So I have arrived in Delhi and I have to say that it is a shock to the senses. It is crazy here, but a sort of organized chaos.
My first day was very eventful as went as follows:
1) Picked up from the airport in what can only be described as a death trap. I got into the rickety van and below the dashboard there was nothing apart from the actual workings of the van. I thought I had better put my seatbelt on only to discover that its life as a seatbelt had ended long ago, instead I was told to hold it over my shoulder so it looked like it was on!
There are no rules on the roads, you just get where you are going - quite good fun actually. On the way I saw wild monkeys and pigs - as you do
2) I arrived at the Smyle Inn which is based in the alleyways of the 'Main Bazaar' and bizarre is quite apt. The area is made up of many tight alleyways that twist and turn everywhere. It is quite an experience sharing them with lots of people and motorbikes too. The place reminds me a lot of the old city in Marrakech.
3) Once checked into my room (loose term) I went for a little walk around the Bazaar. Everybody wants to talk. I have to admit that I am still very wary of it, probably because I have lived in London for so long where nobody speaks to each other.
Firstly, I meet Manzoor from Kashmir who wanted to take me to his place to show me pictures of his home town and the letters he has received from fellow travellers who have stayed at his houseboat! I kindly declined his offer, but more on that later.
Next thing I know I am talking to an Argentine doctor who compliments me on the picture that I took. We have a very nice chat about everything.
4) I take a rickshaw to Connaught Place, which is shopping area with restaurants, cinemas etc, all located around a big green. On the green I am invited to join 4 Indian students and share poppadoms. We talk about everything from football to Indian life etc.
5) It is starting to get dark and I realise that I have no idea where my Inn is. Using my manly geographical senses I walk from Connaught Place to the Main Bazaar and am very proud of myself for finding it. However, once I enter the alleyways it takes me a further 2 hours to find my place!!! Part of the 2 hours was taken up by running back into Manzoor and I actually went to his gaff to view the pics and letters. He tries to sell me a trip to Kashmir and when I refuse he offers me some of Kashmir's finest homegrown. Again I decline as the stuff would probably blow my head off.
6) Finally get back to the wonderful Smyle Inn and go to bed. I then wake up 1 hour later and say hello to my previous mornings breakfast at both exits! Think I am going to loose a lot of weight here.
All in all, a mental first day.
First impressions of Delhi are that I want to get out into the open spaces of the rest of country. It is just a bit too much.
Oh, as different as it is, Friends was still on the TV this morning! Some things never change.