September 16th, 2006 – by: clearviews
Riding through the streets of Delhi
As soon as we land in Delhi we can smell it. It is the smell of lots of people living in a large city with millions of them very poor people. I had e-mailed the tour group "On the Go" to let them know that we were now coming in on a flight from Bahrain and not Abbu Dhabi and would be in at around 7 am just half an hour earlier than originally scheduled. A rep was there to meet us and we waited for a long time at the carousel for our bags only to spot them on the ground where someone had taken them off the carousel! Stepping outside it was hot and raining and we were pleasantly surprised to see the rain. A 45 minute trip with the driver and guide to our hotel took us through the most wretched of humanity.
Around the streets where our hotel in Delhi is!
People sleeping on the sides of the motorway, under the underpasses in jumbles of makeshift tents. We were prepared to see such sights but it was hard not to stare and wonder about their lives. In the lobby of our hotel we were given a glass of orange juice while they copied our passports and made sure the room was ready for us as we were very early. Once in, we sleep for several hours then have a very late lunch in a souless basement dining room in the hotel and it becomes obvious that they get the food from somewhere else. The power supply went off several times that evening and when it did we had to wait for the power to restart, step on the switch on a power box to restart the air-con unit in our window.
Next day we set out to find the nearby Channa Markets were and with some directions from the desk and a card in case we got lost, we were off.
Muslim inspired architecture
The streets were narrow and the cabling of electrics overhead was a mass of lines bunched, drooping and diverted every which way. We immediately attracted beggars, children and a multiple amputee. Found a shop selling cooked food that was turning over very fast and though I wasn't very hungry Andrew bought a plateful of stuff which included some yummy samosas. Didn't find the clothing I had hoped to find. Noted that the cafes advertised that they sold vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. Nowhere did I notice them advertise meat meals, just non-vegetarian meals!
In the evening we decided to try the restaurant on a corner near our hotel. Formica tables, dirty finger marks on the wall where the waiter went out back to the kitchen.
Our travel companions and Itul our guide
We take our bottled water from the corner store and they bring us tin mugs to drink it in. The food is wonderful, cheap and the waiter is able to tell Andrew that the meal he ordered might be a bit too spicy for us so we take his advice. I was amused to see Horlicks and Ovaltine on the drinks list which just shows perhaps how the British influence still remains here and there. I chose a fresh lime juice with soda and salt. The other possibility is fresh lime juice and soda, sweet, but my choice was very refreshing and our curries wonderful. We get spoons with our meals but the locals ( mostly young men) get theirs without. They get a stainless steel drinks tray with a serve of rice tipped onto the tray and their choice of curry in little stainless steel dishes which they stir into their rice and eat with their fingers. We decide that we would be hopeless trying to eat our meal this way and we are both left handed which we still think is not acceptable to put to mouth in the middle east and India too.
Off to bed as we have an early start to breakfast in the morning and we will then meet the other people on the tour.