Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Delhi Gets A Rave Review

Delhi gets a Rave Review!

 I wish I had more time in Delhi! I should first explain that I've been in India for 3 weeks and have met a total of about 13 people! For a social person I view that as a fail on my part. But anyways, I left Varanasi on the evening of the 21st and traveled overnight to Agra. Obviously I did the touristy thing and went to the Agra Fort, Baby Taj, and of course the Taj Mahal!! I went alone and only had the day, so I wanted to go and do everything at my own pace. I paid the rickshaw driver 500 rupees ($10) to take me around all day. He suggested I get a tour bus to Delhi in the evening so he took me to a travel shop and the man said that "yes yes they speak English" and "yes yes you will get to Delhi at 11:30pm" and "yes, no hotel? I book one for you and the bus will drop you off at the hotel" and "yes yes, you go to Mumbai? I book train for you and it arrives at 12pm on the 24th". Well, all of it sounded good, but it was all bullshit lies! A- I was the only foreigner. Thank God this 14 year old girl loved foreigners and made me sit next to her. Her family spoke a bit of English and they took me in for the evening. B- they did NOT speak English! C- I soon found out that we were getting to Delhi at 2am! D- I felt like a total outsider because we made stops at Hare Krisnas birthplace, who is the major God that the Hindus follow. Everyone was so focused on staring at me, it's really not the best feeling. I honestly dont know what they are thinking to be honest! I feel like an alien in India, sometimes you come in peace and sometimes they are thinking of bad stuff, who knows. E- the bus of course of course did not drop me at my hotel and I found out I paid like 10x more for the bus than anyone else. F- maybe the worst lie they told me was that the train gets in at 11:30am the next day, but it's 11:30pm. A 24 hr train!!!!! Ahhhhhh. So then G- EVERYONE LIED TO ME!!! I didn't think I was that gullible!?
Needless to say, I'm not going to another travel agent in India. Screw em, I was a travel agent and I can do it all myself! Trains, planes, busses. I'm quite capable at this point!
Side note here: The Taj Mahal was truly amazing. I don't want to go too much into it and ruin it for you, but it was dramatic and brilliant and took my breath away! Also I should have only paid 400 rupees for the day, but I didn't bargain around and then he's like "where's my tip?" he did do a lot but he also got tons of commission when I bought an expensive saree. It's annoying being asked for a tip- especially because I was on my own. Needless to say I spent a ton of money that day!

Ok preamble finish. I got to Delhi at 2am and finally found my hotel- at least there was 24 hour security! Stayed at the Maharajan Palace- which is nice but expensive and I recommend staying right in The Main Bazaar of Pahar Ganj area.

So I wake up and I'm in the middle of a ridiculously crowded city, no foreigners in sight. Sorry boys but I actually had to buy tampons here and it was funny. Trying to ask people who don't speak English for a very private feminie product. I eventually had to ask like 10 people and the guy who sold it to me was very embarassed. Anyways, I heard about the Main Bazaar and wanted to buy some new clothes for the south of India. The first thing that impressed me was the my cycle rickshaw told me a normal-not-overinflated price! 30 rps to get me to Main Bazaar. I asked him to stop at the ATM, we ended up going to 3 to find one that worked and I ended up giving him 100 rupees (about $2) as a reward for not trying to screw me over.

Next impressive thing was that no one was shouting at me to buy their crap in the stores. Actually people generally ignored me until I wanted to buy something. Now, this might not seem nice, but when everyone has been glaring at the alien for the last month, it was nice just to do my own thing unnoticed. And the prices in the store were generally fair for India. There wasn't much bartering- the price was fair and so I bought it! I think because everyone flys into Delhi, they are used to tourists and its not so weird being foreign there. I actually met travelers!!! Two Israeli guys started talking to me, and before I knew it I was having lunch at this beautiful rooftop bar called MOONLIGHT (See my blog on Backpacker Hotspots in India). Please go there! It's owned by this nice Nepalese guy and all the food is cold and fresh and perfect! I had a lovely lunch- and dinner there.
From there the Israelis came shopping with me. We walked down all the back streets. No one stared at us, it was amazing just to be aable to walk and observe the way people worked and played without any pressure. To me, it was so much better than the major city of Kolkata and I recommend travelers start in Delhi!

Like I've stated at the beginning of this post, I wish I had more time in Delhi. I was planning on doing a bit of sightseeing, but seeing as how I just did so much of it the day before I was just happy being with people who wanted to talk to me. If I do end up there again, I would absolutely love to see the Lotus Temple (shaped like a lotus and has meditations there in the peaceful garden), Jantas Mantar, Jama Masjid, and the Red Fort. There's actually a shit-ton (excuse the language) to see in New and Old Delhi.

Damn, I wish I had time to explore. I know I will come back to India and I plan on staying in Delhi at least a week :)

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