Our time in Delhi is nearing the end and although we tried to avoid coming back I think we will have to return for a day whilst connecting trains before heading south into Rajasthan.
That is not to say we haven’t enjoyed it here, we’ve had a great time, but it is a city you need to be prepared for and know what you’re here to do! On Thursday we finished our ram packed 3 days spent around the sights by seeing the Qutab Minar first, although instead of paying the 250 rupee fee to get in (our hotel is 200 per night for comparison) we snuck around a side road. I distracted the guard asking empty questions whilst Joe dashed around a corner and snapped a few of the whole structure. Thank goodness, as this glorified chimney didn’t justify its entry cost!
Returning we stopped at a local roadside lunch place and got our lunch (rice, dhal, curried veg, mini fried rotis) for 18 rupees (18p!!) – I think this is the cheapest full meal we’ve ever had and Joe reckoned we wouldn’t get it this cheap again here – we shall see! From here we headed to the Haus Khas district, popular with expats, to see Delhi’s more upmarket shopping places and try and find a highly recommended restaurant. We got completely lost looking for the village so popped into a bank to ask for directions, which led to the bank manager getting his driver and car to take us there (2km away) at no cost! Felt very posh.
The shopping village had some very cool and quirky shops, but unfortunately the restaurant we were searching for has closed down – so that was the end of that journey! Our final journey of the day took us to the parliament buildings and to one final colourful temple. The parliament buildings were huge and built in a very European style, felt like we had stepped into Paris with the long road looking like the Champs-Élysées with India gate in the distance being the Arc de Triomphe. The distinctive red sandstone of India though gave it it’s own flare!
That night we went to the cheap, but great, eateries on the main road. My meal cost 70p so in total on main food I spent under £1, crazy! After this we searched high and low for (well mainly high, too many stairs) for a rooftop bar to get a beer, which was a bit of a fail with many places not supplying alcohol. We ended up in a local busy bar packed with smoking locals with some awful Bollywood karaoke in the background, plus a very chatty local coming to sit with us.
Yesterday we spent a couple of hours sending parcels home (a very (90 minutes in total) long process – wrapping in cotton, paperwork, customs forms – Joe’s patience was tested to the absolute limit here) and struggled through many chemists searching for suncream (Not easy to find here, unless you want factor 50 with added whitener!). Last night we went down to the red fort to see the sound and light show, a great spectacle, and had more food on cheap street.
Today we are heading to Rishikesh, the heart of yoga and meditation in India. Hoping to get on some good classes and see if I can touch my toes by the of the week! Firstly though I’m off to check out the science museum to satisfy my inner geek!