I arrived in Delhi just after lunch - there was a taxi driver sent by the hostel waiting to pick me up. The taxi looked like any normal taxi with 2 front seats - just a couple of diferences - my seat wasn't attached to the floor and the seat belt was only attached at one end. Great. I'm probably going to die to Delhi! On the drive to the hostel we passed an Indian wedding - it was so colourful with so many people, drummers and horses. The hostel was in a back strret in the middle of the bizaar - a crazy maze of dirt tracks with hundreds of people selling everything imaginable, and rickshaws, ox carts and bicycles all josteling for space.
My room smelled the same as the one in Mumbaii -maybe its something they put in the drains in India?? My first port of call wasto the main train station and book a ticket to Agra for tomorrow.
The train station
Its only 5 minutes from the hostel but as soon as I stepped out of the door I was accosted by everyone in Delhi - 'rickshaw madame?'; 'scarf madame?'; 'where are you going madame?''; 'where are you from?'. It was really annoying and added to the unbelievable heat, dust and traffic was almost unbearable. My eyes were streaming and my nose and throat were burning - I was finally in the India I had read about! After sorting my ticket at the station I headed to Connaught Place to look around. Once again I was accosted from all sides with a parade of rickshaws following me slowly down the road. A boy about my age started walking with me asking questions. I took the line of totaaly ignoring him until he explained that he wasn't trying to sell me anything, he was student and wanted to practice his English. Feeling very guilty and rude for ignoring him I allowed a conversation to develop with caution. He asked me where I was going and when I said to the market he told me that there was a much better market that he could take me to that he pointed out on the map. So off we headed in a different direction. As we walked he kept saying that I should buy Indian clothes as this would help me to blend in and stop people from bothering me. After about the 5th time he said this I started to twig that he was not the helpful & friendly student he was making out to be but someone employed to pull tourists into his familys/friends shop. Pissed off that everyone seems to be trying to trick me anf rip me off in this town I abbruptly stopped and said 'you know what - I don't have any money to go shopping - I'm kust going to head home'. I turned around and marched off with my new friend running behind me begging me to reconsider. Once he realised that his plan had been foiled, he changed tactics and offered to take me to the tourist information centre that was on the way that I was going anyway. Not seeing a way that I could ripped off in a tourist information centre I agreed to go in. It was obvious as soon as we walked in that my friend knew the people in there - I smelled a scam. Sitting down with he guy who waorked there, he spent a good 15 mins trying the sell me a bus tour of Northern India before he would no for an answer. Then he looked at the train tickets I had bought to Agra the next day and with a very concerned look on his face had told me that the class I had booked was completely unsuitable for me - as a western girl travelling alone I would be eaten alive he said. He offered to upgrade my tickets for me - for a fee of course. By this time I was through with people prentending to be helpful in order to extract money from me so I just left. My new friend didn't follow - he'd obviously earned his commission by getting me through the door.
Despite those guys being total con artists I couldn't help but be worried about what they had said about the class of train ticket I had booked, so I headed back to the train station to see if I could upgrade them. In the ticket office I explained my concerns and the guy behind the counter looked at me like I was mad. Besides, there were no upgrades available. I was going to have to deal with what I had.
Later on that evening I headed to a restaurant recommended on the internet (so hopefully the food is safe!). It was a really nice place and I was enjoying some really delicious food when an American guy sat down next to me and started talking. His name was Brad and he was in Dehli in business. He told me all about his life - he went to college on a football scholorship, then went to Iraq with the army before getting a job at the US embassy in Uzbekistan. He spoke loads of different languages and seeme dto have read every book in the world so we had a good conversation for a couple of hours before heading our seperate ways. It was late and the walk home was in the dark. It made me a bit nervous but it was actually the least hassle I've had since I got here - no-one can see you are white in the dark!