My driver was late and my phone was not working. Great way to start your 30th birthday… That’s when India gave me its first welcome gift. A random guy saw my despair and kindly offered his phone so I could call the driver. Vijay (my best friend for the following four days) was waiting for me outside the airport and not at the arrivals as expected. Was I supposed to guess this?! I told myself “Dalila chill… It’s your birthday, you’re in India and the weather is normal, so no reasons to be annoyed”. So, after 25 minutes waiting, I got in the car. Funny moment of the morning: it took me 5 minutes to realize that in India people drive on the left side of the road. Yes 5 minutes! I was tired okay?
I was a bit afraid of travelling alone in a country as different as India. Especially because of the stories we hear. Also driving during 4 days with a stranger was not much more reassuring. That was definitely a first. Because of this my first instinct when I met Vijay was of course, to discreetly take pictures of him and of the license plate of the car and send it to my best friends, “in case I disappear just make sure this is all over Facebook” I said.
After the Taj Mahal, the driver dropped me at my hotel so that I could change and rest and picked me up again around 16h.
Vijay and the guide took me to some commercial area in case I wanted “to buy some nice things”. No I didn’t, but they still took me there. I suspect they were in cahoots with the stores and would get some sort of commission if I bought something. I have to say that at some point I got very tempted to buy some emerald rings. Emeralds are, according to the shop assistant, the Taurus stone. Despite his various attempts, and me trying around 15 rings, I was smarter than buying precious stones in a dark basement. I felt guilty because he probably thought that after so many trials I would finally buy one. But no, I know better. Emerald ring would have to wait for another (more legal?) occasion. I went back to the hotel around 18h. I was exhausted and had a long trip to Jaipur the next day.