Happy New Year! Mine started (almost) straight with a hangover flight to New-Delhi!
After a night-out I had to leave Berlin on the first January for my flight in the early morning hours. It was time to start my trip through Northern India. I flew with KLM, with a short stop-over in Amsterdam, directly to New-Delhi.
Landed there in the middle of the night, my bag got lost, so I prepared to never see it again (and it was hard to get it back due to the burocratical mess that is still common in the country - I recieved it 3 days afterwards on very shady, not tracable ways, in my hostel) the metro was not running, so I slept a bit between the airport and the metro station. There were a few shady people lungering around, but all over the situation of sleeping in New Delhi a little outside of the airport was a safe experience. Thanks to KLM for the pillow and blanket!
Took the first metro and went to the metro station, where I should meet with my couchsurfer. Although - he was not there! After countless try's to reach him, he gave me some shitty excuses, why he didn't show up (I kind of didn't believe him at that moment, as the communication was very nice upfront, but when he 'excused of not showing up' it was kind of poor and very 'uncommunicative'), BUT he gave me the adress of a hostel (or was this a scam? :D). So I went to that hostel, as it was close-by, I was already too long awake and still hangover and slept on their matress, because I couldn't check in that time.
The hostel itself was run by middle to upper class young Indians(who like to have some spliffs), and they seem to make a good buck with putting 8 people in different rooms. Must say, it was allover clean, there was hot water and the metro connection was good. It was a bit off centre.
The best point about it was, that they offered various tours and I took one, which led to a Sikh temple, the Spice market, a secret rooftop and afterwards we went to a Street-Food tour through Delhi. It was really delicious and well organised, with a lot of information!
Regarding New Delhi as a city to do some illegal graffiti, I still got mixed feelings about it (as I got overall for India). The paint available is pretty cheap (both in quality and price). A spray can in India can cost you around 180 - 300 rupees. Don't forget to haggle, as the first time I payed the 300 rupees, which is not a bargain for what you get. There are some art shops, that supply quality spraypaint from Flame or other known brands, but you can expect European prices for those cans (500 rupees), but at least you're on the safe side, if you want to do some trains ;) Otherwise I'd highly recommend normal paint and a roller (or one of those pressure/garden spraytools).
India is always a country, where you're never alone at any given time.
I'd rather get catched in a developed country and taken to police, as in one of those upcoming countries not knowing what they will do to me. Anyway, on my first mission I had Aman, a photographer from Afghanistan, as my backup. All worked fine, had to abort one throwie, but 2 were done that night.
After that, I took a super-ass cheap train to Agra. I paid only 180 rupees for that ticket, as it was a non-reserved ticket. We didn't got checked on that train and it was not even overcrowded, so we had a seat the whole time. Arriving at Agra station will lead you directly to those friendly Tuk-Tuk drivers trying to ripp you off. Once you're through the first row, prices drop and with a little more relaxness, you'll get close to your favored price. In Agra, we stayed at a Homestay, which only costs 250 rupees per night. BUT it was freezing cold and the owner was very short on blankets. And almost everyone staying at that time demanded for some more blankets, but he was not willing to provide them generously. Big minus point, I'd say.
If you're in Agra, visiting the Taj Mahal is probably the only thing, that got you there. Otherwise there is not much to see (I would even skip the Fort). Paying the 1 000 rupees was worth it!
This post was for one week in scheduele mode, so I got to continue my stories in a second one. No pictures this time. Check my Instagram in order to see some pictures of Jaipur . Talk to you soon!