And there you are... (with your good behaviour)
First I decided to collect my pocket knife. Then I put on other shoes ('teva's),
because otherwise they'll spray shit on it and ask, 'Shoe shine?' Then I thought
long about my plan: How will I arrive in the city without being overcharged
by taxi drivers and without having to pay a visit to all hotels and tourist
bureaus owned by their brothers, brothers-in-law and other relatives or relatives
of even vaguer taxi drivers?
The way to succeed was by being stubbornly self-assured. I was looking for the pre-paid
taxi stop but could not find it. Nobody knew where it was and everyone knew something better and
cheaper. So, I boasted that I had been here four times already, had an appointment at this
very taxi stop, was here on business and for a holiday, that my husband was already in
town and that nothing could be simpler than this.
Nothing I said seemed to help, but I was not going to give in! Finally an older man,
dressed in military outfit, who was probably a member of the local security service, offered
me some help and took me to the place where I wanted to be, while he kept brushing off the other
I think a small hour had passed, but I arrived on the right spot. Even though this
taxi driver also claimed not to know where the hotel was, to which I soberly replied that
it was strange how a person from Holland should know where the hotel could be found
and a person from Delhi shouldn't. After a few more efforts ('How long do you intend to stay here?',
'I'll have to see about that', 'How often have you been here?', 'Four times and I know
where I want to go to' and 'What other places do you intend to visit?', 'I don't know; no, I
do not need a tourist information office.') he gave up. And I had arrived at my hotel.
A nice middle class hotel to gradually get used to the place. Well, it was half past nine and I
had done it!!! (insert applause here...)
You never get a second chance to make a first impression
Actually, it was quite crowded in the streets. I have never ever seen so many kinds of
transport driving past, through and into each other. Crossing the street is a sport in itself.
In the beginning something can easily go wrong. When you think that the road is empty, the traffic
will come from the other side. Stupid Brits; they drive on the left! That's not convenient at a
crossing. Yes, that's right, it's quite dirty here, too. But it does not really smell of piss all
the time and there are public toilets. It's really amusing to see an Indian man in an office suit
stand in such a loo, suitcase in his right hand and in his left hand... (you know what I mean!)
You also have to explain once every 3 minutes
that you really do not need anything (not a trip, not a taxi, no handkerchiefs,
not a game of chess (who has taught these people all this???), no books, no
food, no drink, no shoes, no bedroom decoration, no [smeedijzeren] gate, etc.
etc.). It is tiring, but when you keep smiling you won't have any problems.
When you ask if there's a question mark on your head, they will know enough.
And they will all come up to you. (Isn't it strange, how people on crowded station
platforms in Rotterdam always sought ME out of all people? Then you can imagine
what it's like over here!)
On Monday I went around the whole of New Delhi; yesterday and today I mainly saw Old Delhi.
It's splendid! This is the place to be. Taking pictures is so difficult because every second
will provide you with another colourful and beautiful picture and you want to take them all.
I often forget to zoom in, but hopefully these pictures will give a good impression.
(Although I did take a few digital pictures, but I haven't had an opportunity to mail these.
Hopefully, this can be done soon.
A picture says more than a thousand words
If one of you should ever suffer from a lack of attention (even more than me, if that is possible)
then you should get a single ticket to Delhi and visit the fortress. This attracts a lot of visitors
and today even more because of me.
It is clear that I am not just a visitor from another continent, but also from another planet.
I am being stared at all the time, touched and everyone thinks everything about me is
beautiful (even my short red hair). My 'year club mascott' is being touched by everyone and
I am scared to death that I will lose it at some point. Not only children, but also
adults think it is beautiful. And the same goes for my Bugs Bunny cap. 'Nice cap,' they keep
saying. All was well, until at the end of my visit I sat down on a little wall near the fortress.
I shouldn't have done this. I think that in these ten minutes more pictures were taken of me
than in the past year. And all the time whole families, of which the little boy or the
father would ask me in their best English if they could have their pictures taken next to me.
You just don't know what's happening to you.
I am now in a little low budget hotel in the middle of the hustle and bustle.
It is very cheerful. As far as the other travellers go, I am a little disappointed. There are
lots of hippie girls and bearded geeks who are die hier hun ziel en zaligheid
lopen te verruimen, with or without the help of 'aphrodesia' which are available in all sorts,
measures and wrappings. In this street there is also 'the best sex doctor of the city', for
all your problems. So, next time I might look for a better neighbourhood.. (I'm only joking!)
Oh yes, I don't want to keep this from you (even though it is very silly): a neon advertisement
for bras. It says: 'Bras in all sizes' and underneath it says, 'A', 'B' and 'C', and these
letters burn in turns; it's not a pretty sight!]
Tomorrow I will travel by train to Jaipur, which is about 300 kilometres south
east from Delhi. I have managed to arrange a ticket all by myself! It's quite
clever when you consider that already thirty people have told me where to find
the best tourist information office in the city... I could go on for hours about
this magnificent city, but I will save you from that. As I said before, it is
a bit like Mexico City, but at the same time different again. The head has been
bitten off, it has not been as bad as I'd expected, on to the next city.