India, Days 28-29: Delhi = Crazy

On Wednesday, we took Jet Airways one way from Leh to Delhi. It was a pretty uneventful flight (save that it was an hour late – which no one really seemed to notice). The view of the Himalayas was wonderful as we flew by.

For our two nights in Delhi, we are staying at a nice hotel for a break and a rest before we begin our journey into Rajasthan for the last two weeks of the trip. It’s a nice break to be in a very comfortable hotel and we spent the balance of Wednesday just relaxing, reading, and watching Animal Planet.

Today, we decided to venture out of the oasis of the hotel and visit the National Museum and some of the government shopping emporiums. The Museum had a nice collection of various pieces of art from throughout Indian history. However, as are many things in India, the museum looks like it hasn’t really been updated since the 60s.

Next we went to the first government emporium and did a little bit of browsing. We will probably come back before we leave for home. After the first shopping stop, we decided to go to another government run emporium and here is where things started to get crazy. We hopped on a rickshaw and the driver took us to the “government emporium”. The trouble with being a tourist in Delhi is that it is basically impossible to navigate. There are no street signs, all the streets pretty much look the same, and you can’t really ask anyone directions because they are more likely to misdirect you to a “tourist office” that gives them a commission.

This is what our rickshaw driver had in mind when he dropped us off at the “emporium”. As soon as we walked in, we could tell is wasn’t the right place. We were immediately pounced on by a bunch of staff asking what we wanted, and that we’d get a good price. Sure we would.

We got out of there as fast as we could practically needing to push our way out the door. We tried to look around for the right place, but like I said, it is just about impossible to ascertain where you are. We decided to give up and just head back to the hotel as we had already had a good day.

We hailed another rickshaw driver, who when we showed him where our hotel was, decided it was too far and drove off. Okay, we’ll try again. We hailed another guy who was driving around with a friend. He said he would take us there, but not before asking if we wanted to go to every other tourist attraction, mall, and train station in the city. After saying ‘no’, ‘no’, ‘no’ about 50 times, he finally said okay – 200 rupees. Probably about double (or more) what it should actually cost, but at this point we just decided to go for it.

The streets in Delhi are totally crazy right now (and probably always) as a result of the preparations for the Commonwealth games in the fall. Practically all the sidewalks are ripped up and “construction workers” (just a bunch of men, women and children moving dirt around) are busy trying to fix the roads. As our rickshaw driver got closer to our hotel, it became apparent that he didn’t really know where he was going, so we pulled over a bunch of times so he could ask.

Thankfully, we eventually got back and are now relaxing again before an early morning train to Agra. I have a feeling that Agra will also be crazy, but I think ‘delhi crazy’ is hard to beat. Hope all are well.

2 Responses to “India, Days 28-29: Delhi = Crazy”

  1. Suzanne

    Glad to hear you made it back to your hotel safely. Terry and I had a somewhat similar experience in China!
    We’re off tomorrow (Sat) to Philadelphia to help Nancy and Art Collins (Sarah’s first cousin once removed)celebrate their 40th anniversary.

  2. Tony

    I always heard the streets of Delhi were insane. Be glad you aren’t driving around on them. :-)