Delhi was everything we expected it to be and more. The heat was indescribable- the only other time I have known my fingers sweat is when I’m about to play in one of my piano teacher’s concerts!
Delhi is frantic, frenzied and fascinating and any other F word you can imagine. The noise is a constant blaring of horns, which seems to be the way of letting others know you’re there and about to squeeze through the smallest gap possible. The smells are a mix of rotting rubbish, spices and incense and everything is a riot of colour.
Everyone wants something from the rich naive westerner, it’s impossible to walk more than 5 metres without someone appearing beside you to ask ‘where you from?’ ‘how long in India?’ ‘where you go after Delhi?’ ‘you want spliff?’ I’m very cynical so my tactic is to ignore and keep walking whereas Joey is far too polite and can engage with them. Joey has given up vaping which is a major milestone for him and I am extremely proud of him for doing so, but it did mean he lost his shit a lot on day 1 and I was a little worried about him to start with but he has definitely calmed down now. It did make a nice change from me losing mine though – I could easily do Hanoi again now- read about that here!
We visited the Red Fort which was an experience, and not for the attraction itself. Instead we could barely walk 5 minutes without being stopped and asked for ‘one selfie please?’ And of course, it’s never just one selfie. A lot of Indians don’t venture outside of their country and therefore don’t meet westerners very often so when they come to Delhi for their holidays they are fascinated by us and want proof that they met one! It did start getting a little out of hand and at one point we were surrounded by about 20 women all fascinated by my blonde hair. The highlight was definitely when Joey got handed someone’s baby to hold and pose with! They obviously didn’t realise that he is a dropper!
We also visited the Jama mosque where we fell victim to our first scam – we had to remove our shoes and left them outside and then got charged 100 rupees for someone to guard them! I only wish I’d worn my smelliest pair so he had to sit next to those for an hour. Next time we will carry them with us!
The highlight of Delhi for me was definitely a visit to the Humayun’s tomb, said to be the inspiration for the Taj Mahal and I could see why. It was one of the most beautiful buildings that I have ever seen. Everything about the whole visit was serene and a welcome relief from the chaos of Delhi. We also visited the Lodi Gardens, again a little haven of peace.
We’ve been doing a lot of walking and also a some travel by the metro. We walked through a slum yesterday which was not a pleasant experience (the barking dog was the scariest thing – thank god we’d had our rabies jabs!) But it helps put everything into perspective. The metro is great here, cheap, reliable and with airport style security. I personally love the ‘ladies frisking’ line!
The walk from the Metro to our hotel was brilliantly described by Joey as ‘a dash across the road of death followed by a stroll down the street of cheeky chappies.’
Next stop is Leh, a desert city surrounded by the Himalayas. The challenge here will be the altitude as it sits at 11,500 feet (3500 metres) above sea level and I’m not sure they grow coco leaves here!