From Delhi to Dubai: a lesson in contrasts.

New Delhi Travel Blog

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India Gate

I'm going to have to back up a few days because it's been difficult to get on the internet to keep up with everything's that been going on. So, let's see.....

Wednesday evening of last week I caught a 12 hour, overnight train from the blue city of Jodhpur (lots of the houses are painted a pretty blue color, hence the name) to Delhi. After spending the day taking in a massive fort overlooking Jodhpur, I was excited/nervous/worried about my train ride back to Delhi. I've never seen a sleeper train so wasn't sure what to expect.

Humayun's Tomb complex
Once I figured out where the train was and where to get on (this took a loooong time), I settled in. There were 6 bunks in each little "compartment" and mine was one of the two at the very top. The ceiling wasn't high enough to sit up while in the bed, so I sat down underneath and got to know some of my bunkmates. After a bit I climbed up and managed to catch a few hours of sleep, despite being a bit cold because I was right under the AC vent.

I woke up around 6 and spent the last hour of the ride looking out the window. It wasn't such a pretty sight. Along the last 15 or so miles into Delhi I caught a glimpse of the real poverty of India (another note: I read that about 44% of Indian children are malnourished, compared to 22% in sub-saharan Africa). Rooms, most no bigger than a typical bathroom in the States, were haphazardly piled one on top of another with ladders and ropes providing access.

Humayun's Tomb complex
Sheets, plastic wrapping, and metal scraps composed the roofs and some of the walls. I saw a few lightbulbs here and there, but that was about the extent of the electricity. There was no plumbing either as hundreds of people were squatting on the tracks to relieve themselves as we came by. The real gut-kicker, though, were the children. It seemed like 3 out of every 5 people I saw were young children, under the age of 10. They were everywhere. It was a really sad thing to see.

I finally arrived in Delhi and wanted to try taking the subway to the area I needed to go. It's relatively new, clean, and not nearly as crowded as the streets above. I had to go through a metal detector and have my bag scanned before entering, probably due to the bombs that had gone off in Delhi the week before.

Humayun's Tomb complex
I got to my stop, got out, and proceeded to walk in circles for about 5k with my 40 pound backpack through the 90 degree heat. Finally I found a dive of a hotel, but for an extra buck I was given a tv and I recovered from my "walk" while watching a movie on one of the 4 English channels.

The rest of the day was spent lounging about and shopping for souvenirs. Wasn't too bad of a day and I wasn't harrassed nearly as much as my first day there. I must have given off a bit of a more "seasoned India traveler " vibe.  Maybe. Or maybe I just looked too irritated for anyone to waste their time messing with me. :)

At 4:30 in the morning I caught some van "taxi" to the airport. At least I made it. After an hour of waiting in line (but there were only 13 people in front of me at the beginning.

Humayun's Tomb complex
Figure that out.) I managed to check my bags and get my ticket and next thing I know, we're off. It wasn't exactly a full flight, however, as I only counted 36 people on board. Yeah, talk about a carbon footprint. I left one the size of Rhode Island on that flight. Yikes. 

We flew over an eternity of sand that stretched on forever until I thought it would never end. Then, however, we began our approach to Dubai. I was spellbound. I absolutely could not believe it. Seemingly springing up from the desert itself was the most amazing city I've ever seen. Man-made islands and lagoons wrapped it all up in a turquoise blueish color that was as beautiful as it was impressive. Billion dollar buildings and hotels stretched as far as I could see. This was Dubai, what will soon become (although I think it already is) the most impressive modern city the world has ever known.

From the heartwrenching poverty of Delhi to the ridiculous overindulgence of Dubai; it was quite the contrast and something I'll always keep with me.

More to follow.
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India Gate
India Gate
Humayuns Tomb complex
Humayun's Tomb complex
Humayuns Tomb complex
Humayun's Tomb complex
Humayuns Tomb complex
Humayun's Tomb complex
Humayuns Tomb complex
Humayun's Tomb complex
Humayuns Tomb complex
Humayun's Tomb complex
Humayuns Tomb complex
Humayun's Tomb complex
New Delhi
photo by: peeyushmalhotra