Where We Be
|This young boy already has paint on his face and clothes in early celebration of Holi, a festival that
involves making a huge mess with pigments of every color -- every child's dream come true!
|First order of business: buy local clothing (I got this cool shirt for just $3 US). Behind me you can see
the sign for Cottage Ganga Inn, where we spent our first three nights in India. We had to make it past
half a dozen sacred cows in this narrow lane when we first arrived at midnight!
We went for our first walk through Delhi on our
first morning in India and it was quite the sensory
experience. Streets were narrow and unpaved (or
barely paved), with motorcycles whipping by, horns
blaring. We had to navigate a crazy zigzag course
through the streets, past speeding motorcyclists,
slow pedestrians, slower cows, rickshaws, piles of
rubble, men pulling carts by hand, three-wheeled
auto-rickshaws, and even a few cars. It was the
variability of speeds that made for a one-of-a-kind
experience in mayhem. When one car had to get
turned around, the horns started blaring and
everything came to a sudden and very loud stop
until the harassed driver managed to negotiate a
tricky five-point turn. "Controlled chaos" were the
words that came to mind. You felt like you had to
keep a wary eye out just to avoid getting run over.
That said, the people we met were all invariably
friendly. I was very surprised by how unbothered
we were. I had expected to be hounded constantly,
but other than some curious glances, most Indians
gave us our space. They were friendly when we
addressed them, but otherwise no one tried to beg
or hard-sell us. This was a genuine and pleasant
surprise. The other big surprise was how few
tourists there were. We walked the whole morning
and only saw one other tourist; otherwise it was all
crowds of Indians going about their daily business.
|Beleive it or not, this is the main street through the
Paharganj Area, called "Main Bazaar." There were far more
locals going about their business than there were tourists.
|Fast food Delhi style -- everywhere you go, street vendors sell tempting treats
|Turbaned men stand in front of a shop front
|Looking down on "Main Bazaar" from a rooftop restaurant. Controlled chaos!
|The narrow street outside our Cottage Ganga Inn -- full of shops and street vendors and crazy traffic
|Cows pretty much go where they please in India!
|In this one picture you see the variability of traffic on Delhi streets: ox-drawn cart, car, motorcycle, pedestrian, and rickshaw
|Robin awaits a fresh-squeezed glass of tangerine juice
|Rickshaws are everywhere, offering ultra-cheap transport; the men peddling the carts don't always seem brawny enough to get the job done, but they do
|We sat on a stoop on our second day and just watched the world go by -- what a great place for people watching