Delhi

Simon writes:

Finally at Delhi! It feels like a landmark, as it kind of indicates we’re nearing the end of our India travels.

Delhi was a surprise to me. It’s actually quite spacious, with lots of greenery, and doesn’t seem anywhere near as crowded as cities like Kolkata or Varanasi. It does have a city feel to it as well, as Kolkata almost had a “big town” feel instead, even though Kolkata is in fact the most populous Indian city.

We made our way from the train station to Paharganj ( a busy suburb in Delhi), which appeared to be the most popular budget hotel area. We noticed (with a big smile!) that there were lot’s of woman out!

Throughout most of India, the woman seem to hide somewhere, and you almost never see them. They rarely work in any industry that deals with the public, at least as far as we’ve experienced, and are rarely seen anywhere in public.

When the auto rickshaw arrived at Paharganj, we were equally amazed at the number of backpackers around, probably more foreigners than we’d seen in all India thus far, all busy doing this or that on the one main Paharganj street.

We didn’t really get up to that much to speak of in Delhi, but just enjoyed relaxing and eating, stocked up on good books to read, catching up on emails, and played Canasta and scrabble with other backpackers. There’s a place in Delhi called the Habitat Centre, which drew our attention a few times, as there was a Asian film festival playing there. We saw a couple of films, which would never make it past Indian censorship under normal circumstances, and exhibition on Kashmir (which seemed a bit one sided to me). Another day was spent visiting the Dehli Museum of Modern Art (we were rather a cultured lot in Delhi weren’t we…), and eating at this fantastic market where there were stalls from every state in India selling their own mix of local food. Unfortunately, you get full after one meal, or I could have stayed there all day.

Delhi is also the first time we’ve seen McDonalds, but I missed getting a chance to go in. It would have been interesting to see what was on the menu, as the place would never survive a day if they served any beef, and most Indians are completely vegetarian anyway, McDonalds?

There’s not really much else to say about Delhi, it’s the most western city I’ve seen in India by a long shot, and has all the benefits of a pretty decent large city. We definitely enjoyed our stay. It still has lot’s of cows everywhere, just milling around, shitting and sleeping in the middle of busy highways if they so feel like it, which never ceases amusing me. We did see a couple of Indians have a scrap in a restarrant, lots of scuffling and slamming into things, no punches. The manager then cheekishly advised us it was just a playfight…

We left yesterday, and find ourselves now in Amritsar, which has the legendry Golden temple in it. We’ve been looking forward to getting here for some time, so we’ll let you know how it all goes.

Keep having fun!

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