Poo on my shoe and a $20 beer
Trip Start Aug 10, 2009
8Trip End Feb 08, 2010
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Where I stayed
"Sir, Sir quick you have horse shit on you shoe, I clean, good price"
Welcome to Delhi
Our hotel is located in an area of the city called Pahraganj, its kind of a cross between Blackpool and the Gaza Strip, bright lights and rubble. The main road through has pot holes the size of mine blasts and lined with literally hundreds of hotels, shops, stalls, food vendors, markets and unfortunately beggars and street children. The best way in an out of here is by auto rickshaw (a three wheeled taxi deathtrap) but due to the relentless congestion your soon surrounded by pleading faces and outstretched hands, we've been told to refuse them so we do but its still upsetting
Once the congestion eases and you leave Paharganj everything starts to change. The streets become boulevards, lined with trees, the stalls become grand shops, restaurants,bars and the buildings become tall office blocks. This is Connaught Place, the scene of the poo incident.
The British built CP (as its also known) was completed in 1933 and is now the most vibrant district in Delhi. The area is instantly recognizable on any map of Delhi, being the big circle in the middle with radial roads spreading out in all directions, like spokes on a wheel. Georgian buildings hug the road that span around a large park in the centre (Central Park). We spent a whole day exploring Connaught Place, which in its own right is still extremely chaotic, you can not move 200 yards without someone trying to a) sell you something b) sell you something else or c) drag you to an "official tourist office" in which they get a cut.
Amidst the chaos and pollution though lies some real gems. We hired a private guide to see the sights, I know not the backpacker thing to do but Sunny (dilliexpress.com) our guide was basically a walking encyclopedia with an air conditioned car. He also taught us the "way of India" haggling, scams, no go areas etc
Your probably wondering about the $20 beer well, we decided before we left Delhi we would have to try Bukhara, some say its the best Indian restaurant in the world. The restaurant is located in the Maurya a swanky hotel south of the city. After finishing our tandoori kebabs and Dal's, all washed down with fresh chai, all at a reasonable price I might add, we thought we would relax in the hotel bar for a quick drink. One Diet Coke and one Kingfisher beer is what we ordered, $24 is what it cost. The thing is we were the only westerners in the bar, the rest were Indians, this truly shows the divide in wealth.
To be honest Delhi is quite a difficult city to like, its too hot, its too noisy, its to congested, its too polluted, but I do like it, thanks to the beautiful monuments and the pure madness of the place I forgive it for its sins, I even forgive poo man who to be honest is wasted in his job, to throw a dollop of poo at speed, at a moving object must take serious time and practice, now I think about it I should have praised his skill and given him 10 rupees instead of storming off in a massive huff!
Ben and Amber