So... that was a funny day... nothing will surprise us here anymore...
After breakfast we set off 4 Delhi-sights. After discarding like 8 rickshaw wallahs - who wanted 2 charge us (=stupid tourists) 2 much, or bring on the way 2 a store of a friend/brother/father /cousin/etc, we finally gave in and took a rickshaw for 20rs (=0,34 EUR) AND visited the luxurious store we were taken 2 (no obligation 2 buy). It was, again, FUNNY - and the adrenaline level went up after seeing the driving 'skills' – as we were taking over other rickshaws/busses/cars /carts/bikes/people/cows /dogs
We got to the old part of Delhi - to the Red Fort. niiicce! a really nice place 2 c. a whole complex of palace buildings. all with very delicate carvings in stone etc. After that we went across a very busy street (AGAIN, risking our life, and that all not an hour after breakfast yet!). We had 2 go through a very CROWDED (and that: even for Delhi standards crowded!) street to get to the biggest mosque in India = Jami Masjid. THAT WAS NOT PLEASANT! i put my scarf on in a second after i noticed what’s going on. People EVERYWHERE. All bumping into u, touching, trying 2 sell u crap :-S
Had 2 take the shoes off at the mosque - and got this funny looking cloth 2 put over my skirt (as apparently below-the-knie length isn’t decent), had 2 pay 2 take my camera in as well. it wasn’t THAT stunning (the mosque). It WAS big. And fill of ppl. And it was 40 degrees C...
After seeing that we decided 2 go 4 a bite - to the famous KARIM's restaurant (yes Menno, one from the FEAST INDIA). we got 2 dishes (Dorotka a mixed veggie-thing and me: Karim specialty - some green curry-like dish with their funny white cheese (YES, INDIANS ALSO HAVE WHITE CHEESE - not only us Polish ) and different seeds etc. And naan. We r trying 2 stay away form meat for now (we have seen some meat in the market - lying around in the 40C sun, covered with CROWDS of flies - YUK!). It was all great food at KARIM’s. Although the guy didn’t seem 2 understand why we insist on unopened Coke bottles :-S
And THEN! We thought we were smart (!) and found that major-looking street to get to the Delhi Gate...
major-looking streets (on the map) are NOT always major
We soon found ourselves on this 3m narrow street. With TONS of ppl. Electrical cables (TONS OF THEM) hanging 4m above the street. EVERYWHERE. And bike-rickshaws and motorbikes beeping all the time, trying 2 get through the crowd. Also very soon we noticed we were the only tourists (or white people for that matter) in that whole street. And it was NOT nice to walk there... Especially that it seemed 2 b a more Muslim street - with lots of women being totally covered from head 2 toe - and we were clearly sticking out. And the street seemed 2 have no end... we were walking and walking, and the street was getting more and more narrow. It’s not that anything HAPPENED to us... but I’m pretty sure I wanna stay out of markets 4 some time!!! My personal space barrier was beyond crossed.
And then we decided 2 walk and c the tomb of Mahatma Gandhi. It was SUCH a contrast... Quiet surroundings, situated in a park. British influences very visible. People with whole families sitting on the grass. PERFECT. Peaceful (WHAT A DIFFERENCE). Again, shoes off by the Gandhi grave.
And then the sun set... in a matter of MINUTES. we were observing the sun going down. and then it got DARK... and we were in the middle of nowhere & had 2 call Abhi 2 make appointment 4 later.. And NO public phone there of course! After haggling (unsuccessfully) with a (motor) rickshaw-wallah we took a bicycle one... that was SLOOOOW!
And again: scary moment when we stopped on the lights: this beggar guy (disabled/? leper, moving across a VERY BUSY intersection on (what was left of) his knies. We were talking, watching the scenery and didn’t notice him come closer to the rickshaw from the back. And all of a sudden. I felt someone touch my knee-pit unexpectedly. He scared me so much!!!
But anyway... finally we got to the Delhi gate.. And there we were. Again the only two a) girls b) white people c) tourist (ALL APPLY), after dark. Looking 4 a phone booth that was SUPPOSED 2 b there... NOT NICE!!!! We found the phone, called Abhi – and made appointment in 40min at the INA market – Delhi Haat. And here comes a flash: NOBODY wanted 2 take us that far by rickshaw... and there were no cabs... we started asking the rickshaw guys 2 take us there – but they were all saying they wont go there (2 FAR!)
niiiiceee.. Dark. Scary. :-S YUK. Just before I lost my hope: there’s this guy who came to help us – he was JUST nice (didn’t want anything), he stopped a rickshaw for us and negotiated the price. They driver agreed to 110rs (2eur). HAPPY us. Happy, until he was trying to cheat us. We got 2 the destination and the guy demanded 220rs (supposedly: 110 x 2 ppl) – which WAS NOT the agreement. But I have 2 say I got pretty scared again… I gave him a 150rs. He kept saying he wants a 220…. So I gave him another 10 and said we leave the rickshaw. Luckily we were in a NICE part of South Delhi. We quickly found the Delhi Haat and Abhi came. YAY! I was SO happy 2 c him after 4yrs! (he had studied at my uni in Warsaw).
The Haat was a sort of government-subsidized market – with craftsmen form all over India selling their goods (at more less fixed prices – NICE change after having 2 haggle all day). It was REALLY nice… and Abhi was helping. He showed us around and explained a lot of things – where certain things came from, how they made them etc. Dorotka and me got ourselves a pair of shoes each (D: nice slip-in shoes for 200rs, and me: VERY nice camel-leather-pink flip flops for 180 = not even 3eur)!
It was SO different form what we have seen all day till then. Visibly middle-class families with children. Peaceful. Not crowded. Comforting
And then we went 4 dinner. To a fancy restaurant/bar in New Delhi. Could go for a fancy bar ANYWHERE in Europe! Seriously. SUCH a contrast again... we got nice cocktails, some Indian cheese tikka with spices and sauce. Then some veggies with sauce. And the funny different sorts of bread (paratha? I think its spelled) was the best. IT WAS SO NICE of Abhi 2 take us there (by car, again, what a change – a first NOT-ABSOLUTEL-INSANE driver we have seen there so far – peaceful, driving slowly, actually OBEYING the traffic rules (!) etc). it was so nice 2 catch up with Abhi. He told us many things about India, explained a lot etc
And Abhi was SO nice, after hearing our roach-stories, and after being worried we ended up in Paharganj area: he actually offered 2 take us out of there, so we could stay @ his place. AND NO, WE DID NOT OPPOSE! What a relief was THAT. That we didn’t have 2 sleep @ that horrible place there (Namaskar hotel!) after dinner Abhi drove us there (Namaskar) where we packed our bags in like 20 seconds and were ready to GO!
ABHI WE ARE YOUR FANS! We are SO grateful you took such great care of us, you are the best!
So we spent the night at Abhi’s nice apartment. WHAT A DIFFERENCE WAS THAT!- we only got there at like 1am though – and had 2 get up at 5.45 2 catch our Agra train...