Delhi

Posted by on Oct 30, 2012 in Blog, India | Comments Off on Delhi

Dates of travel: 10/28 – 10/30/2012

We had decided to spend only one week cycling in India, then store the bikes in Delhi and continue by public transportation for another five weeks. We felt that this way it would be easier to keep our sanity. Plus, it enabled us to see many more parts of the country that we wouldn’t be able to reach by bike because it would take months to get there. Hind side, our first week in India was much better than what was to come and if we had left at that time, we could have avoided a lot of negative experiences.

When we tried to load our bikes on a bus from Agra to Delhi the bus-driver wanted to charge us the same for each bike as we paid for our tickets. It made us furious because the travel agency who sold us the tickets had said that the bikes were included. Furthermore, every time we had put our bikes on a bus in other countries we were charged anywhere from nothing to half the price of our own tickets. The bus driver had lots of room in the storage department underneath the bus and we could tell that he was greedy and wanted to pocket as much money for himself knowing that we didn’t have another choice. While he was arguing with us he kept spitting on the ground constantly and it was disgusting to watch. In the end we had to give in and grudgingly handed him the money. After a wild bus ride with constant annoying honking along the way we made it to Delhi just to find that another person was waiting to take our money. Eric was quick to unload our bikes by himself, but a kid came up demanding fifty rupees for luggage handling. He hadn’t even touched our bikes or bags but he kept blocking our way repeating “50 rupees, 50 rupees” like a broken record. Eventually we were able to push past him and cycled away quickly, but it was a frustrating experience nonetheless.

As it was almost midnight and traffic was light, cycling the 15km from our bus station to Delhi wasn’t too difficult. I was sad to see that many people were sleeping on the sidewalk with minimal belongings and obviously no other place to go.

The area of Delhi where most tourists stay is called Paraganj which is a dirty bazaar with touters at every step and trash-laden streets. It was fascinating for one day, but after that it was disgusting and irritating as described in my other blog post. We have certainly ventured out of Paraganj and seen some of the sights and shopping malls.

Streets of Paharganj

Streets of Paharganj

We were absolutely astonished about Akshardhama Temple, the world’s largest Hindu temple which was just completed in 2000. Unfortunately, they didn’t allow us to take any pictures.

Akshardham Temple, New Delhi – Photo by www.akshardham.com/

Lotus Temple

Lotus Temple – Delhi

We were excited to go see a movie at a theatre so we went to Connought Place, a fancy and expensive shopping mall. Unfortunately, the guy who sat next to me at the theatre had such strong body odor that it was hard for me to enjoy my time there. The same happened whenever we took the Metro. It is a very modern system, but completely crowded at all times and the smells in the trains were difficult to bear. Luckily spitting is forbidden at the Metro with high penalty enforcement, but even at the fancy malls people couldn’t stop this nasty habit. Red paan (chew tobacco) stains were everywhere and walls looked looked more red and white. When Eric walked past a food stand the vendor nonchalantly turned towards him and spat a perfect arch of red disgusting paan right onto Eric’s sandals. Yuck.

Indian Tuk-Tuk

Classic Indian Tuk-Tuk

All India posts:
Part 1 – A long day – Crossing the border into India
Part 2 – Cycling in India 
Part 3 – Feeling like Superstars
Part 4 – A super-cheap amusement park? Heck yes!
Part 5 – Dussehra Festival
Part 6 – Agra and the Taj Mahal
Part 7 – Delhi
Part 8 – Staying on a houseboat on Dal Lake in Kashmir
Part 9 – Yoga in Rishikesh   &   Leaving India
Final Part – I.N.D.I.A. – I will never do it again!