Thursday, 9 September 2010


I can hardly believe that we have only been gone for a week. So much has happened that it's difficult to know where to start with this blog. I guess I'll just launch into it and see what comes up.

So we arrived in Delhi early on Friday morning and it was evident by the end of the taxi journey that  India was going to be full on. I'm not naive. I have read about India and spoken to countless people and I've travelled in Asia before including Nepal. However Delhi has surpassed anything that I have experienced before or could imagine from words written or spoken. No amount of exclamation marks can do it justice. We stayed in Paharganj which is in Old Delhi just north of the main bazaar which I guess is Delhi's equivalent of the Kao San Road in Bangkok. The location of a cluster of backpacker hostels is about as far as the similarity goes. It is total bedlam. Distilled chaos. It's amusing to walk through there at first and marvel at the high voltage cables strung along the pavement at head height with washing hanging from them and cows and piss and shit and dead rats and people cooking and people selling and men digging up the road and people asking you things and telling you the way to the tourist office or the wrong way to the place you want to go to and cars and bikes and scooters and rickshaws and people and people and people and people. But if you have to do anything of the slightest importance its a living nightmare. Confusion reigns. There is no sense. It's awful. Particularly after dark...

One evening we got a bit lost coming out of one of the new metro stations which we knew was very close to our hotel but it's so confusing and I had to make an educated guess through the crowds and over an unlit bridge with all manner of vehicles flying past and hands grabbing at Gemma. Making a bad move is not an option in the humidity and confusion after a long afternoon of bewilderment. It turned out I had made the correct guess and as we took the foul smelling dark steps down from the bridge to join the main road I saw a man sitting there with blood pouring down his leg tending a bandaged wound on his knee. Gemma didn't see him and I'm glad. It was the final straw that day.

We spent three days there braving forays to have lunch and dinner and see the odd tourist thing with frequent trips back to the safety and comfort of our nice hotel. Thank god we decided to ease ourselves in gently with plush surroundings. You recharge. You rest. You have mad dreams. Then you are ready to step out again for the next adventure.

There were however snatches of joy that made me hopefully for the rest of India. The smell of flowers on a market stall selling garlands amidst the filth, the genuine smile of a rickshaw driver in passing, a trip to Humayun's tomb in New Delhi and of course the food. The food has been out of this world. Roti's, Dhal, Butter chicken, pickles, chutneys, spinach, paneer cheese, paratha, and naan bread better than any I have ever eaten before. Truly amazing.

If I continue at this rate I am going to get very fat. I have a feeling however that something will intervene in this respect and I don't have much to worry about but we shall see.

Much more has happened since but I think I am done with writing for now.


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