Delhi is pretty polluted, the dry taste in my mouth remains. My body is healing but I need some fresh air. I wish I was in a better state to enjoy Delhi more. It’s an amazing place. I wish I could have stayed longer but I booked my ticket before I got ill. Tough shit matey, I had two days in Delhi and I made the most if it.
I went to the notorious backpacker area, Paharganj. I found the Hare Krishna Hotel that offered me a comfy bed, a TV and no bathroom facilities for 400R a night. This is cheap for Delhi. I pass out on the bed watching an old Bollywood movie.
The Main Bazaar attracts backpackers from all over the world, which in turn attracts lots of Indians, young and old, honest and thieving to the area to make some money. The main bazaar is full of small shops selling all types for Indians and for tourists. The tacky flashing lights and hustle and bustle excites me. It’s hectic, the rush of city life injects energy into my tired and weary body.
Outside the hotel, a crowd gathers. An older man publicly humiliates a pick pocket who’s clearly high on drugs. He beats him, dragging him up and down the road whilst waiting for the Police to arrive. With the crowd supporting his actions and everything in control, I walk down to New Delhi and jump on the super clean and efficient Metro.
The Metro is spotless and it actually works. I got a ticket in seconds and the train arrived immediately. Everybody speaks English fluently. Its just like the tube in London, just it’s brand new. Bravo. Well played.
At this point Delhi has blown away my expectations, it’s bloody great here. It’s a city. One I immediately like. It’s cleaner than Mumbai, the buzz is instant. It reminds me of London in many ways. I arrive at Connaught Place, Buildings from the Raj era stilling looking fabulous. There is a youth festival in the central park, the sun shines and people laze around. It’s London surely? It’s so clean and tidy, the people all seem middle class and very happy. It’s almost a little too perfect.
Connaught Place has many designer shops, Adidas, Nike, Benneton to name a few. Regular western food chains such as Costa, MacDonalds and KFC seem popular. I visit the Palika Bazaar, the Tibetan market and the cheaper Janpath Market. The produce varied but prices are high. Its a relaxed shopping experience, but not one I’d call authentically Indian.
I wondered down to India Gate. Took some pictures of the big old boy and posed for the Indians family snaps. The street sales people there were too much, outnumbering the amount of tourists that were there. With my patience thinning, I moved back to Connaught Place for an overpriced thali in an Indian fast food chain before watching a Bollywood movie, The Son of Sadhaar. It was excellently cheesy. I followed the Hindi quite well, the occasional English word guiding my attempts at understanding the limited story line The songs and the thrusting dance moves overly raunchy to the excitement of the audience. It was hilarious. The cinema was plush, really plush. The seats were adjustable and comfy to the extreme but the film was long and required a half time interval.
The day I leave to go to Goa I squeeze in a quick city tour by the Salaam Baalak Trust. A homeless children’s charity that won best NGO in India last year. The guide was excellent, the tour perfectly executed and the charity an efficient and well oiled machine that helps 5000 children everyday in Delhi alone. The tour explained how children end up on the street and it also explained how Salaam Baalak Trust helps them. The truth shocks sometimes, but the tour is fascinating. I donate and promise to watch the Oscar winning film ‘Saalam Bombay’, the inspiration for this charity. Check out the website, educate yourself.
Delhi rocks, I must return here. Next Destination = Goa.