Jun 05, 2007
Jul 25, 2007
Nevertheless, we ventured out this morning to find the tourist information office in Connaught Place, once the heart of the business and commercial district of New Delhi. We hailed au autorickshaw, climbed in, and hoped for the best.
It was a frustrating morning, with people hassling us to buy this or go there every other second. One man offered to show us to the government tourist office and steered us down the block into one of the storefronts with deceptively official looking signage. It didn't take long for us to figure out that this was a travel agent and the man who had "helped us" was a commission shark. After sitting in the (air-conditioned!) office for a while listening to an over-dramatic sales pitch for a trip to the mountains, we politely excused ourselves to go find the real tourist office. We eventually did find the office, and a delicious South Indian lunch which set us back $2.50 each. Things started looking up from there, and are continuing to do so. Gopal should be arriving tonight, and we've started outlining plans for the next week or so. We're planning on spending two more days in Delhi, before heading north for a much-needed escape from the heat. & amp; nbsp;
We arrived in the Delhi airport just before midnight on Wednesday, June 6th. Walking down the jetway, we already knew we were in for a treat: 98 degrees and hazy. It's more like 115 degrees and blowing dust (blowing dust is a condition, just like sunny or partly clowdy)now, and I assure you it's at least 90% as uncomfortable as it sounds. A driver from our hotel was waiting for us at the airport with a sign bearing my name, a welcome site. He led us to a van, which, surprisingly enough, started on the first try. We held on tightly as our driver battled the traffic, cutting cars off right and left. On the side of the road, we spotted our first cow, along with hundreds of homeless people sleeping in every imaginable place. The sites, sounds, and, last but certainly not least, smells of Delhi certainly made an impression. We'd never encountered anything quite like this--there are people everywhere, and most of them are desperately poor. Our hostel is located off the Main Bazaar, a busy street where stepping outside might mean risking your life in the path of an autorickshaw driver.