a short stay in delhi
We left Agra feeling exhausted from the sun – seriously it was so hot we spent most of our time in the pool! We boarded a train to Delhi on sitting class/fan only. I was unsure what to expect as we’d previously travelled 3rd class with AC. We piled ourselves and our enormous backpacks on board and stuffed them under the seats before more people loaded their belongings on board. The three of us were crammed onto a bench seat with a family of four seated opposite us.
The first half of the journey I kept my eyes shut but when I woke up I started chatting to nearby passengers. They seemed happy to talk to us and we met some lovely people. There is definitely more of a relaxed and friendly atmosphere in sitting class. People jammed themselves into the gangways which only made the atmosphere more fun and friendly. Lydia and I felt a sudden urge to sing so we sung our memorised Les Misérables soundtrack to the carriage who all seemed very much amused by these two English girls singing.
We stayed in Smyle Inn off the Main Bazaar for 1200 rupees a night. We had a very basic and small room up a lot of stairs. The bathroom was tiny but the shared bed was by far the comfiest we’d had. The travel man on the 2nd floor was very helpful and we managed to book our train tickets and flights for the rest of the trip.
We had the whole day to explore Delhi in the intense heat but after a while we craved air con so decided upon the cinema to see the film Finding Fanny, an English speaking movie set in Goa. The cinema was in Connaught Place and due to strict regulations we had to walk through the scanner and have our bags searched. Lydia’s disposable camera was taken along with Fran’s tampons…hmmm. Ordering drinks was a scene, it took six staff to realise we didn’t want the curry flavoured popcorn.
The film was weird. I loved the scenery and the fashion however the humour…people cheered, slapped their thighs and stood up as they were in such fits of laughter. Clearly the Indians have a different sense of humour to us. It was dark by the time we got out and the Main Bazaar had turned into Delhi’s version of the Khao San Road. Market stalls, street food and flashing lights lined the road. We spent a good time haggling over some Western branded clothing.
The next day we rode in a shabby tuktuk to visit the Red Fort in Old Delhi. Crowds of people sat outside selling water, fruit and street food. As soon as we approached they shouted for our attention to buy their items. The fort was built as the palace of Shahjahanabad, in 1648. Behind the impressive walls were palaces, halls and pavilions. We sat in the gardens for a while playing cards to escape the crowds of people staring and wanting photos. I put my hand out to one group of boys as they posed with us asking for 50 rupees. They laughed and took pictures anyway. We eyed up a family who sat down close by and when they stood to leave the young mother tried to pass her baby onto Lydia’s lap. She was not impressed.
The girls weren’t big fans of Delhi. Personally I think I need more time to get to know the place. It’s a great location to meet other travellers and use as a point to travel to other places. We woke up at 4am the next day to catch our 12 hour bus to Dharamsala and begin our exciting trek…