Riding Around in Circles
New Delhi Travel Blog› entry 16 of 41 › view all entries
Today I decided to try the breakfast buffet in the hotel. It all looked different to me, but I wanted to be open-minded and try new foods. I took a little bit of the Poori-Bhaji flour balls and what I think is potato sauce and Poja, which tasted somewhat like seasoned rice. I also had some Aloo Parantha. These are flattened flour patties (not sure the description gives it justice - it's sort of like fried dough, but not as sweet).
I also placed on my plate, what in my opinion seemed safe - fruit. I figured if I don't like any of the other stuff, I'd have fruit for breakfast.
Let me tell you! The Indian breakfast was excellent. The fuit, however, was not so good. It was old. That was the worst cantelope and watermelon I've ever had. It was interesting to me that I what I thought would be safe, wasn't safe at all.
I booked my trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal with the hotel concierge and then decided to venture out.
I had two things in mind that I wanted to see. I wanted to see the Lotus Temple and Iskcon Temple. I thought I would try to stop a tuk-tuk to take me to these two places.
Here is where the adventure started. For some reason, all the tuk-tuks had people in them. So the only thing I was able to stop was a man on bicycle (these are in abundance for transportation) with a small carriage behind it for people. I showed the bike "driver" exactly where I wanted to go on a map. First stop - Lotus Temple. He nodded like he knew my destination. According to my guide book it's about 1.
The bike driver did not speak English, but somehow we agreed to a fee of 40 rupees and I got in the carriage of the bike. It was a bumpy ride. I felt every single crack on the pavement and let me remind you the roads are heavily damaged.
The bike driver stopped a handful of times to ask for directions. Along the way he hit a car and the guy yelled at him. After approximately 20 minutes of going in circles, I told him to let me off. I'm not sure how he understood but he did. He tried to charge me 10 Rupees, but I looked up and realized traffic there was horrific, so I asked him to take me back to the hotel before paying him.
When we got to the hotel, he tried to charge me 40 Rupees. I was frustrated because I was being charged for going nowhere!!! I literally was in the same spot where he initially picked me up. What kind of service was this?
So I started to tell him in English, which he didn't understand, that he didn't take me anywhere really. Then I realized he probably needed the 40 Rupees more than me. I just handed it over.
I went into the hotel lobby and got the gentleman at the concierge desk to stop a tuk-tuk for me. The tuk-tuk driver was nice. He took me to the Lotus Temple and overcharged me for the ride. I only know this because the fee I paid yesterday was the same and the tuk-tuk yesterday took me at least 3 or 4 times the distance. But I was so grateful he was able to get me to the Lotus Temple, I decided 100 Rupees was fine.
He also didn't speak English, but somehow I got him to wait for me while I visited the temple. I tried to speak to him in English, Spanish, French. No luck. I guess he still understood, because when I came out of the temple, he was waiting for me.
I showed him the other location I wanted to visit, and he looked confused. I was frustrated so I asked him to just take me to the hotel again.
He was trying to be nice. He saw me taking pictures and at one point, when I was getting ready to take a picture, he realized a car moved right in front of my view, so he moved his tuk-tuk up for me so I could take the desired picture. He asked me my name. At least that's what I think he was asking. He kept saying, "My name is..." I didn't get it at first, but then I realized he was leaving the end blank for me to fill in with my actual name.
I got to the hotel lobby and decided I need to just book a day tour of Delhi with the hotel. I don't know why I didn't think of that earlier. But I think it's the best way. What was I thinking? I think I often times try to be too independent. But I'd rather spend the money and really see Delhi and not take risks with the tuk-tuk drivers who don't know their way around well, and who don't understand English (or Spanish... or French for that matter).
The hotel receptionist told me they would book a tour for me tomorrow night for Friday during the day for only 30 dollars! Wow! That's cheap. I should have done that to begin with. But at least I can say I've traveled like the locals do around here. I will take a tour on Friday to see the city of Delhi with a personal chauffeur.
I'm excited to visit the Taj Mahal tomorrow. I will go prepare myself now by reading up on its history.