India has always been on my list of places to travel to but I never dreamed I would be going there so soon and for the reasons I did.
Last year was bittersweet for me and in a way, a blessing in disguise. I became single and heartbroken in one realm and an emotional writer in the other. I discovered when your heart cracks open that’s when the light gets in and compassion can easily flow through your veins and arteries. I began to blog about my experience and the things I was dealing with in my life. As it turned out, many others around the world connected with my thoughts and feelings. My biggest fan base are from beautiful India and so wise in their words, thoughts and feelings. I felt drawn to them and our hearts instantly connected.
When I felt better I made the decision to give the gift of travel to myself for everything I had been through in 2015 and connect even more with my blogging friends from WordPress in India and in person. I made a reservation at a spa retreat there and booked the flights to see my friends in January 2016, as a solo traveler.
Welcome to This Is India 2016.
January 1st, 2016 at 3:30 p.m. EST – Canada
My friends Marie-Claude and Sam came to pick me and my 3 suitcases up and drove me to the airport for my 6 p.m. flight from Ottawa to Toronto to Delhi, India. We had just received 30 cm of snow here and it was cold, -15 C and all I could think about were palm trees! The flight from Ottawa to Toronto was uneventful and then I had to mentally prepare myself for the 14 hour flight from Toronto to Delhi. I had many things to help me survive like books, music, in flight movies, my eye mask, and of course the food on the plane which consisted of 3 meals and snacks!
January 2nd, 2016 at 8:55 p.m. Delhi, India GMT
After 11, 965 km, I finally landed in Delhi and I was tired but so excited! I was hoping my luggage made it which it did. Wheeww!!! I had arranged a hotel shuttle service to pick me up and luckily they didn’t forget about me. I bought an India SIM card for my cell phone at the airport and switched it immediately so I could be on that plan and connect with everyone right away. I love technology! After clearing customs and security I went outside and found my driver to the hotel holding a sign with my name on it. Driving in India is a blog in itself. Let’s just say I thought New York City cabs were scary, this was something totally different that I will explain as I go along. Just to give you an idea, there is a middle line down the road but after that, there are no lanes and horns never stop honking. For some reason though, accidents rarely happen and traffic seems to self-align in every case. I was amazed to say the least and then I thought hey this is India. After checking into the Holiday Inn near the airport I went to my room and crashed on the bed. I was grateful for making it here by myself and navigating to my hotel in one piece. Then I slept for 10 hours!
January 3rd – 6th – Delhi, India
One thing I noticed since my arrival is that almost everyone working in the hotel is male. I know this might seem like an odd observation and comment but it’s because in Canada it’s a real mix. The hostess at the restaurant was the only girl I saw. Even the housekeeping staff were men! The second day I was there I heard a doorbell at my hotel room??? Outside my door was a young boy who worked at the hotel asking if I had any laundry to be done. I was amazed at this adorable gesture and my thoughts again were hey, this is India.
After recovering from jet lag it was time to get outside and explore the city so I took a cab to Connaught Place and met my first blogging friend Piyusha!! We clicked right away, laughed and talked a lot while drinking coffee in a Starbucks! Shambhavi met up with us after and all three of us were great friends immediately. Time to do some shopping! I have to say Piyusha is definitely the Queen of shopping, especially when it comes to bargaining with the merchants! She will not accept any bad deal and I was eternally grateful to be shopping with her being a foreigner and all! I never laughed so much and it was so great to see her in action. Shambhavi is a very good shopper too and knows a lot about the history of Indian traditions and festivals and I learned so much as we toured around Delhi. We all piled into an auto-rickshaw and it was time to get some awesome street food at Dilli Haat! We ate Aloo Ki Tikki, Gol Gappas with aloo channa masala, sweet chutney and spicy water, Chicken Manchurian with noodles. YUM! We exchanged cards, gifts, hugs at the end and we felt so good about our meetup. Just as a side note, everyone calls me Jenny in India…so cute 🙂
I met another fellow blogger and friend Chandrajit and we had supper while talking about life and blogs. He is a very caring person who has a big heart reserved for a special person and it’s great to be able to help support him in this. Many bloggers write about life, love, loss, gain or whatever thoughts cross their mind which is the beauty in blogging. He remembered my birthday from December and bought me a cake which was really nice of him.
I had hoped to meet up with Kriti and Darshith in Delhi but the timing didn’t work out unfortunately. I had plans to meet Darshith next so that was okay after all, not to worry 😉 I wish I could have met you Kriti!!
Delhi was a vibrant city to explore the temperature was around +19 C. Great for a Canadian girl in January! Some days it’s hard to see because of the smog and that’s because of the population. The new driving rule in Delhi is the odd/even schedule so depending on what number your licence plate ends with is the day you are allowed to drive your car. Again, this is India.
So far so good seeing Delhi these first few days. I was treated like a celebrity in the hotel restaurant because being a female solo traveler people are chatty and ask a lot of questions. Some brought me free food and things to try without me even asking for it which was very nice of them. People in India have the biggest hearts and I love it. Now I’m off to the Delhi airport again to make my next tour on the East Coast in Bhubaneswar! The staff at the airport will get to know me well with all my future connections! Maybe they will be saying “there’s that Canadian girl again..”
Stay tuned and to be continued….