After waking up, and not sleeping very well, probably because of jet lag, we decide to try to change some money. Little did we know that it was Saturday (it was still Friday for you guys, and you were probably still up) and little did we know how difficult that would be. After walking two blocks from our hotel, we decide that we should go back to the hotel and eat something. We eat, and find out that we can change money at the hotel no problem. So we do. We met up with our group at 1pm.
Having someone that knows the area, and speaks the language is very helpful, i cannot tell you how much stress I don’t have because there is someone taking care of the transportation, were you are going to sleep, where good safe food it etc.
We get on a bus, a public bus, our group is 11 people big, so that means there are 11 white people on this bus. Which is cool, we get some funny looks, but it was pretty good. Being a bus driver in Delhi is different than Canada. As a Delhi bus driver you get help, there is one guy on the passenger side yelling at car, bikes, rickshaws and thing that is in the way to get out of the way, and there is a ticket collector that goes around and collects tickets from everyone. After riding this bus I see that everyone drives crazy here, you cannot go 2 seconds without hearing a horn no matter where you are in the city. Driving in Delhi is a game of inches, maybe even less, and I would never want to drive here. Every 2 blocks there is a traffic circle. The lanes are wide enough for 2.5 cars but there are always 3 cars wide and one trying to pass else where. No one has side mirrors, they have all been broken off and no longer exist.
After about 30 minutes of riding the bus we get off, not that the bus stops for this procedure. Here we are, down town Delhi, right in the middle of the action. We make our way to the largest mosque (this may be spelt wrong) in India. It was pretty cool, for those of you that do not know a mosque is a place that Muslims go to pray, up to 5 times a day, when you pray you face mecca and you cannot wear shoes in this place. There is a minaret (a tall tower) that you can go up, there are 4 minarets in this one, and if you look at the Taj Mahal all, the four tower around the main structure are minarets (not the logging camp). We climb up there and get a nice view of the city.
Soon after hanging out at this mosque we make our way to the markets. Now this was cool, once again there is no way to describe this the way I felt it, but I can give you an idea. The markets are packed full of people, you never get you 2m of personal space you sometimes can get10cm, but usually you are always getting bumped into. people around here are always moving around. Most shops are set up in small little alley ways. There are always carts, bicycles and street bikes in these alleys. You have to look all directions and always listen for a motor, usually you will get a bell or horn, once you hear that you need to move out of the way or your ass is grass. Drivers are pretty safe, they will stop if you are in there way, but they are used to people moving out of the way just in the nick of time so when someone doesn’t they have a lot of close calls. The markets are very cool, lots of shiny things to look at, lots of nuts and spices (that are super cheap and taste way better than anything you can get in Canada). It is very sweet. We made our way to the chili market. This is a crazy place too, first of all it is tucked in a little from the city streets, so you walk in there and it is darker than on the street. The next thing you notice is that there is a lot of coughing going on. You don’t really understand why this is happening, but you keep breathing and you start to feel a little tickle in your throat. It gets worse and worse and finally you start to cough to elevate the tickle. Try this at home, make some food, now put a lot of Cayenne pepper on the food, and burn it, get smoke in the air, then breath the air. What you will notice is that it is hard to breath, and you will cough. Same thing happens in this market. Now as you may be able to imagine there is very little room in here to move around, to make matter worse people are always trying to move bags of chillies around. These bags weight 100kg (that is 220 lbs!) and really small skinny Indians are moving these around the place. Sometimes they place them on carts, two wheels 20 bags, 5 long 4 high, and then they maneuver these around this already cramped place. Just crazy.
After this ordeal it is time to head her home. We all board rickshaws. Tanya and I sit while some one drives us around. It is pretty cool. This is about the time that smoke starts to fill the air, and it become thick, the temperature starts to drop because the sun just went down and we are on Delhi’s busiest street. There are loud speakers on the meridian, spewing out political propaganda, there is the smell of smoke, with interruption of inscents and exhaust, there are people shouting all around you, there are horns going off, there are people for as far as the eye can see. It is so crazy. We make our way to the metro.
The metro is one year old, looks way nicer than any train station I have been on, it is reverse culture shock. This new train system is very modern, since it is new, they built it where ever they could. If you think the Edmonton LRT expansion is something special, you should see this one. There is no green space to take up, there is no where to build these tracks but below ground and above ground. There are these pillars on the medians of the road, are about 20m high. In the day time they create a shade over the road. It was weird and something I have never seen before. It was cool, and different. After this we went to dinner.
Dinner was very good, most items were about Rs150 (1USD buys you Rs 42), and beer was Rs150 and was 750ml. That was sweet, good food that is cheap. After eating a very satisfying dinner we went to a near by market. Most stores are open to about 9pm, so we walked around for a while. It is different shopping at. People are always in your face trying to get you to buy things you don’t need, I don’t know how many time people tried to sell me whips and a wall map of India. If you talk to the hustlers, you can have some fun, or you can just ignore them and they go away, or you can bargain with them. We went home and I fell asleep instantly.