A bit of a delay for this post, wifi has been sporadic and mainly in hotel receptions, but here we go!
Our first day was pretty tough, the road outside our hotel was more of an alley, and the main road was mad, the heat and humidity, cars, motorbikes and tuk tuks all jostling for space between the people as there were no pavements, add to that the large number of wild dogs roaming around, the smells (good and bad), child beggars and hawkers, it seemed a tough place to be a tourist. Fortunately the Delhi Metro was only a couple of hundred meters from our hotel, and that is exceptional, far better than the tube, modern regular trains all air conditioned so a welcome escape from the heat. we got out at Connaught place, in New Delhi as it seemed the logical centre and it looked like we could walk to most of what we wanted to see from there. Obviously we looked like gullable tourists to Delhi, because within 10 minutes we had been accosted 5 times, everyone seemingly keen for us to go to a tax free mall, instead we found a tourist office.
It turns out you really can’t walk anywhere in Delhi, the distances are greater than they seem on a map and getting across the road is an epic task in itself. We needed a couple of bits so were advised by the Tourist office to try the above mentioned mall, so we hired a tuk tuk to get us there (25 pence), however when we got there the “mall” was a building with a few high cost craft shops, selling fabrics and souveniers, not toiletries as we were led to believe, they must be giving good kick backs as about 4 other people during the day approached us and advised us to go there!
Ignoring the hawkers we made our way to Old Delhi Station and had a look round (we are coming in there at 6am in about 2 weeks and wanted to know what were in for – organised chaos), then to an Ancient observatory called Jantar Mantar. On out way out we got accidentally caught up in a Political rally, after going through army security we thought we could get back to the metro station that way, then some very nice gentlemen who didnt speak English invited us to come and sit in the VIP area to listen to a politician tell lies in a language we couldnt understand, I can only assume they thought we were foreign journalists, but we made our excuses and left, back through the army security – God knows what they thought!
We made our way back to Connaught place by foot, the heat and humidity were stifling but fortunately the metro was refreshingly cool.
Although where we were staying looked rough during the day, at night it was a buzzing place, all the shops open till ten, and thousands of people walking up and down, coloured lights everywhere, and as India heads to Diwali, there are many relegious events and festivals happening in the run up, we even got to see a concert set up in the middle of the street, which was surprisingly good considering it was in foreign!
The next full day (Friday) was our first full day with a driver and a guide and we saw far more, the Jama mosque, the Old Delhi markets, Qutub Minar, Humyam tombs and Ghandi’s memorial, still hot but the car had air con. A great (but busy) day, we started to get over the jet lag and started to get into the mentality you need for deaing with the beautiful chaos that is India!
Temple from Humuyans Tomb