posted on Thursday, August 27, 2009

Arrival in Delhi

Arrived in Delhi early this morning and as expected this was no ordinary day. Having a full day to spend before taking my night trains in Shimla, I started by visiting Gandhi memorial. This is the place where he spent the last months of his life and in the courtyard is the exact place where he was assassinated. His last footsteps are marked by marble stones and at the end of his last walk there is a memorial stone. I knew about his remarkable life but mostly from vague memories of his biographical movie; so it was interesting to read more about his courage and powerful example that led to India's freedom. Left my backpack at Old Delhi Station I moved on to the Red Ford not maybe as an exciting place to visit as I thought. The midday sun heat also didn't help so in the afternoon I was desperate for a bit of air conditioning and a drink. Despite the jet-lag and general drowsiness I copped well with scams and overcharging attempts that are very much part of the indian experience. Only the last rickshaw cyclist got the better of me. We were close to Old Delhi station and had agreed a reasonable fare for what i thought was a quick 15 minutes trip. After 30 minutes of cycling through a maze of little alleys I realised he was taking me to New Delhi station instead! So I told him and he seemed well prepared for it...He didn't seem too upset about the fact that he had been cycling 30 minutes for nothing and after a quick U turn we were back in a maze of tiny roads, it felt a bit like descending into the deepest realms of hell, but it was just ordinary every day Old Delhi! Also wondered for a while if he knew where we were but thought he would still have a better clue than I had so I didn't interfere and hoped for the best. After what seemed a slow stage of the tour de france I couldn't help but feel that I had to give him the double of what we had agreed on and finally concede defeat!