Escape to Delhi

It was an easy 1 hour flight to Bangkok and then a 5 hour flight to Delhi. We just got on the plane and sat down and I saw coming down the aisle a woman who I thought I recognised. As she got closer and sat down right in front of me we both recognised each other instantly. Her name is Kanta and she used to come to my second yoga class on a Monday at the Marriott. She had changed jobs and consequently changed gyms a couple of years ago. She was always enthusiastic and bubbly and I missed her friendly banter when she left. It was fab to see her and her husband who were going to Delhi to see relatives. It’s a very small world. We are hoping to catch up in a few days.

We were supposed to be picked up by the hotel at 11.30 it was a late flight, but they never showed so we got in a knackered taxi and made our way into town. We couldn’t get anywhere near the hotel because the police had closed all the roads. It took us until 2am to get there and when we did it was nothing like the reviews on Expedia and it was in the seediest part of town. It was grubby and I got into bed almost fully dressed. Sometimes the reviews of these places are highly misleading.

After not the best nights sleep we got up and got a tuk tuk to book our train ticket to Jaipur, which was fully booked. We are now going in a car with a driver and having it for the whole time. We have also booked a different hotel in a nicer part of town. Sorted. Phew.

I may have called the traffic in Chiang Mai intense but it’s kids stuff compared to Delhi. It is the craziest traffic I have ever encountered. There may be 3 lanes on a road but there will be 5 lines of cars all jockeying for position. Cars , motorbikes, tuk tuks, trucks, bullock carts and the odd elephant. Our driver said to drive in India you need good brakes, good horn and good luck!!

I had also forgotten how noisy India is…. flipping heck!!! Car horns, dogs, people shouting it’s never quiet.

All your senses are assaulted by smells of food and drains and pollution you can cut with a knife. Visually it’s amazing with beautiful buildings, colourful saris and decorated trucks looking like xmas. There is also the obvious extreme poverty and people sleeping in the centre reservation on busy roads. No wonder they call it ‘incredible India’.

We got dropped off by the tuk tuk driver at India Gate, which is in memory for all the fallen Indian soldiers in the First World War. It’s impressive. It’s in a huge park with many people wandering around in a big green space and lovely to be away from the traffic. We were accosted by many sellers of everything and had forgotten just how pushy they can be!!

We ate on the street as we walked around in the day and later on in the evening at the main bazar in a rooftop restaurant overlooking the chaotic night bazar. We had aloo palak (potato and spinach) and daal makhani (lentil curry) with naan bread. Yum.

Off to Jaipur, looking forward to going and getting out of Delhi. Our driver Rama speaks good English and is a funny guy. We stopped on the way to Jaipur to feed the monkeys on the side of the road.

The landscape is very different, very sandy with palm trees and low lying hills full of monkeys, deer and strangely the odd camel! It was a long journey, 6 hours. We eventually get to our destination in a lovely heritage hotel within the pink city only recently opened.

Looking forward to this trip.

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