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May 7, 2005, 2:00 AM. We arrived in Delhi. For three hours we were driven
around the dark and stinking slums of Old Delhi by our taxicab driver and
his "friend" who insisted variously that our hotel did not exist, was not
open, and was impossible to reach due to road construction. Only after
threatening to call the police (police? at 4:30 in the morning in impenetrable
darkness in an unknown city? who were we kidding?) did they "remember"
how to get to our hotel. It went downhill from there...

Traveling to India is not for sissies. India is a land where lepers, double-
amputees with suppurating wounds, and imploring mothers with wailing
babies surround your auto-rickshaw stalled in a traffic jam and thrust
their miseries in your face. It is a place of overpowering filth and fecality.
You name it, you're stepping over it or in it: canine, swine, elephantine,
human and especially bovine. Turn the heat up to 100 plus degrees and
throw in the ubiquity of the open-air urinal, and you're talking killer
miasma, baby.

The worst part of India may be the touts who descended like flies upon the
two of us in every train station and every street. They badgered us to buy
junk, tours, and rides, sometimes three or four or ten at a time, following
us for half an hour until they finally gave up and fell away. The word "no"
-- whether polite or angry, soft or screamed -- seemed only to be a request
for more information.