Delhi Day 2 Part 1

Continued from Delhi Day 1.

I was walking down the street, and I saw a rattlesnake. I decided to taunt it, and it gave chase. I tried to step on the head, but stepped on the tail instead. When it was about to strike, I woke up from sleep.  It was 4:30 in the morning. I didn’t feel tired because I’ve been waking up early due to jetlag and I had slept much of the plane ride from Guangzhou to Delhi.

At around 5, I went downstairs to the lounge/check-in/dining area where I tried yet again to use my internet. It was completely dark down there, and two of the employees were asleep there. They woke up, and tried to accommodate me as much as they could while they woke from their dreams. I felt bad. Then I felt worse when my wifi for my laptop still didn’t work. Fuck!

I didn’t stay down there long to try to troubleshoot since I felt bad that I woke up the two guys. I asked them and they told me that they usually get up and get going at 6. I decided to retreat to my room and start jotting down everything that I am going to put on my travel diary offline and just copy and paste it into its final form later.

7:30 or so, I went downstairs into the internet area and found out that my iPhone could get wifi but my stupid fucking laptop couldn’t. Fuck. As a last ditch effort, I got out my ethernet connector just to give it a try….and it worked. Not the most elegant solution, but a solution nonetheless. I no longer feel like a fish out of water.

I blogged like a fiend and at 9, I felt like it was time to go out into the wild.

A photo from last night of my exploded shampoo bottle. Always double bag.

Since I don’t have handy internet, I am going to have to do this trip the old school way, with a heavy ass dictionary sized guidebook and paper map.

At my going away party, my friend GR invited some of his friends. One girl, whose name I do not recall, came up to me, and just handed me this 1000 INR(+- $20) bill. She said that it was a gift for me. I tried to give her USD in exchange, but she refused and I was too drunk to push the issue. Anyhow, I’ve decided that this money does not belong to me. I am going to keep it with me as a good luck charm, and when I come back to the States, I am going to give it to the next person I know who is going to visit India for the first time. Then that person will get this good luck charm and have it to give the next person they know who will visit India for the first time. That’s the idea anyway.

The street that my hotel is on in the daylight. It doesn’t look as scary as when it was night.

Free breakfast from the hotel. This is the Indian food option. It’s some sort of potato pancake, yogurt, and some sort of pickled vegetable.

Take that Wifi!

Bamboo for construction scaffolding just like much of Asia.

Along a larger road leading to the subway. It’s about a 5 minute walk from the hotel. That auto rickshaw driver kept on bothering me to hire him for the day. He literally drove alongside me for about a minute and would not drop the issue despite repeated refusals from me.

Subway station right ahead.

The have-nots.

OK, deep breath.

Good, no line. The lady told me that she didn’t have a week long pass, but I could just buy single ride tokens.

Oh, this is the same system as the MRT in Taipei. I’ve got this!

This feels so familiar. I’ve got this down.

The trains even look the same. I am pretty sure the same company makes both the MRT and the Delhi Metro trains.

Add this to my subway interior photo.

Transfer at Connaught Place. I like the architecture here.

Big station, lots of people connecting here.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Where’s the “Cluster Fuck!”? Look at how orderly everyone is waiting in line for the train to arrive.

I really do stick out like a sore thumb here. Everyone looks at me funny because I am a foreign tourist. There are actually not many foreign tourists here in Delhi right now.

JLN Stadium is my stop. It is completely empty.

This always brings me excitement. I never know what I’ll see when I surface.


Anyone hear crickets?

I decided to take an auto rickshaw to my destination. I am super excited. Make that fucking excited about taking an auto rickshaw. I just think that it’ll be a lot of fun to be amongst all the cars but yet still kind of enclosed.

I flagged one down, pointed to where I wanted to go. The driver said no, and then drove off….WTF? My money is no good?

I flagged another one down, and this one couldn’t find out where I wanted to go despite me pointing out the place on the map. He was patient with me, and he flagged down another pedestrian, who spoke English. The pedestrian looked at my map, told him what it was and he agreed. He wanted to charge me 50 INR, I told him no, 20. We ended up at 30. Less than a dollar, no bad.

The ride is just as exciting and fun as I had imagined. Great way to see the city.

The fare meter. At first, I wanted him to use the meter, but he said his meter was broken(could be a lie), so we negotiated price.

I’ve arrived!

People playing cricket. Very popular here in India.

Lots of sleeping stray dogs here. By sleeping I mean they are really really asleep.

Got my ticket. It’s 250INR for foreigners and 10 for locals. That’s a pretty hefty tax.

Almost there.

Part of a massive complex.

People didn’t always care for it like they do today. Humayun’s Tomb inspired the design of the Taj Mahal.

BAM! Amazing!

I’ve learned to accept that when I ask others to take photos for me, they will very rarely be perfect. Some part of the building will always be cut off. Oh well.

Really steep stairs.

Doesn’t matter what you do in life, we all end up the same way.

Amazing stone work carved from a single piece of stone.

The weather was beautiful today. In the morning, it felt just perfect in the 70s.

I wonder if the body is actually entombed here?

I am just so impressed by the lattice stone work in all different patterns.

Old school brooms made out of weeds.

I was just leaving Humayun’s Tomb when I heard the theme song from Doraemon. Remember the blue robotic cat from the future. Yes, they had made Doraemon into a TV show and this man above had the Doraemon theme song as his ring tone on his phone!! How crazy is that?

Street food…must…fight…urge…Don’t…want…Delhi…belly…

I tried to get another auto rickshaw back to the subway for the same price that I paid to get here. The couple of drivers who I talked to just brushed me off and said that I’d have better luck talking to a pedicab for that price. Fine, be that way!

My pedicab had a colorful seat.

