Trip Start Jan 28, 2011
51Trip End May 23, 2011
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Where I stayed
My first true exploration of Delhi began when I took the metro from Saket to Chandni Chowk, and then made my way to the Red Fort. I think that making this journey at 8am was not the best of ideas, given that I was the only white person and one of the few females amongst those living in extreme poverty at this hour. Quite a shock to my system before I may have been ready for it.
In understanding what this experience meant to me, I compared it to the feelings I have had when walking in the hoods of Baltimore and Philadelphia. In Delhi, I felt more helplessness, whereas in Baltimore and Philadelphia I felt more a fear for my safety. In both scenarios, I felt very disconnected from those around me.
Red Fort was a calming and beautiful location to decompress after facing the streets of Chandni Chowk for the first time. The accompanied videos show short tours of the area.
Leaving the Red Fort, the streets were much more filled, and I was comforted in that other foreigners were in the surrounding areas. Not many, but several foreigners was enough. Walking around the markets was an exhausting experience. Being a solo white female traveler, I never had so much constant attention before. At one time, I actually played hide-and-seek with a man for nearly 15 minutes, as he continuously tracked me down and then followed me. Eventually, the stern voice came out when I stared in his eyes and forcefully told him to leave me alone. Then I proceeded to walk toward a police officer to enforce that I had had enough with him.
After more than half the day in the Chandni Chowk/Red Fort area, I made my way to the Connaught Place. The Central Park their was a wonderful area to relax and breath after the chaos and confusion I felt earlier. I enjoyed watching kids running around and was tempted to join some break dancers in training their acrobatic moves.
Upon return to my hostel, a nasty headache had formed along with some nausea and a visit to the toilet for some unpleasant upheaving. I was happy to wake up the following morning to a fresh start which led to a much more relaxing and slow day.
In the early afternoon, I made my way to the Mehrauli Archaeological Park, a UNESCO site that is home to the famous Qutub Minar. I started to feel less afraid and edgy around the locals, which was a welcome change from the previous day when I was suspicious of everyone. The accompanied pictures and video entry show a glimpse of my experiences at this site.
I very much enjoyed that on this day there was much less attention focused on me than the previous day. All the same, the regular staring and request for photos of the white lady occurred. Attached is a picture of some children who were delighted to have taken a photo with me. And for me, I have a photo reminder of that experience.