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Delhi - Definitely not NZ

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Delhi - Definitely not NZ


There's certainly no doubt that Delhi's taking security very seriously.  I arrived at around 2am on Saturday morning, and was escorted by an armed guard past cutoms to a waiting area with several other armed guards and Aussie athletes.  I had a quick chat to one of their tennis players who was just as impressed as I was with the sheer amount of people on alert.

Security Check
AK47s are a common sight.

I was ushered out to a car with my own personal driver to take me to my hotel.  Driving in India is pure madness. 

We took the Commonwealth Games lane, which every truck driving seemed to be using, swerving in and out of traffic, tooting the horn and flashing our lights on full the whole way.  It soon became apparent my driver didn't know where we were going.  Luckily, there's armed guards every 100 metres from the airport to the city centre to ask directions. 

Finally, I arrived in my hotel at 5am where I was frisked down by some more army personnel before walking through a metal detector to get to reception.  After unpacking and a shower it was off to the main press centre to interview the netballers. I met another New Zealander at the hotel and jumped into a rickshaw. More madness on the roads pursued before being dropped off at the gate.  Another two security checkpoints and a sweaty ten minute walk later and I was at the press centre.  Right outside the main doors is a slum which houses four families with stray dogs a common sight.  No monkeys as yet.

After a day of collecting interviews it was off to the athletes village to see Irene Van Dyk named as our flag bearer.

Van Dyk
Irene getting some much deserved kudos.

If I thought security was tight for the media, it was Fort Knox for the athletes. Three thorough security checks were performed (not cavity searching thank God) and there is no doubt our team is safe.

The village itself is incredible.  A massive shopping mall surrounds the main stage where a group of 10 year-olds performed a dance for our athletes that could've been a Bollywood blockbuster. The training facilities are amazing (even if one of our weightlifters broke the floor when he dropped his bar) and, even though it's not the Ritz in terms of accommodation, our athletes are stoked. 

Took the train back home, packed in like sardines with the Delhi locals who are extremely kind and love saying hello, even if they're not really that helpful with information. No signs of any mosquitos as yet, so I'm avoiding dengue fever and I'm yet to try any local food which should keep me clear of any issues in my undies. 

In many ways, Delhi is the exact opposite of New Zealand, but so far, after 36 hours, I'm starting to feel at home.


John Day
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