I arrived New Delhi’s premier gateway, the Indira Gandhi International Airport pass 11pm taking a flight from Bangkok. Flight duration is approximately 4 hours.
I did not avail of a pre-arranged airport pick up transfers. I have known that there are a lot of scams at the IGI Airport – that even the police or licensed airport taxi operators would rip you off. Even the hostel I was staying has advised me to be very careful as I might be trapped into the usual scams. It sounded scary but I did not mind. There was even a story I read that the Police and airport taxi drivers will even say that the hotel/guesthouse has just been burned, location is far and not safe, its not nice there, etc etc. and they will offer you another one, of course their own contact. Another story I read is that they will offer you some drinks, then you fall asleep and you wake up still at the airport with your things no longer with you. So there, I got a licensed airport taxi, showed him the address I am going to, called my host to instruct the driver how to reach his place easily, asked an estimate how much will it cost me and how long the ride will be, then off we go. The taxi by the way is metered. Indians speak English very well. The driver is friendly. He was acting ala-tour guide. I was happy. I said to myself the scam is not true.
After almost an hour, I asked him if it’s still far and he replied he doesn’t know the place already! Then I told him he has to call my host and he did. They talked in local language and he seems to know how to get there. And I asked again, do you know the place and he said yes. He continued driving through narrow bumpy streets, dim lights to no lights, garbage everywhere, drunk guys walking, dogs, cats, rats as big as puppies freely running the streets, etc. I got a little scared but I said to myself, this is India and the worse is here. Out of curiosity I asked him, is this the way going there? And he said he is lost! Haha. I told him to call my host again, they talked and I talked to my host also. My host was asking me where are we, of course I answered I do not know! Then he talked to the driver again, gave some instructions, etc. He continued driving, stopped 3 or 4 times to ask people on the street how to get to my host.
After almost 2 hours we arrived at my guesthouse! I paid 2,500 Rupees as reflected in the meter. And the driver even asked a tip after all that has been! At the airport the driver told me its about 45 minutes and cost 900 Rupees. The same thing my host has told me in an email. I was expecting the same or at least close to that. I argued but what can I do.
Hahaha. All the while I thought I survived the first scam but I was wrong. Lesson of the story: its better to experience it yourself than just hearing other’s experiences. Lol! Seriously, stay calm and don’t panic.