Trompe le Monde: A Round the World Tour Diary

An online travel diary so people can keep up to date with what I'm doing and where I'm going.

Name:
Location: Home, United Kingdom

You all know who I am, I assume.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Delhi

I can't be bothered right now to go into details about the journey to Delhi, but suffice it to say it was long and jetlagging and I and Trev and both our bags arrived without a hitch.
Stepping out of Delhi airport, the heat, the humidity and the smell hit you. We got a taxi and went to our hostel. Traffic in Delhi, though, is not so simple. In fact it's completely crazy. In terms of concern for road safety, and respect for any kind of system of staying in lane, Delhi is literally about 5 times worse than Rome. Everyone cuts each other up all the time, beeps constantly, tailgates, undertakes - in short it's pretty much like the city's cars, buses, rickshaws, autorickshaws and cyclists are playing a giant multiplayer game of Grand Theft Auto.
Having arrived in the area in which our hotel, the lovely Smyle Inn. Our room is reasonably cool (thank God!) and at around a quid fifty a night you can't complain. To get to the hotel though we had to wander through Paharganj with packs on our backs, occasionally needing to pause to look at a guidebook or stare in wonder at the cows roaming wild in the street.
To say we attracted a few helpful locals eager to ease our journey by steering us into one hotel or another would be an understatement. Saying no to them is hard at first, because if someone comes up to you seemingly trying to be helpful you feel a bit rude. After a few hours in Delhi, though, it's second nature to completely blank pretty much all of the "Hello sir!" cries. The problem is that if such touting was restricted to one area of the city it would be ok, but it's everywhere you go. Combined with the heat, humidity, choking dust, live animals, noise, traffic and sheer pavement-with-great-big-holes-in-it squalor, the effect is somewhat tiring, especially to a man already jetlagged.
Mind you, the fact that touting does occur all the time means you soon get used to it. In order to get away for a bit we went to see the Janter Manter, an old Indian astrological site where it was nice and cool (ish) and where we were only hassled briefly by a man claiming to be the official guide.
The other thing to get away from it is to sit in our room with both fans on full blast, a 10 Rupee straight-from-the-fridge litre bottle of water in hand. Mind you it's doing that that led me to fall asleep for some hours this afternoon until about quarter to five. Though it's not really surprising - I had been awake for over 24 hours. I just hope I can sleep tonight.
This evening I expect we shall go and sample some local cuisine, being doubtless hassled en route, and then tomorrow it's probably time to start the sightseeing.

2 Comments:

Blogger Shall said...

Sam, just a gentle reminder, at some point on your first day, you were meant to call my cousin so she could show you around. She had taken an afternoon off work for this purpose....but says you didn't call or email her. shame on you!

In other news, I hope you realise that my warnings were all true. Especially about the traffic...got chased across the road by a cow once, into the side of an entire family on a motorbike...hmmmm

October 7, 2004 at 1:28 PM  
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