Confessions of a Dirty Traveller

New Delhi Travel Blog

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Confessions of a Dirty Traveller...

So... we hopped on the 16.40 train from Mumbai BST (central) to New Delhi and fought our way through the mumble of passengers to grace the seats of our dusty carriage with our presence. We were lower bunks so it meant that after sandwiching our bags under a bench we had to squish onto our beds where hot bodies melted all around us... niceeeee! We shared our 6 berth 3ac carriage with a young man from delhi who worked for a shipping company, an advertising executive student from the US and two elder indian gentleman. It was cosy but we made do. The train journey was long and tiresome but not as long as the one we are expected to undertake today-anything between 38 and 44 hours (they don't do specifics in india!) The Rajdhani express was a clean and comfy train and we were fed better on here than we were on the aeroplane-hmmmph..! good ol' british airways, eh?? first were the snacks and cake, then the soup, coffee, water, apple juice, samosas, thali and juice then gum, mouth fresheners and breakfast which started with an omelette and juice-we were stuffed and after 21 hours (they lied about the time it took) we waddled off with our bags in tow and scuttled from new delhi railway station.

In New Delhi there was panic and fear in the people's eyes and everywhere we went we were told to leave and go home for our safety. Some people even told us that the bomb blast was near our hotel, either way-it was not safe for us to roam the streets so a kindly railway enquiries man helped us struggle to a rickshaw and sent us on our way to the tourist information centre for tourists where we breathed a sigh of relief for comfy chairs and blasting air con once more. We sat in wait as he clicked on his computer but no tickets were available up to agra and so we were well and truly stuck until our knight in shining armour came (the driver with the white car and flashing lights) and rescued us from our rut and offered to take us to Agra, for a fee, obviously but it seemed like the safest and best way to go. Looking like a lion tamer or safari guy, all dressed in white he opened doors, warned us of dangers and made us smile for the entire weekend while keeping us safe. Our hotel in new delhi was in the slum area, funny that... they didn't mention that on hostelworld or in the guide book plus the air con cut off every 5 minutes... ooh... we really had hit on luxury this time but least it was better than chembur.

After a quick wash and a bit of cable tv watching of indian idol, we endeavoured on a city tour with said driver.. humayan's tomb, mahatma gandhi museum, parliament building, lotus temple and another one that we can't remember the name of! We had to take our shoes off at the temples but it was like dancing on hot coals-not pretty and looks like you're a bit drunk, we sat and meditated (looked bored) until we couldn't bear the heat no more and so scuttled off with our tails between our legs! The thing I don't get about inida is that we are not allowed to be racist and yet is it not racist to charge us 25x what the typical indian pays!? and then tourist tax on top of that!? hmmmm.... after our day trip we hopped, skipped and jumped over to an internet cafe but again i had a cruddy computer so the most i could do was book a hostel in goa-whoop-de-dooo!

That night we settled down in our twin beds NOT double this time and watched a movie while ordering room service, beneath the window you could see the people in the slums working by candlelight making handicrafts or relaxing for the night while children cried-it was awful! That night we had THE worst sleep and it involved a man. We both had the feeling that a man was in our room but we never dare check cos surely we would hear him but it was very disturbing and we both commented on how uncomfortable we felt the next day... very strange. Bright and early to rise the next morning, we set off at 8am on a 4-5hour train journey to agra in our air conditioned vehicle, on the way the driver stopped off to go to the tax office and the next thing i knew after lifting my heavy eyelids there was a monkey pulling the doorhandle trying to get in the car, guided by a rough looking gentleman, of course... then came an old man playing a pipe and out of the basket whispered a cobra, lindsay thought i was having a laugh until she saw it with her own eyes, soon after, the driver chased them off before we continued our journey stopping at the odd temple or mosque until we hit agra.

Agra, well... what can you say?? it's busy, beautiful and a little bit mysterious, at first sight the people seem friendlier but you definitely get hassled a lot more and people do not take no for an answer! We set our stuff down in what at first appearance was a beautiful hotel but it looked like something had died in the bath, it was brown and crusty and had holes everywhere so effectively a sieve then.. we dumped our belongings and then headed for agra fort, apparently 2km in size and yet you can barely do one!! We trudged through the fort trigger happy like true tourists under the blistering heat and found that we weren't the only westerners in the village ;) We stood on balconies photographing the taj mahal from what seemed like a touch away but was in fact a million miles! In certain areas of the fort you have to take your shoes off but i was dancing on the floor like a fool again-damn flip flops-going to start being a proper tourist and wearing socks with mine so i don't get scorch marks on my feet!!

After the fort we headed for food at the tsr and had a vegetarian thali which was set on a tray with several different compartments and was in fact the best food we had tasted so far that was actually indian. After chatting with the owner we hobbled away and back to the hotel just in time for shaun the sheep reruns-oh yeah, they do actually play that in india, yeeees... i know, dead cool! Then we went shopping for the afternoon. I was very reluctant parting with my money and opted to stay away from buying trinkets done in gold paint.. lindsay opted for a jade elephant at 30 pounds but perhaps it may be worth something in england. After another restless night in our our newest hotel, we packed up once more and set sail for the taj mahal.. you're not allowed mp3's in there but mobile phones are fine, whaaaat!? how does that work!? they provide you with what look like shower caps but for your feet so they are covered while inside but to be honest the taj was a bit of a disappointment. It is beautiful to look at and the grounds are gorgeous but the inside was a cop out-nothing really to see and only about a couple of metres squared.

Then onto the mini taj which had more to see anbd do but the people again hassle you to the extreme for money. When in the mini taj we met a lancashire couple, middle aged and the guy was mocking me for not giving a tip until i came back from the mosque to find my stuff in tact, i promised faithfully and said but mate, i'm a yorkshire lass-honest as they come and we began chatting about stuff to do with home. I asked if he knew skipton and out came his reply... the famous pie shop!! how on earth does everyone know bloody stanforths!? not the castle, not the canal but a pie shop-random! then the rain began to fall with droplets the size of my head pelting the car-i guess that's why they call it monsoon season, eh!? Coming out of the main taj a child wanted my lock, interesting to know that the lock was the first thing they noticed about me, eh!? i think not. Anyway, today i am off to goa so you won't hear from me for 2 days but will keep you all updated. oh and i am tanned now-like a bloody beetroot!!!

adios amigos xxx
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New Delhi
photo by: spocklogic