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New Dehli – Day 1 – Sean’s Take

DELHI, INDIA

Look, I’ll be honest, when I thought about how New Delhi would be, I figured it would be an assault on every sense, the sounds, the smells, the sights, like Mike Tyson pummeling you while wearing a dress singing the latest Miley Cyrus song chewing onions. That didn’t happen. New Delhi, it turns out, is less like a Larium inspired dream and more like that little brain exercise of “Two men stand in a fork in a road, one path will lead you to certain doom, one will lead you to riches. One man always lies, the other always tells the truth, ask one question to discern the path to riches”

Shot of an Autorickshaw from our cab from the airport to New Delhi

As we ride in the back of the cab,  our driver points out the sights we pass. We sit in a very small vehicle, the pickup from the airport being about 30 minutes late, Brittany’s pack wedged in the back, mine an uncomfortable third companion in the back seat, soaking in the sights and the sounds. Our driver is very interested in where we’re from, how long we’ve been married, what we do professionally, and he’s taken to ingratiating himself by referring to me as “My Friend” in nearly every statement.

DELHI, INDIA

We’ve rolled the windows down, at our drivers behest, to enjoy the unnaturally cool day (it’s 74 degrees). The taxi reaches an intersection where hawkers and beggars begin to circulate around the stopped cars. “Don’t Give” our taxi driver says as a young dust covered woman with an infant stands next to me, staring. A young child, maybe four, shouts at Brittany from her open window, “HALLO! Haaaalllloooooooo?” and making a motion indicating his desire for her to give him something. It was a jarring introduction to the poverty in New Delhi, and we’d see much worse by the end of our three days here.

DELHI, INDIA

About 15 minutes later, the driver stops the car at the side of a very busy road and says we’re here, it’s just a short walk. We tip the driver, and he implores us for more, and after a back and forth of “You show us our hostel” ,”You give me more when we get there?”, “No that is your tip”, “I can have more?” he surprisingly declares “You happy? I happy!” and we begin our 10 minute trek through completely unfamiliar and dizzying back alleyways before arriving at our Hostel – Smyle Inn.

New Delhi

After settling in our spartan but suitable accommodations, Brittany and I set off to orient ourselves with the city, our first stop is a necessary one – the train station to buy tickets out of Delhi to Jaipur. The moment we step out of the hostel, all eyes are on us, and let me tell you, the salesmanship of these guys would make Billy Mays blush. My friend, Hallloooo, Where you going, I take you to good food, were common and easy enough to politely tune out. The ones that were a bit more difficult were the ones who professed to be selling nothing, perhaps just practicing their english, or perhaps just helping out the foreigners, only to redirect us to their friends stand, or their families travel business. We’d been misdirected, deceived, and out right lied to so many times –

Friendly man: “The train station closes at 2pm, it’s 1:30, you must go now with this official taxi to pick up tickets”
Us: We’ll just come back tomorrow
Friendly man: “It’s closed tomorrow, Holiday”
Friendly taxi driver: “It’s closed for 3 days”
Us: “Bye”
New Delhi
5 Hours later and miles walked enduring countless false leads, we ended up back where we started, at the train station that was very open, and would be until 8pm that night. Like I said, it’s like that brain teaser of the fork in the road, where one man always tells the truth and one man always lies, however in Delhi, there seems to be a shortage of the first.

DELHI, INDIA

If you’ve managed to stick with me this long, you’ll be pleased to know that we did end up eating some fantastic food – Palak Paneer (my favorite), Chicken Tikka Masala, and garlic naan. The paneer was better than any I’ve ever had in the States and it set a level of excitement for both of us about the foods we’d be able to try along our travels.

DELHI, INDIA

As we ate, an Indian guy in his early 20’s kind of joined in our conversation. We ended up eating and chatting with him for an hour or two about his life, about our life, what we’re doing on our trip, what to avoid while in Delhi, and more. He lost his family at the age of 4, was thrown in an orphanage, cared for by an NGO that takes in children from the slums, now works for the NGO, speaks 7 languages and apparently renews hope in travelers just arriving in Delhi. With that, we returned to our rooms and battled jetlag for the rest of the evening…. More to come.

Delhi

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Comments (6)

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  1. Adam says:

    This just made my night! I am ready to read more about the travels! I MISS THE HELL OUT OF YOU GUYS!!!!

  2. Adam says:

    How do I get back to the home page from here tho?

  3. susan says:

    wow, Sean..just wow. I was enthralled…

  4. Sean says:

    Hahahaha, that’s too funny! Welcome to a second world, developing country. Wikipedia says that Delhi is a cosmopolitan city, how do you think it matches up to some other cosmopolitan cities like London, Sydney, Berlin, Vienna or Tokyo? General rule in places like that, the people that don’t want to help you are probably the only ones you should allow to. Good luck you two, and watch out for the little cretin pick pocket gangs that seem to run around areas like that. The first kid or two are decoys…

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