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singing those sweet delhi blues

delhi is a wild city.

i flew in last night from goa, and was looking through my backpack on the plane when i looked for the section of my cut-up lonely planet guidebook... and.... (oh crap) the "delhi" guidebook segment i'd had was missing. gone. kaput. i guess losing a guidebook had to happen sooner or later on this trip.

so i'm flying into one of the world's most intense cities, and i don't have any information about where to go, stay, any maps, or anything.

i'm already unsettled after a major taxi driver fight scene in goa, where a gang of taxi drivers almost got into a fistfight with our taxi driver for not participating in their price-fixing game (and were screaming at me for taking a cheaper taxi).

so at the airport i pick up a free tourist info map, ask a fellow backpacker in baggage claim where the "backpacker places" mostly are, which turns out to be the main bazaar in pahara ganj. i buy a prepaid taxi ticket into town at the airport, ask the taxi driver to take me there, claiming a reservation at a random hostel to avoid getting hustled to some other part of town where the taxi driver gets a commission.

he then stops about 30 seconds out of the airport to let an unnamed stranger into the front seat who he only describes as "brother" (this is apparently an indian taxi thing... it could just be a harmless ride to a friend, but it's never a good thing for the passenger, and could involve delays, etc.) so i shout "one passenger! no other people!" and he throws the guy out and we drive onwards.

finally we arrive in pahara ganj, and i wander down the main bazaar street looking for places to stay. i find a guesthouse randomly that is cheap and looks ok (but turns out later to be distressingly filthy, complete with creeping stench and cockroach climbing the wall in the bathroom), and sleep for the night.

the next morning i get the heck out of there, and head to connaught place, where within the space of 4 hours i have bought a new guidebook for delhi, ordered a pair of new glasses (frame and high-index lenses for only US $30! a major bargain, and they're ready in only 6 hours), replacement lenses for my old glasses (to replace my really scratched-up lenses), got refills on malaria and antibiotic medication (for only a few dollars), finalized and purchased my plane ticket to nepal tomorrow night, recharged my indian SIM card (which was impossible in goa... long story), and am feeling generally caught-up with the world again.

i was in "hungarian andy" mode over half the time in delhi, fending off hash dealers, touts, shoeshiners, scammers, even a single crazed (and angry) western backpacker, and everything else while going about my day. but even that ruse wears thin, and i end up just having to tell folks to go away when i don't want to deal with their action.

and now here i am at the internet cafe, downloading from itunes the new mountain goats album "get lonely" (props to the goats for posting their lyrics on the internet for all their work!), and hoping i can finally find a fast connection to get the season premiere of lost which i am dying to download from itunes.

things aren't perfect, but they're ok enough for another 24 hours in delhi. then i'm definitely ready to go nepal and go trekking. (but i still may come back here in 3 weeks for the pushkar camel fair, pending a bunch of plane ticket changes i need to make.)

Comments (4)

Laura Snowdon:

You see what we meant about dehli? :-) Hope you've gotten to Nepal ok, but more importantly your season premier of lost! We are all ok here... made it to Kochi and are doing the backwaters tomorrow!
Speak Soon!!!




hey laura!

i do indeed see what you mean. i think it came down to "good hours" and "bad hours" in my delhi days, but that was better than i was expecting, so it's all good.

still no season premiere (or episode 2, either). the only fast internet connection in paraganj refused to let me connect my ipod's usb cable, shouting "no upload! no upload!". so it's at least 2 weeks until i'll get to see them. ;)

nepal is great, just reached the start of my annapurna base camp trek, and should start trekking in the next 1-2 days.

looking forward to hearing your stories about how india went after i left!

Mikita Global Services:

One night in Pahar Ganj, and only one cockroach in the room? I'm glad to hear you located the relative sanity of Connaught Place and that you made it out of Delhi in one piece. Safe travels to you, and say hi to the camels for me when to get to Raji . . .

Wow this is QUITE the story! Damn.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 11, 2006 4:56 PM.

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