Well, I didn't last too long in Chicago this time. With summer being just about over, not having a satisfactory living situation, and not owning a car, it really didn't make sense for me to stay in the city. I need a car to get out to the poker games, and I didn't feel like buying one, knowing that I'd be going out of the country again in the winter anyways. Renting one is needlessly expensive. So my thinking was basically this: I could be in Chicago, taking public transit to the poker game and living in my bandbox of a 'bedroom' or I could be in Goa (India), living on the beach for cheap, renting a scooter for a few dollars a day, and having easy access to good live poker games. I guess a lot of people were surprised I was leaving so soon, but it wasn't a particularly difficult choice for me.
So I booked my flight to Delhi for October 1. I was flying Qatar Airlines, which along with Emirates, are my favorite airlines to fly. And thanks to the fact they are subsidized by their respective governments, they are often the cheapest flights along with being some of the highest quality! Plus it only cost $400 for a one way flight. I actually could have gotten cheaper flying the other way around via Shanghai, but it's more flying time and Chinese airlines seem to have difficulty not losing my luggage, so I opted with Qatar Airlines.
After a farewell lunch of deep dish pizza my parents were nice enough to drop me off at the airport. Thirteen hours and three Fast and the Furious movies later, I was in Doha. Now I finally knew what I had been missing out on in the last few years! Although as bad as the F&F franchise is, mindless action entertainment is pretty good for killing time on a flight. I had about three hours to wait in Doha, which is a pretty cool airport, and then another four hours to Delhi.
Our flight got in at 1am, and you'd think that getting through immigration would be a breeze, but no no no. The lines for people with an e-visa were jammed. In the last few years India has made it possible to apply for a 2 month visa online, as opposed to the tedious practice of assembling and printing out all your documents and applying at the consulate. So that's good! But huge lines bad! It took about an hour to get through immigration. It's not that there are so many people, but it takes like 5 minutes per person for the guy to do whatever it is he's doing on the computer and then to take your photo, scan your fingertips and stuff. Come up with a quicker system India!
After I got my bag I started looking for a taxi and a guy asked if I was heading into the main bazaar area (I was) so we decided to get a taxi together. Actually his company was paying for the taxi, so he wouldn't even let me pay my half, so that was nice of him. I got to the guesthouse at 3am, had to wake up the guy behind the counter, and got to bed with enough time for a decent nights rest.
Delhi Trip Report up next!