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Thursday 18/01/18 8 am
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We got to our hotel at 11 pm feeling not too tired; the flight to KL with a stop over of four hours was good. We went with Malaysian Airlines, the flight to Delhi was in a smaller plane but we got a couple of hours of sleep. Adelaide already seems like a long time ago and we helped the distance of time by staying overnight at the Ibis in town, so we could leave at five am to get our morning flight to here.
I slept in this morning but Narda didn’t. She was out having chai sitting in front of a street fire. I joined her later.
Getting up at 8 – hey I didn’t get to sleep until sometime in the morning and Narda sept a couple of hours more on the plane – we went back to Narda’s new found street kitchen and had eggs on toast, a couple of chais, coffee (set us back almost two dollars) and chatted with locals over a fire. Delhi is quite polluted (someone told us the most polluted city in the world – haven’t fact checked that) and perhaps we added to it by getting warm in front of a fire while eating breakfast this morning. The fire had some coal and some wood from a cabinet that was rapidly losing face.
our immediate street
We are over at the Cottage Ganga Inn delux, low price, yet comfortable. Basic in the sense that we do not have a coffee maker or fridge in our room, so we are dependent on outside. We are through an alley, behind buildings, giving us a quiet space. As with any new place it will take awhile to adjust. For example, walking is a ‘heads-up’ experience as with any crowded older city with traffic of all sorts: cows, motorbikes, cars, trucks, tuk tuks, bikes, tourists, bumping and honking though no one gets upset. We just all learn to dance in sync and try not to get motion-sickness.
I had my first cow-encounter today. We were out in the late afternoon and I was taken by surprise, so my camera was still hiding in my bag, and by the time I got my phone out the cow had slowly movedin between, so many cars and motorbikes found a clear path down an alley. However, to my western tourist’s delight we came across cow heaven later on after we had dinner. There were several munching away in a circle and one even volunteered to have a selfie with me which did not come out, but fortunately Narda was on hand to capture the moment.
And on the way home we found another pod of them in our alley…
NOTE ANY ERRORS I WILL FIX PERHAPS LATER - I AM DOING THIS PAGE AT OUR LOCAL RESTAURANT (GREAT BREAKFAST FOR LESS THAN $3) WITH CRICKET BLASTING LOUDLY THE WHOLE TIME WE ARE HERE (TWO HOURS) WITH iNDIA PLAYING (BEATING?) SOUTH AFRICA OR SOME SUCH PLACE
Delhi. It’s been a long time coming. The last time I tried we were barred. Some terrorists tried to shoot up the Indian parliament in 2002, so the city was closed down to tourists.
We are in an area called Pagar Ganj, a busy, noisy, dirty area with many cheap hotels, markets, and great little restaurants. We are staying in an unassuming little hotel, with some back packers and some older hippy types on a retirement budget, called Cottage Ganga Hotel. Every advertisement and instruction lists it as being “behind the Khanna Cinema”. Be blowed if we can find it. We had our movies all lined up. I think it’s closed and “repurposed”. Who knows. Anyway it’s in a little quiet corner, shared with a kindergarten and a trash collection area. The showers a are hot and thick, and the bed….surprise...is soft. About 5" of decent foam. We have slept well so far, albeit keeping some weird hours.
My first impression. Man this place is smoggy. Smoke and worse...everywhere. But so far never boring. The place is jumping, colours, cows, many many people, Indians are friendly but fellow tourists ignore us...as you do. “The worst thing that can happen to a tourist is meeting another tourist" Paul Theroux.
Yesterday morning I was up earlier...by miles...than Terrell, so I wandered down the road and joined a group of Indian gentlemen warming their hands over a fire. One of them kindly gave me his chair, the only one, and sat on his motor scooter. The chai wallah made me 3 cups over the time of nice conversation. I even learned to say thankyou in Hindi, but today I have forgotten it again. Nice start to the trip
And the food is incredible. Brendan and others have told us this before, but here we are. The most difficult thing in the restaurant is choosing from a menu when you like everything. And also bloody cheap. Yesterday our full spending on food, 3 full meals in nice places with drinks, snacks, cookies, many cups of chai, fruit, was about $17 USD. We have signed up to do a cooking class on Sunday. Should be interesting.
Then there are the phones. The Indians get free phone calls, free sim cards and one 1GB of free data per day. That explains why they all have a smart phone glued to their ears. For us it was $15.50 each for the same deal, for 70 days.