Delhi. Delhi. Delhi. Kind of like Mumbai on bad drugs. Not helped by catching a cold on my first day. From the flight? From the fact that everyone in Delhi had a cold? Who knows. The weather on the first day was nice. Then went kind of downhill. The constant hassle of people really got to me this time - much more than ever before (if you don't know - this is my second trip to India and I've been to other Asian countries where this is par for the course) - I'm not sure why. Maybe the introspection I normally save for later in the trip hit me at the beginning this time. This is not good. I came to a lot of realisations that whilst not exactly marring the trip, will have an effect on my mood whilst here. It could just be that I've actually got time to concern myself with something other than the diploma, my multitude of 2009 health problems, house problems, japan problems and so on and that NOW I can consider other things.
IF this blog were passport protected I'd elaborate more, but there's some things I don't want out there so I'll maybe leave it at this and talk about India instead.
Delhi. I got to the airport and expected it to be as insanely manic and confusing as Mumbai airport was last year and was most surprised that it wasn't. Got met by a guy from the hostel - who told me his tuk-tuk had broken down so we were taking a pre-paid cab. We set off through relatively quiet streets, all seeming ordered, calm and nice. And then it got busier and busier. We got near to the hostel and suddenly some random guy started shouting at the driver of the taxi. Next thing there was a full-on shouting match going between them and lots of people gathering around. Have you read Shantaram? There's a scene in it where an angry mob pulls a cab driver from his cab and beat him to death. This was going through my mind and I was more than a little bit uncomfortable with it.
Found out from the hotel guy later that, apparantly, the taxi driver had run over this guys foot or something and he was a crazy guy. I'm not sure which guy the hotel guy was referring to though.
So, my problem with Delhi. I found it a little hard to put my finger on initially but I think the full weight of it dawned on me earlier today whilst on a bus soaking in the Tamil Nadu landscape. I just don't like big cities anymore. There. Said it. Shocked me to realise this but I think this is it!
If you don't know Delhi, it's constant. Constant noise. Constant horns beeping. Constant dogs barking. Constant hawkers hawking, autorickshaw drivers hassling, taxi drivers hassling, cyclo drivers hassling, kids hassling, shop owners..... the number of people asking for money isn't actually that great - but it adds to all the rest that won't leave you alone.
And then there are the people who 'don't want anythng' who walk alongside you trying to talk to you. ALL. THE. TIME. I don't know if people travelling together get this so much but NEWSFLASH - there IS a reason I chose to travel alone - actually there are a few - but one of the main ones I like to be alone. I'm not a sociable person (whatever you might think) and constantly having to think of things to say when I just want to ... well, you get the idea, so it's not so enjoyable when all I want to do is wander alone, soaking in the atmosphere, trying to not smell the smells (!), notice the small details, take strange photographs. And it's hard to do that when you're being constantly hassled.
The dirt. The smell of piss. The litter everywhere. Not a problem. I just want to be left to be though. And perhaps strangely, the most peaceful places are the tourist sites - if you can get through the hords of postcard vendors and other vendors who are selling the strangest things that you didn't even realise that you didn't need!
In three days I saw: Purana Qila, India Gate, Rajpath, Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, Lal Qila (the Red Fort), Chandni Chowk (mental road!), Jama Masjid, Jantar Mantar (mental shapes), Connaught Place (bits of - several times), the Lotus (Baha'i Temple), Humayun's Tomb, Nizam-Ud-din's Shrine (hmmm - too many sidey roads with people begging), Tibet House (expected to get some history, but didn't - although I did persuade them to open the museum just for me) and Lodi Gardens.
Phew! Many breathtaking sites. Photos to follow. The beauty about many of them was the scale -meaning the ease to wander around in your own little bubble, imagining, soaking in, snapping pictures...
Anyway, more tomorow!