Guest House Reception
Arrived in Delhi
in the wee early hours very bleary eyed. Jeeeee feel like crap, maybe jumping around getting covered in beer at the Greenday gig in London the night before was not the best of ideas after all. But it was fun..Relieved to see my backpack appear on the carousel, always nervous about this now after spending 10 days in Mexico last year with no clothes! I have to add this was my 11kg, trek-ready lightpacking effort yay! Not quite in the hand-luggage only league yet but still very happy to pack so light.
Anyway, Delhi, after 2 hours sleep in 2 nights, 17 hours travelling (including transfer at Doha) just seemed like a fantastic time to meet my fellow travellers for the next couple of weeks.
Old Delhi Street Scene
Nidhi,from Agra, was there at the airport to meet us. Then there was me and my travel buddy Lindsay, four couples and a single guy about our age, Rob, who only happened to be a blimmin scientist too, weird huh! Anyway we kind of adopted him, or something like that, might have been the other way around.
Desperate for my bed, only half conscious, didn't notice too much about the guest house in New Delhi
other than it had a cute, highly decorative reception, me and Lindsay were sharing a double bed, (hope we get along, never spent this much time together before) and the bathroom was a bit minging (Indian style- two buckets one large one small for washing yikes!) After sleeping like a log and completely missing breakfast, was so happy to discover that there was actually a shower after all (man must have been very tired night before).
Jama Masjid Mosque
Little did I know this was to be one of the very few warm showers during the trip and enjoyed it so much didn't realise that the water was escaping round the side of the bath and completely flooding the floor ooops! Welcome to the first of many bathroom 'mishaps' while in India! My new super douper micro-fibre towel sat there soaked through, very heavy, these things really can take a lot of water, but not quite enough this time! Pushed as much of the water as I could down the little drain/insect entrance hole and left to explore Delhi.
Walking around the streets and markets of Old Delhi, I honestly did not feel the culture shock that everyone warns of. Sure everything was different, chaotic, busy, dirty in places, obvious poverty, but I have seen similar in other places I have been say in Latin America or SE Asia, only on a much smaller scale.
One begger on the streets of Delhi did completely break my heart. A guy on all fours, maybe from polio I don't know, but the way he looked at me, sad sad eyes, his spine bent in what looked like extremely painful angle, don't think I will ever forget, why was no-one there to look after him?. Don't want to detail here the suffering I saw and I feel a bit ashamed to say but you very quickly have to harden to these kind of sights when in India otherwise you would be an emotional wreck. Briefly visited Jama Masjid, largest mosque in India, it was OK. Then India gate, a World War I memorial, which was in a lovely chilled out park full of beautiful Indian people wearing colourful saris and smart suits. What struck me about the people was their immaculate way of dressing. Even on the construction sites, for which there were many due to commonwealth games being held here next year, ladies, yes ladies wearing immaculate saris and carrying bricks on their heads amongst the grime and dust!
Curry number2 that evening (after curry for lunch) consisted of random dishes off the menu which we shared between me, Linds and Rob.
India Gate Park
Paneer Tikka (spicy grilled cottage cheese) sounded disgusting but was actually rather nice, then a selection of jalfrezis, fresh naan and roti (chapati). Made the mistake ordering red wine, it was more like sherry nothing subtle about it atall. I couldn't even finish it, ended up with a bottle of Kingfisher beer, damnit, then back to hotel for a couple of cheeky whiskeys thinking 'don't we need to get up at 4am to catch a train somewhere? Oh what the hell...' Fell asleep as soon as head hit pillow again but woken up less than 2 hours later with what sounded like a Bollywood 'party' in a nearby room. Then, that was it, music, dogs barking and jetlag meant a very shit nights sleep, not what I really needed seeing as we had that 4am start to catch the train to Jaipur!