Day 2: Exploring My Surroundings

New Delhi Travel Blog

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My driver paying the fee to enter Uttar Pradesh
Thursday, August 6th, 2009

New Delhi is a combination of New York, Mars, and a decades old landfill. Some of the garbage which lines every street is embedded five times over into the street tar. It is part of the city and it is everywhere. I slept late until 10am when I was woken by a call from Vivek. I read a copy of the Hindustani Times by the pool until the car I had hired for the day arrived. It took approximately one hour to reach Vivek's wife's factory in Noida, a large city in the Uttar Pradesh (UP) state. I took a quick tour of the facility and headed to lunch with Vivek at a nice Indian/Thai fusion restaurant next to a McDonalds. Vivek confirmed my suspicions that I was crazy for coming to India without an itinerary.
Vivek's factory.
He put me in touch with his travel agent who sent me a sample itinerary for the next two weeks. I decided not to travel that way, against Vivek's advice since I felt the route and accommodations were too touristy. All I know at this point is that Jaipur is my next stop.

After lunch I had my driver take me to the Red Fort in Old Delhi. I figured I should bite the bullet and be a tourist for a day since I had no idea when a similar opportunity would come my way. The driver pulled up in front of a long line of people waiting for the bus and I hopped out. He said he'd be back in two hours and sped off leaving my disoriented and in a crowd of people. Immediately I was mobbed by young children, barely clothed, begging for rupees.

It's hard to say no, but I had done my research prior to coming and knew that giving anything would result in an endless mobbing.
Lahore Gate entrance to Red Fort
I pushed through the crowd and made my way to the entrance. Red Fort is massive and was filled with South Indian tourists. It's so hot, I don't blame Westerners for refraining from visiting India during these monsoon months. I have not yet purchased any trinkets or souvenirs but am sure I will load up before leaving Delhi. After I toured the fort, I sat down on the side of the road to wait for my car. A 10 year old by named Annil came up and sat down next to me. He understood English so we spoke for a bit about tourism in India. I ended up giving him 20 rupees and half of my protein bar lunch. After that exchange he opened up a bit and began telling me about the tourist hustle. Hilarious. Annil told me how him and his friends would show Western tourists to the locker room under the pretense that it was necessary to check your bag before entering the fort.
Indians waiting to enter Red Fort. Tourists are allowed to enter through an express line.
The locker room staff would tip them out at the end of the day. I was sad to hear both of his parents were gone and had left him with three sisters and an older brother.

I rode back to the hotel exhausted and smoked too many cigarettes by the pool. I swore I was going to quit, and I had done a pretty good job up until India but it's too tempting here with everyone around me lighting up. I spoke to Anurag at Nagarro and was pleased to hear they had arranged for me to be picked up in the morning. I am going to head back down to the pool for a few minutes to smoke another cigarette and try to meet some of the people I have seen around the hotel. I can't believe I go back to school in 20 days!

Went down to the pool again for one last smoke before bed and had a very nice conversation with a German businessman and his Nepalese son-in-law Roger who was 24. Back in my room now about to go to sleep. I set up an 8:30am wake up call and am going to read a bit before bed. The last of my Western food and water is gone, I expect to suffer from the dreaded Delhi Belly tomorrow night.
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My driver paying the fee to enter …
My driver paying the fee to enter…
Viveks factory.
Vivek's factory.
Lahore Gate entrance to Red Fort
Lahore Gate entrance to Red Fort
Indians waiting to enter Red Fort.…
Indians waiting to enter Red Fort…
Snapped a nice shot of the roof of…
Snapped a nice shot of the roof o…
Embroidery
Embroidery
I forget the name of this, but my …
I forget the name of this, but my…
Inside the Fort
Inside the Fort
The road to Noida
The road to Noida
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New Delhi
photo by: peeyushmalhotra