Above is a photo taken from the rooftop of our hotel in Delhi. Up on all the roofs children are playing cricket with a ball on a string.
India is amazing. We’ve been here about 48 hours now but it feels like a week. We don”t have too much culture shock after just deciding to go with the flow a bit, but I can’t even begin to describe the place. The first thing that strikes you is the sheer number of people here in Delhi. It doesn’t matter where you go, you are surrounded by faces; often trying to sell you something or push you into some dodgy store. It is extremely dirty, there is spit and urine on the streets everywhere and the air pollution is completely overwhelming- it smells as if someone is burning plastic wherever you go with people on the street burning whtaever they can to keep warm.The superabundance of autorickshaws and cars means the whole city is blanketed in a dense layer of smog. I have a headache this morning from breathing the air in our fourth floor room and a touch of the old Delhi belly from the food.
We almost became victims on the first afternoon when I went to the toilet and a tuk tuk driver convinced Dana that he was from our hotel and could take us to the official tourism India office. He drove us to a bogus office on the wrong side of town where a smooth talking man tried to get us to hand over 1000 dollars for a planned trip around rajasthan with a driver. We eventually smelled a rat and after a lot of fuss managed to leave, but it meant simply getting up and leaving while three men tried to convince us to stay. We jumped back in the same autorickshaw and he tried to drop us off at a different but equally bogus office despite saying he was taking us home. We then walked away as he protested and some innocuous looking young student again tried to direct us somewhere else.
The next day we found the real office, identifiable by what seems to be the standard indian bureaucracy: no-one got up to help us and when we eventually just sat down and asked for help she just told us to go to the train station ourselves and book as we went, not to listen to anyone who tried to convince us the trains were booked out. Apparently they have a tourist quota for most trains so there are usually tickets available, so we’re tryiung to book a few days in advance at each place. Today we’re off to Jaipur on a 5 hour train ride, which will be very interesting.