Oh God! I wish I didn’t have to write this post, but I do think it’s important to warn people, especially females, about what are they getting into while traveling to India. I have a few stories to share about the problems I had with men in India but I’ll tell you about my first night there.
One day I was hearing music and reading some stuff in my apartment in New York when this crazy idea came to my head about traveling outside the US. I didn’t want to go home (Guatemala) because I wasn’t in the best terms with my mom; so I thought about Europe. However, I didn’t have enough money to go to Europe. I didn’t want to go to South America either. So, I always dreamed about going to India. For some reason, I’ve always been attracted to their culture. So, I booked my one-way flight ticket to India because I didn’t know how long I was going to be there and I wanted to visit other countries in South East Asia. You know, I needed to make my 24-hour flight overseas worth it.
After two months, the day finally came. I was flying to New Delhi. I normally hold my emotions, so I wasn’t excited or anything. I took my flight on Oct. 1, 2016 at 2pm from the JFK and landed on Oct. 3 at midnight. It was the longest flight I ever had.
I never read anything about India before, I just saw a few pictures of their culture, so I didn’t know what to expect. I read a lot of blogs on how to stay safe, but walking through the airport didn’t seem so awful. Delhi’s airport is one of my favorites so far. I went through migration and got my passport stamped. I read that India has uber so I was going to use it, however when I got there I couldn’t connect my phone to wifi and I bought a sim card. The sim card was around $18, I thought it was cheap, but apparently, they scammed me at the cell phone company.
After waiting 30 minutes to get my phone working, I tried to book an uber but I couldn’t. I decided to take a prepaid cab, because I thought it was going to be safe. WORST MISTAKE EVER! I even paid around $20 for the cab (it was also a scam).
Long-story-short, this taxi driver started to ask many questions, about where did I book my hostel, how long ago, the name, etc etc etc. I told him “mm, I don’t remember where was it, I think it was like 6 months ago.” I gave him the wrong information because I couldn’t trust him that much. I was shocked about how many people was sleeping on the streets. It was just nuts. I can say that I saw at least 2000 people sleeping there or probably more. I finally realized that he was driving me around. I told him something like “it’s been a while, why haven’t we arrived yet?” and he replied “it’s late and confusing to me. We will be there soon”.
We finally got to the hostel, however the street was closed. It was 3:30am and my phone was dead. The driver offered me a call and asked for the hostel number. I called to the hostel and someone on the other side said that there was no room available for me. I was so pissed off. And I asked them why my bed wasn’t available? The person on the phone said “it’s not our problem, it’s from booking.com”. I told my driver that I booked my hostel from booking.com, but I didn’t. So this is when I knew something fishy was happening.
It was my first solo trip in a country overseas. I never read about rapes in India before. But, I grew up in Guatemala and you are definitely screwed when these things happen to you. The worst thoughts came to my mind. I was worried. I wanted to take my next flight back to New York. What have I done?
Well. I asked my driver to take me back to the airport and he said that he could get me a room in a nice hotel. I was like ‘f**k! I should have listened to my mom’. I took out my laptop and plugged my cellphone until it finally turned on. Thanks to the universe a guy that I met through Couchsurfing wrote me on fb before saying that he was in Delhi doing some businesses. I immediately wrote him. I know, it was 3:30 am but I needed to give it a try, right? He replied to my message and immediately called me. He spoke to the driver in Hindi so I couldn’t understand anything he said. I was just sitting on the back of the car thinking about how stupid I was for thinking I could do this by myself.
I finally spoke with my friend and he told me that he driver was going to drop me off at the New Delhi train station. It was 3:45am, maybe? What would I do in a train station by myself? So, I told the driver to take me to the airport. I’m stubborn. I normally don’t trust people. Anyways, my friend kept telling me to go to the train station because I was going to be safe there. I agreed to that.
It was 4am in the morning when I got there. A lot of people was sleeping on the floor. I couldn’t believe how poor was India. 15 minutes later, a man started to wake everyone up. He was so rude with them. People didn’t have energy to woke up. Whenever someone didn’t wake up, he would hit them with a stick. That was the worst experience ever. I wasn’t even thinking about what happened before. This was horrible. It really broke my heart.
I called to the hostel from my cellphone and they said I didn’t call before and that they’ve been waiting for me all night. My friend picked me up at 4:30 am and I was finally safe.
I seriously don’t know how the thing would have ended if it wasn’t for my friend. But I’m glad he was there. I made it through my first night in India, but I still wanted to go back to New York. I didn’t do it of course. I haven’t regreted my decision so far. Best thing I could’ve ever done.