used lots of tissue to wipe of soap residue.
^This right here is why I will never be anything like the likes of Samantha Brown.

Rushed back to see the teller taking his sweet time to make the damned DD, and by the time I have it, it's 9:50 AM and I rush to the main road and there were no vacant autos till 10 AM. My appointment letter said 10:18 AM but for some reason I thought it was 10:08 AM and so in the auto rickshaw I kept freaking out and I finally reached at 10:21 realising at the check-in that I was only 3 minutes late.

I slept after writing all this, so picking up from where I left off:
I then submitted all my documents and waited for the interview and while waiting all us applicants sat and chatted away. I overheard this stupid conversation : "So where are you going to go?" -"Poland." Haha duh!

My interview was 5 minutes long and it seemed like the interviewer already decided to grant the visa because he only talked about the places I should go see and stuff like that.

I was done by 1:30 and I had booked my return flight for 9 so I had the entire day to kill in Delhi. A friend I made, a teacher from Kolkata, had a 3:30 flight to catch so we decided to go to the airport together, but before we had to go check out and pick her bag up from the hotel, which was in Kalkaji, a place I only was familiar with because an old friend I no longer speak to used to live there. And while in an auto to the hotel I saw someone who looked freakishly like him in a 440 numbered bus!

We reached the airport by 2:30 and parted ways and then on I did everything in slow motion. I had 6 hours to kill and had no intention of sleeping even though I was very sleep deprived. So I first went to the toilet and spent a long time in there, peeing and then washing my face and fixing my hair. And then I went to get something to eat with the very little cash I had on me, after which I sat down checking all messages on my phone.

I walked and window shopped in a bookstore, a Croma store where I looked at phones, (I'm leaving my laptop here so I can Skype my mother everyday) and fell in love with the Kindle Fire, and tried to charge my iPod sneakily but wasn't allowed to, and I saw a UCB shop too. There was no ATM so I had to use my card for everything I needed to buy. And then I saw a spa, walked in and next thing I know I'm getting a head and neck massage done which was soo good. I was half asleep at the end of the 30 minutes of it. And then I walked around some more, shopped at FabIndia for some tidbits. Got my mother a face cream, and I bought a packet of spinach soup and ready to mix fruit and vegetable punch in sachets and some tea tree oil face wash.

By this time it was 5:30 and where I was, there were large windows through which you could see the runway and all the planes, I saw a private plane too, another first, it was so much smaller, and the other planes weren't even as big as international ones. The sun bathed the entire place in beautiful yellow light and I got my self a cup of mocha and sat by the window. And then I went to charge my phone by a self playing grand piano which was a little creepy, I took a short video of it.

And then I spied a 6D mini theatre where you can experience seat movements, rain, bubbles, back pokers, smoke, fire, and snow effects with sounds. 20 minutes in a room and I chose 1 scary movie and 1 roller coaster ride. It was fun and I felt so dizzy at the end. I also got sprayed on lots so I went to the toilet again and had another pee, face, and hair session. And then I sat for some time having left my phone to charge.

Then I found a touch operated PC area and played a game of Mahjong and Solitaire, got bored, walked around some more, by this time I was hungry again and so I walked in a little cafe and ordered a big meal, which because of it taking so long to be served, I got a free unasked for bowl of tomato soup. I ordered for a mint melon granita which tasted like a mentossy pina colada, and some cheesy mushroomy pasta and ate with Mr. Tuff, my big blue backpack for company. The staff were all so polite and attentive.

By the time I was done, it was time to board and I finally went downstairs to where the gates were. My flight was delayed and while walking in, one girl in front of me asked this cute steward, "Why was the flight delayed?" And he mumbled "It got late." Lame lol. The flight was packed, both seats beside me were occupied unlike my morning flight where I had all that space to stretch. I randomly wrote this before taking off: from really far up airplanes must look like lizards when they're cruising down the tarmac super fast.

I listened to this instrumental song "bed" I recently downloaded, from here, while taking off and then my iPod died on me. I took some pictures but my phone camera is so shit you can barely see what I was trying to capture - the clustered lights looked like circuits on a motherboard, and the clouds were all kinds of deep brown and grey colours. I was so exhausted at this point but there was barely any leg room so it was so hard to sleep with any semblance of comfort. An old man beside me slept so peacefully. Everyone was sleeping in the plane and it was dark and quiet except for that one kid who decided to be the loudest thing in the world.
We flew through some rain clouds and I saw for the first time rain battering against the window.
I managed to sleep for half an hour in bits and pieces throughout the 2 hour journey and was so glad when we landed, rather bumpily. I walked straight to the ATM and got into an auto home.

So glad to be back home where the water is sweetest; Vrindavan's water was so hard - well water, and Delhi's wasn't soft enough. I took the longest bath, finally washing my 2-days-since-a-wash hair and I felt like I was a shade darker. It was such an eventful trip with so many firsts! This time next week I will be in Poland! Whaaaat. Can't believe it myself, I just have 4 days to do all my packing and shopping!

For those of you who don't know, I am going to be in Rzeszow, Poland for 2 months on an AIESEC Global Internship Program, and am going to be teaching English for 3 hours every weekday to high school kids. I'm going to have a roommate who's coming from Manila to teach as well. It's going to be an experience of a lifetime! I'll try and save and see as much of the Schengen area over the weekends and maybe plan a trip to the UK since they granted me a multiple entry visa. Also, my UK visa expires in 2015; I doubt I'll get the chance to travel so soon after this. It's going to be sooo cold. I am so anxious and excited and nervous and hopeful and happy!


  1. Refreshing read ! the trip has been beautifully mirrored by your very spectacular mind

  2. solo travel is always a fun and it seems you enjoyed you first solo travel , keep traveling and enjoying :)