AN AFTERNOON IN OLD DELHI
We started our last post by saying London was nuts. But if London is nuts, what the hell do you call Delhi? This place is frikken insane. Everything here seems to be a hustle, from doing business, to getting from A to B, to buying a Coke, to just plain surviving. We’ve only been here for 4 days, but already we’re realising that this city plays by a completely different set of rules.
We’re staying at a very nice, very clean hotel called Bloomrooms. It’s probably also the most un-Indian hotel in Delhi – our room looks like something out of an Ikea catalogue. But that was always the plan: check into the most western hotel possible on our budget, and ease into Delhi little by little each day. The problem is, once you step out of the hotel, there’s no ‘easing’ into this city. It hits you like a freight train!
Fortunately, on only our second day here, we got a lucky break. Over the last few months, I’ve been liaising with an American fishing guide living in India who’s going to be showing us around the streams and rivers of Uttarakhand pretty soon. By sheer coincidence, he and his girlfriend were in Delhi for a couple days at just the same time as us. We met Aaron and Maura at a great little backstreet restaurant in the old town, which we would never ever have found otherwise. Over a delicious lunch, they gave us a whole bunch of useful tips and advice, pointed out some things to see and do, and the places to avoid. They also put us in touch with a really cool rickshaw driver called Akbar.
After lunch, we met up with Akbar, who proceeded to show us around his hood – the spice markets, backstreets, bazaars, and ancient forts and temples of Old Delhi. The old town is really hard to describe. How that many people can manage to go about their daily business in such close proximity to one another is truly a mystery to us. But, somehow, they make a plan. There has to be some kind of system underpinning all the chaos. But you clearly need more than an afternoon to work out what that system is.
If you’re ever in Delhi, give Akbar a call (+91 989 146 2125). He’ll take you on an adventure you won’t soon forget.