Farewell to India. Phew!!!

New Delhi Travel Blog

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The Red Fort

So for once our arrival in an Indian city went totally smoothly. The first sign we saw as we walked out of the arrivals hall had our name on it and the super friendly Ramu was our driver sent by our hotel. He was fantastic, really friendly and chatty driving us along and we thought how brilliant India would have been if a few more of it's inhabitants had been as friendly and welcoming. As we were chatting with Ramu we found out he was actually Nepali! Of course that explained it.

On the way to our hotel a huge cavalcade of cars with sirens and flashing lights passed by loaded up with machine gun toting uniforms and Ramu informed us it was the Dalai Lama. Not that we got a look at him but it made our journey a bit quicker as Ramu tacked on the end of the line and it was as if we had our own police escort into town.

The Red Fort

Our first impressions of Delhi were very favourable, much cleaner than most of the India we'd seen and generally a much less threatening feeling. Even around our hotel which was near the Red Fort and Jama Masjid Mosque was okay. A little dirty and hectic but navigable.

Our Hotel was called the Tara Palace and we'd totally recommend it to any Delhi bound people. Fairly expensive at R's 1800 but totally worth it for the cockroach free and clean environment. The only negative about the place was the two bellboys who were really overbearing regarding tips and although the hotel was a 'dry' hotel and signs clearly said no alcohol allowed one of them was constantly asking if we wanted any beer or whiskey.

The Red Fort

Our plan had been to take a day trip to the Taj by train but Steph had gone down with India Fever and wasn't well enough for a big day of travel so we had to cancel our tickets and headed for the Red Fort instead. Not sure how it happened but we ended up inside without having bought a ticket which was a bit weird. As you queue up to pass through a security scanner there is a soldier in a sentry box with a full on machine gun pointing at the queue. It was the first time we haven't seen the locals pushing and shoving. The fort itself was fairly impressive but not that great really and as usual there had to be something to spoil it. We went to a stallholder to buy a bottle of water which was R's 20 and when trying to pay he had no change!!! This is so common in India it's no wonder so many people are hard up.

The Jain Temple near our hotel
If that's their level of business acumen then the supposed emergence of India as an economic power might be quite a while coming. What with the chocolates for change incidents we had in Goa you have to question how they hope to make it.

It was 38 degrees when we left so we decided to jump in an auto rickshaw which we negotiated a decent price for and set off for an area called Connaught Place. At the first set of traffic lights we were accosted by one of the usual beggar kids but this one had a bit more menace about her. Now it may be that we are cold hearted bastards but why should we give our money to these kids? There are millions of them in India and what is their government doing for them? How is it a tourists responsibility to assume the caring role that a government is failing at? A recent list of the ten richest people in the world contained no fewer than FOUR Indians.

The pathway leading to the Jama Masjid Mosque
What are they doing about it? As a tourist you are already bringing in foreign currency and the Indians certainly do their best to extract every bit of it that they can by fair means or mostly foul. So our policy from the get go has been help the animals and leave the people to their government as it should be!! This little urchin though was a real piece of work!! First she was touching Adam which in India is the last thing you want anyone to do let alone some bedraggled dirty street kid. Then when it was made abundantly clear that she would be getting nothing from us she picked a nit or lice out of her hair and made to throw it at us. I think that the clenched fist she spotted detered her but she wiped her hand on Adam's leg before going around the rickshaw and pinching Steph on the arm.
The Jama Masjid Mosque

Connaught Place was another disappointment, and the internet place we went in takes the title of slowest internet in the world. Another rickshaw later and another unsuccessful begger showing us the oozing sore on her leg we headed back towards our hotel. We passed by the Mosque which looked nicer from afar than it did up close then decided that we'd had more than enough of India and went back to our room to count down the hours until our departure. They couldn't go by quickly enough!!!!

We were up at 2.30 in the morning to get ourselves to the airport and the drive there was a very happy one. The prospect of leaving filled us both with joy and even the sight of the thousands of people sleeping on the pavements, rickshaws, roads etc didn't dent our elation.  Of course the airport was being rebuilt or renovated whatever, so it was probably the worst we've been through in all our travels but again it made no difference. Feeling like two prisoners being released from jail we boarded the plane and high fived as the wheels lifted off the tarmac and India was in our past.

esposabella says:
I thought you were quite kind, i hated Delhi but loved the rest of India. Wasnt bothered by the beggers but by the unwanted stares from the male population
Posted on: Nov 30, 2010
rosspaulrobinson says:
I really enjoyed your blog. Its pretty miserable but well written and fuuny in so many places.

You hear of these sorts of experiences so often from Western Europeans, especially from women.

I am scheduled to go to India for December this year and will be very sad if I find out it is this bad as I know so many great Indians that have emigrated to the UK.
Posted on: Oct 08, 2008
o_mendfornd says:
It's so nice to see someone writing honestly about India. You get so many people trotting out the "India's so spiritual" line, and making you feel bad for having been extremely irritated by it all. There _are_ some good things in India, and you write about them in your blog alongside all of the rubbish, which is the right approach in my opinion. Just because there are a few nice things doesn't mean you have to say it's all great and decry anyone who says otherwise. Bravo! Keep up the good work!
Posted on: May 28, 2008
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The Red Fort
The Red Fort
The Red Fort
The Red Fort
The Red Fort
The Red Fort
The Jain Temple near our hotel
The Jain Temple near our hotel
The pathway leading to the Jama Ma…
The pathway leading to the Jama M…
The Jama Masjid Mosque
The Jama Masjid Mosque
The Jama Masjid Mosque
The Jama Masjid Mosque
View from the plane bound for Germ…
View from the plane bound for Ger…
Adam happy to be on the plane!
Adam happy to be on the plane!
New Delhi
photo by: peeyushmalhotra