I don't have too much to say about New Delhi, and I also don't have many pictures to share. The attractions weren't as magical or impressive as in Agra or Varanasi, but it was still fascinating simply to watch the people go about their business. I think the most interesting part about New Delhi was dealing with the auto-rickshaw drivers. Sejin will tell you more about that ;) Click through to see a few pictures.
The nights in Delhi were familiar to me. It was just like the nights when I went back home after the winter language program at Delhi University in 2003 and 2004. Red brick buildings, overloaded rickshaws with children and adults, street sleepers were still there as if the waited for me to come back. The major change I noticed was lots of neon signs on the street near the train station. Eye noise, I call it, in the jammed and packed streets with neon-signs as in Seoul, Tokyo, and Time Square. It has arrived in India too.
Do you remember Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal for his 3rd wife? Red Fort (Lal Qila) was also built by him. In the evenings, they hold one-hour sound-and-light shows there to re-create the events of India's history. We missed the English version of this show so we had to view the Hindi version. Sebastien and I sat down with the Indian crowd for 20 minutes and came back to the streets out of boredom. At least on the streets, you can be entertained by a rickshawala who wants to argue with you to get 10 times more than what he deserves to drive you to somewhere you don't need to go.
You can't disturb holiness in McDonald here. Hamburger in India tastes like Indian food. Don't think it's the same as a delicious Tandoori chicken burger. It's just Indian masala (spice) burger. I remember we had Kimchi burger in Korea decades ago and it was my favorite. I can see how Indian people think of their burgers now. It must be the best take out pleasure for them!
There was a big flood in September 2010 in Northern India.
On one of first days in New Delhi, Sebastien and I wanted to go out to Connaught Place, a large commercial area. Locals call it CP. We came out from the hotel and there were two auto-rickshaws ready for customers. One guy was wobbling his head right and left and started to chat with us. 'My friend, where are you going?' We normally ask people to go by meter otherwise they will ask for ridiculous amounts from foreigners. So we got on his rickshaw and soon afterwards he started talking in Hindi on his phone. He didn't expect me to know what he was saying because for him I'm just another dummy traveler. On the other line, was his friend... his business friend. The driver said in Hindi, 'I have two people coming in your shop so open it soon. I'll bring them to you.' I knew what was going on immediately and watched how he lead us to his goal. He told me and Sebastien that the CP is dangerous with gangsters. The place is in chaos with them breaking and burning down the shops. So he wanted to bring us to a safe shopping area. 'Hahaha! This is classic!' I laughed so hard inside but on the outside, I was very stern and told him that whatever it takes, he needs to bring us to CP. It took a long time to convince him without stepping our feet outside of the rickshaw but he had to listen to us. When he came near to CP, he didn't drop us off at the heart, rather he kicked us off at some random street outside of the area and asked us for more money. I knew that any unfair rickshaw issues could be solved with just a simple call to the police. And without the actual appearance of the police, the problem was solved as soon as I called out for help. The thing I learned in India is that I should only believe in myself, and not others.
Near the end of our stay in New Delhi, I got what's called the 'Delhi Belly' where I must have eaten something not-so-good and had some serious stomach issues. Thanks New Delhi! This problem lasted into our stay in Germany, which was most unfortunate. I was on a short leash from our hotel rooms, haha. More on that in the next post!
As always, if you would like to see the other photos from this trip, please see the album posted on Facebook. Take care for now!Sub