So, I arrived in Delhi Wednesday morning after an 8 hour flight full of screaming children! Managed to get to Heathrow in one piece and my luggage was well within allowance (for the first time ever!) Unfortunately it also weighed in at 19kilos which is going to be too much for me to drag around for 7 months so knew i’d be abandoning stuff almost straightaway, retrospectively I should have just done it at Heathrow!
Arrived at 10.30 and had a driver waiting… was initially shocked about how calm Delhi airport was… almost empty in fact. It took about 40 minutes to reach my ‘budget’ hostel. It’s ridiculously cheap but does what it says on the tin… just (although I wouldn’t say the word deluxe was relevant in any way) That day I essentially chilled, wandered and planned what to do over the next few days (at that point I was being a little naive about how much I could accomplish!)
It became apparent the next day that Delhi is a HUGE city, beyond huge – I swear each milimetre on the map is about 2km in actuality…. so basically what looks like it could be walkable, is not, especially in the heat, so there are various options…. Rickshaws and auto-rickshaws – which can be expensive… the average journey for an Indian is about 20 rupees however for tourists everything starts off at 100 rupees (1.20ish), motorbike, bus, taxi or metro. I was told about the metro bu a rather interesting couple from the Arizona desert, ‘Mandi and Mike’, who are doing some work/live/travel thing where they write a blog and use the advertising etc etc to make money and various other side projects… it seems to work as they left Arizona 3 years ago and have no plans to return… The metro is great for various reasons mainly the fact it’s cheap, it has aircon and it has women only carriages so no leery Indian men! It got me to and from Akshardam temple on Thursday quickly and easily for 30 rupees.
Akshardam was amazing, it’s the biggest Hindu temple in the world and is absolutely colossal. Security to get in is major, bag scanning, patting down etc (Security everywhere is massive, including the metro) Luckily you can take water in with you and there aren’t too regimental about attire (tshirts are fine) Luckily for me I also got my own personal tour guide, or should that be guides, for no extra cost as a group of 5 Indian 13 year olds on a school trip decided to follow me around for 2 hours telling me things… nothing to do with the temple… it was amusing.
With Akshardam on the metro such a success the following day i decided to go to Raj Ghat and the Red Fort. Well, this time I wasn’t so lucky! All I have to say is I spent a small fortune on rickshaws, buses and the metro and never saw either. I did however burst into tears outside the Gandhi museum and end up in McDonalds eating a McSpicy Paneer Passion burger before getting mendhi on my foot! I felt alot better… I decided I’d abandon The Red Fort until the next day and work out another route.
Now, a trip update in India wouldn’t be right if I don’t mention my stomach and how that’s doing as well. Everyone knows my stomach can be sensitive at the best of times so to say I was minorly concerned about how it would react in India was a bit of an understatement. First three days – no issues, all good. Then, things changed…. dramatically and I remembered the reason why i decided to stay in Delhi longer than the average 3 days… because otherwise I would have been on a bus.
All i’m going to say is the following:
Immodium?? Tic-Tacs would be more effective
Boots rehydration sachets? Pointless – Hardcore Indian is what you need and they only cost 15 rupees per sachet.
Baby wipes, baby wipes, baby wipes you can never have enough baby wipes. (luckily they also sell these in India)
I’m hoping it’s just a bit of ‘Delhi Belly’… as opposed to anything else (and for critics/anti-capitalists I had eaten quite abit of other food AFTER the McDonalds)
Plans to head northwards towards Rishikesh have moved to Tuesday and I have reserved my spot at Parmarth Niketan from Thursday so looking forward to sitting in silence and well contemplating life for a while…
Don’t expect these updates to be that regular, i will try. Apologies for the potentially terrible spelling/grammar – the keyboard I’m using is terrible!!
All my love from Delhi