Favorite thing: This is a photo I snap from a McDonald's restaurant in New Delhi. Me and Andy (brother in law cum travelling partner) on the way back from Red Fort seeking a place to evade the crazy 41 Celsius hot temperature found this restaurant more than comfortable to relax and to reduce the heat. While we eating, we saw a New Delhian young girl topless strolling outside the McDonald's windows. Her eyes keep looking at peoples inside and she goes around begging for money around the doorway which has a security guard standing firmly. I saw some customers went talking to her but I don't know what they want to do to her. I walked up front to snap some photos of her and I saw a beautiful face so innocently looking at peoples. OH NO! I told myself. I walk back to my seat and I asked Andy some questions. " Hey, do you think this little girl can live safely without being continuously rape by those men out there after she had grown up? "
Favorite thing: I like the hotel (guesthouse) in Main Bazaar of Paharganj. In the month of May, the temperature goes up to 41 Celsius, without A/C is nearly impossible for many tourists. I wanted to try the heat but Andy insist to take the air-con room which cost us 760 rupees with bathroom attached and TV. Looking out from our room is this photo where we saw many peoples sleeping on the rooftop in the early morning. They also bath and wash clothes there. This is Main Bazaar of Paharganj and this hotel is built in within these constructions but surprisingly comfortable when we enter to see a different world with clean stairs, floors, rooms and bathrooms.
Favorite thing: What I saw in Paharganj area is shown in this photo. This area is for you to see 10 billions of Indian peoples with their rickshaw, trishaw, tuk-tuk, cows, animals, bike, car, trucks, etc. The way of driving in New Delhi is to make sure one of your hand standby anytime to honk while the other hand steer, in full speed. In the condition such as this photo, they still honk endlessly and they squeeze almost zig zag in between pedestrians no matter humans or animals. Cows can do anything they like on street, they are happy for sure. Tourists are happy as well to cram into every alleys and shops. I don't care, I just snap as many photos as possible.
Favorite thing: I saw many peoples all ages sleeping peacefully on streets of New Delhi in daytime also at nighttime. At daytime, they sleep alone but bunch at night. Women with kids together were sleeping on street to beg for money, especially targeting foreign tourists. I saw so many homeless peoples at night when our bus was about to depart to Amritsar where they had to look for a vacant place in the middle of highway each by each. I also saw them under the flyover, back street, garden and etc. The most eye opening was those who slept directly beside the road. They actually sleep on the road where those wheels of vehicles rolling pass their body just a tight distance away with dust, smoke and noises coming from honks and engines.
Favorite thing: The restaurant we had our lunch has some waiters never stop looking at 2 of us, probably rare to serve foreign tourists. To let them know we are happy with the foods they served, Andy smiles to them and show them a common Universal gesture with a thumb high up representing good. Who knows that two waiters went out to the street for a while and I heard them talking to each other in Hindi language. Minutes later, one of them came to us together with 2 bottles of Coca-cola look-alike soft drinks. He opens both the bottle caps in front of us and then walks away. Me and Andy staring at each other in confused. We thought they usually serve customers this way with free drinks after meals but later I look closely at the logo of the bottle, Thumbs Up.
Favorite thing: The size of shops and restaurants here are so small for 6 tables or less. The one in this photo is a restaurant for sure, that's why I walk in to have my lunch. The reason I pick this one was because it has big menu with obvious price list on the wall. I sit down in a very compact environment full of aging paints and messy looking ceiling. My lunch is served in a big stainless steel plate with 5 compartments full of non-meat foods. The name of this meal is Thali, it cost 35 rupees each, very tasty. They wash plates on the floor beside the drain and if they wipe, they wipe with a piece of multi-purpose cloth for table, sweat, body, etc.
Favorite thing: I am just another backpacker in the street of Main Bazaar Paharganj that day when I saw this guy showing off his skills to tourists. This is a very narrow back street but full of activities such as this one and many others. So many restaurants to choose and so many peoples to look at, even just a drain attracts me so much. My digital camera just couldn't stop snapping and then I saw this man looking at my camera over and over to wait for a shot and I move my hand towards him for this very special one. He wants me to send him the photo, I said okay and pull out a paper with pen for him to write his address but he keep shaking his head. Later he found a guy on street to help him writing the address for me.
Favorite thing: For a single day runout in Delhi start with Lotus temple early in the morning, which is near Nehru Place, then visit Connaught Place for shopping there you would also find Pallika Bazar which is an underground bazar and has lots of deals if you know how to bargain. Head for Hauz Khas Village for an old fort setting sort of park and market for paintings and ethnic artwork, or if you like hustle bustle head for Jama Maszid, for a contemporary downside look. Delhi has extreme temperatures, summers hit around 40-45 C in June-August and later in winter 8-3 C in Dec-Feb, so plan your days accordingly.
Visit New Delhi on summer >> sometimes can not be bearable. The temperature up to 35 degrees Celcius! But finding something green will be cool. For lungs, views and feeling. Thanks to the capital of India which 'serving' me with greenery garden to minimize dusty roads :)
Fondest memory: The garden around India Gate on Sunday. Nice to be there!
Humayun's tomb complex. One of Mughal building which showing so many great architecture style from the past. From decorative panel on facade, the minarets, jaali [as ventilation >> fine trellis], pishtaq [arch within a frame] 'till the dome, a complete half-sphere.
Fondest memory: The old buildings from Mughal Emperors which still stand still nowadays. For fine example: Humayun's Tomb.
I have despaired of finding well produced and useful websites that offer travel information on India. Over the years I have developed an intense dislike for websites put up by backpacking know-it-alls who think they are oh-so-superior to other "tourists" and yet offer the most patronising, denigrating, and inaccurate travelogues about India. Generalising about the country to make sense of it is fine, however, these "gems" should not be offered up as the definitive account of the "real" India.
Anyway, these two websites though, developed in India by Indian media companies are fairly interesting and accurate accounts of travelling in India, albeit from an insider's perspective. I don't know how useful they would be to a non-Indian, but they are worth a try.
Fondest memory: Now here's the exception to the rule. There is one website that I liked immensely, that was put up by folks who seemed to be backpacking their way through the country. It is written with a certain sense of empathy that I admire and I think their accounts are all tinged by genuine love of the place.
Do take time to visit
(as of Jan. 23, 2004)
Jagdish Kumar Dawar Forex
10,000 Yen = Rs 4,200
Address : Main Bazar, Pahar Ganj, New Delhi
Don't forget to ask for a receipt! You can always ask for a good rate! You can make it higher>>>believe me!!!
(last date took the service - Jan. 23, 2004)
Star Cyber Cafe Internet Browsing
Rs 10/30 minutes
Address : 5136 Main Bazar, Pahar Ganj
New Delhi near Imperial Cinema
Phone # 23586810/23586816
ISD calls - Rs 7/min. for USA, Europe, Australia, Singapore, Canada
24 hours open
Fondest memory: Henna tattoos (mehendis) are very popular. It' s very easy to get one from one of the many artists on the streets. Just be careful until it dries off or you may ruin it. The best way to remove the "clay" is with lemon, so that the design stays on your skin longer ;-)
My favourite thing was everything. I just loved the place. Old Delhi for it's bustle and fervour and New Delhi for it's spaciousness.
Above all I met some really great people there and will visit again when time permits
Fondest memory: That indefinable India smell. Spices, heat, sweat, sewers, I can't define it but if you have been you will remember it!