The New Delhi experience

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I started the day with the complimentary breakfast---served to me in my room by a waiter. I was rather surprised, but if something is cheap in India, I guess, it is labor. Anyway, I was eager to get going and leave my dreary room.

Today was my walking day, an attempt to get a bit of Delhi life by wandering around. First though, I had to make it to the official Delhi Tourist office. The Lonely Planet guide had already warned me about the touts, so I wasn't surprised, and usually just walked on. (The touts are trying to sell you something like an overpriced tour or a fake train ticket.) Their ingenuity is quite amazing; they adjust what they tell you in such a way that your situation seems the direst. For example, when I was looking for the tourist office, a tout came by asking me what I was looking for. When I told him, he showed me the direction but also remarked that it wasn't open yet. Fortunately, I didn't believe him and walked on. Of course, it was open.

Some auto-rickshaws in New Delhi

Another nuisance are the auto-rickshaw drivers who are offering their services. They stop by your side and follow you around. One I asked where the Khan Market was because I couldn't find it right away. He told me that he would take me there cheaply; it was just around the block. Fortunately, I didn't believe him either, walked around the next corner, and there it was.

Food stands right in front of the Khan Market

The Khan Market is an upscale shopping market according to the Lonely Planet guide. I beg to differ; I wonder what LP's definition of upscale is.

The oh-so-upscale Khan Market

When I had read that people don't use their left hand for eating and other hygenically critical things, I had wondered how much of that is really important today. A visit to a public toilet reminded me that there is still quite some significance to it. I for one won't use my left hand when eating for a while.

Water rather than toilet paper in a public restroom at Khan Market

My search for a wireless internet connection led me to the various cafe's on my way, including Cafe Coffee Daily and Barista, both of which officially had wireless internet access, except that it didn't work. At the Barista coffee shop, they were playing some Indian variant of MTV on the screen, but no ESPN because of the "legal implications" as a sign on a board said.

On my way back to the hotel, I took the newly finished metro subway system; quite a breeze, and modern. It is based on a token system; figuring out the necessary information wasn't trivial, but no big problem in the end either. I almost got arrested when I tried to take a photo of the station's sign "Central Secretariat" because it reminded me of the former Soviet Union's symbolism. Speaking of which: There is an awful lot of police and military personell present in Delhi. So I never felt unsafe, but I wondered quite a bit about what country I'm in.

The ministry of defense

I'm happy and healthy and back at my room. I caught a bit of monsoon during the day, which was refreshing given the warm and humid weather (but not too much, and I like this weather anyway). Time to finish up some more work and then head for Agra tomorrow, with Patrick and Patricia and Todd!

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