I wrote all about this on the plane before takeoff leaving Delhi and somehow lost it because my phone died–so my attitude is actually much milder and subdued.
Just to be clear, Delhi sucks. It has many wonderful attributes but the overall impression that one is left with after spending two days there is–how fast can I leave this place.
We had a lovely airport pickup and our hotel was nice. We saw Connaught place, the Rashtrapati Bhauan (presidential palace built by the British in 1929), the India Gate and rode on the Raj Path (the street that runs between them) to satisfy our New Delhi fix (those were the highlights). We went to Bangla Sahib (the biggest Sikh temple) and Lakshmi Narayan, a Hindu temple and despite some intermittent issues with auto rickshaw drivers and a few persistent folks asking for money or us to buy something–everything was lovely. The city is amazing and as one of the oldest city’s in the world the actual city itself is the amalgam of like 8 different cities (maybe just 6 I forget) each with their own unique attributes. Ian gave me a pretty cool book about Delhi written by a british ex-pat who lives here that am still working through but we didn’t have the energy to see much more on our first full day.
So our plan this morning was simple. Drop our stuff at the hotel desk, check out, go to the New Delhi train station, confirm our tickets (we had been wait listed for Dharamasala), go get a bit of breakfast, get a cab to the Red Fort and then stop back at the hotel, pick up our bags and get on a train to our next destination.
Things didn’t quite work out that way. We’re now in Sringar, Kashmir staying in a boat house and hoping for the best. The best would be stay here for a few days, see K-2, see Mughal gardens, stay for the Islamic celebration of Eid, get a ride to Dharamasala, take a train to Rishikesh and go on safari, after that everything should be a cake walk.
But honestly Delhi for us is not the amazing sites and sounds that are everywhere or the rich history of the city. It’s all about the creepy, scam-artist motorized rickshaw drivers, the scam tourism people, everyone thinking you have money, everyone insistent that you buy something from them, and the fact that we are waking targets for everyone and their brother. I get it. My standard of living is amazing in comparison but that doesn’t mean shit when all we have are the clothes in our backpacks, an incomprehensible understanding of any of the 24 main languages spoken throughout the country or the various dialects of each, a completely superficial guide book understanding (and barely that) about where we are or how to navigate the mess that is this amazingly fucked up city.
We’re absolutely having a good time and are safe but it is without a doubt an experience like no other both good and bad (and it’s only day 3).