This was fun too, except the seat on my pedicab was forward leaning so I kept on having to reposition myself so I didn’t fall forward. The ride was a lot bumpier and obviously a lot slower. I ended up paying the pedicab 40INR since he was actually putting in hard work to get me there. I gave him a smile as I disembarked and he gave me a big smile back.

Down we go.

Back to the most empty station in the world.

Crowded train. These four guys in the foreground of the photo were really taken by me. The guy in green was a huge muscle head and I could tell that they are all pretty well off. One guy had a iPhone. Anyhow, they wanted to get their photos taken with me. When I asked for the reason, they replied that it was for Facebook. A lot of Indians like taking photos with white foreigners, especially white females. This isn’t just Indian guys as I’ve seen Indian couples asking to take photos with Caucasian tourists. I don’t get as much love, but at the same time, I also don’t have to deal with as much hassle.

180 degrees from the previous photo. This is the ladies only train section. Must be nice to be a girl. In general though, the subway is heavily male dominated. In fact, now that I think about it, the streets are very heavily male dominated as well. All the wives and daughters are locked up at home.

My stop. This is a really busy bazaar area…I am bracing myself. Note the logo design heavily influenced by the London Underground logo.

The anticipation…

I hear a lot of commotion, but I don’t see much commotion.

The have-nots.

This temple(I am assuming) looked like it came out of a lucid wild dream.

Getting closer to all the noise that I am hearing.

Ahh, here it is.

I think I’ve found the “Cluster Fuck!”. The honking from cars and mopeds are constant and deafening. All the people, cars, bikes, mopeds, auto rickshaws and pedicabs are going in all directions. If there is room, it’s a valid place to move. These photos cannot justify the chaos that can only be experienced in person.

Ah, big vat of food just sitting out in the heat. No wonder people get sick easily from food poisoning. By the way, the weather is getting quite warm now. I am guessing it’s easily in the high 80s, and yet so many people are still wearing pants and long sleeves. Here I am in a t shirt and shorts and I am feeling the heat already!

Street food! Smells so good. It’s around noon, and I am starting to get pretty hungry. On one hand, I really want to eat, but on the other hand, I am afraid of getting deathly ill. What to do…what to do…

Saw this at the next stall over. I believe this is gulab jamun. OK, I give in, I am eating this. I had this in Austin, and I wasn’t a fan. This is after my friend CS had raved all about how good it was in India, so I had to try it.

They have seating for customers. None of them look ill yet, a good sign.

And I wait…

Samosa and gulab jamun. If it might make me deathly ill, then it better be fucking good.

Yes 2/2, Yum. Both were excellent and the gulab jamun was miles ahead of the one I had in Austin. It tasted creamier and less kick in the head sweet than the one I had. Would eat again, but only in India!

This was so absurd to see. Literally in the middle of all this “Cluster Fuck!”, I see a McDonald’s. I couldn’t believe my eyes, and I kept on looking at it just to make sure it was the real deal and not some knockoff.

Is that lunch, or are they pets?

A whole row devoted to kid’s bikes.

Moving up in the world. AC baby!

Getting really close to my next destination.

It was around this time that someone grabbed my wrist and held on while I was walking. Instinctively, I yanked my arm back as hard as I could and freed myself. Then I see this man who just kept on saying “Time time time” while pointing at his wrist to me. I find it hard to believe that he really wanted to know the time, but who knows. I didn’t even think twice about it, but I looked back, glared at him for literally a split second, and kept on walking. It was odd, it was like I was on autopilot mode, as the whole exchanged happened in less than 2 seconds. Kind of freaked me out and I was even more protective of all of my belongings after that. I can see how it is so easy for a pickpocket in India as there are just so many people in close proximity and so much chaos around.

I look at this photo and think about how it only captures about a 20th of the intensity in real life. This intersection takes the crown as far as honking goes. It was complete “Cluster Fuck!”. There is no other way to describe this. You’ve got to go to see, hear, feel, taste, and smell in person. I stood here for a bit with a smile on my faced and basked in the chaos. This is the reason why I came to India.

Oh yeah, and there’s also stuff like this to see.

Looking back at that crazy intersection.

Lahore Gate of the Red Fort.

Proof of life.

Right after I had my photo taken, I hear even more commotion and noise coming from previously mentioned intersection. I ran back and found that a protest was happening there. This cannot get any better! I was so giddy from all the action.

I waited in line and then a local said that I can go to the tourist counter that has basically no line. Sweet!

The line for locals. The tickets were 10INR for local and 250INR for a tourist. So, we are paying a pretty high tariff in exchange for no line.

Continuing on with no lines. I waited behind maybe 5 people at the security check-in just ahead.

Pigeons are a fan of the Red Fort.

Lahore Gate is significant because Nehru raised the first Independent India flag here.

Chatta Chowk. Used to be a real bazaar, but today just a tourist trap.

Don’t you wish you could find my Moleskine?

When the British occupied India, they built buildings of their own style inside the Red Fort. There is this odd juxtaposition of two very different styles inside the fort.

Someone went home with one unhappy foot.

I am far from being in the know on this, but is this what I think it is? It was just growing wild inside the Red Fort grounds. Someone correct me if I am wrong.

Stripped squirrels here.

Not sure if this was done by design or if the mortar has a slower weathering rate than the bricks.

Saw this leaving the Red Fort. Holy shit, that’s a long line. Then soon, I realized that it’s actually even longer than I first thought.

The next 6 photos shows a roughly 270 degree turn depicting the length of the line. This is the line to get through security. The line that not an hour ago, I waited in for maybe 1 minute. I dodged a HUGE bullet on this one.

1. This is roughly where the end of the line is. I couldn’t even see if it wound around even longer in a different direction.






To be continued at Delhi Day 2 Part 2.

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