Apr 19 2009

From Calm Alwar To Crazy Delhi

Today we left Alwar and headed by train to Delhi.

This time we travelled in two-tier air con class, which was a cross between the two other classes we'd tried so far. I'd be happy to use this for an overnight trip, as opposed to three tier AC (3AC) but I think I'd go 3AC for day trips in the future.

The train was an hour late, which was expected at Alwar as it's already done 1000km before it reaches there. So all in all, over four trains, only one was late and only by an hour. Not bad.

Arrival at (Old) Delhi station was surprising as it's Sunday today, a day of rest for most Indians, yet the station was rammed and I literally had to barge my way throw the passengers to get anywhere. It's not something I like doing but once I got in the swing of it I turned out to be rather good at it. Things I never knew.

Out of the station and we're accosted by 4 autorickshaw owners - why didn't I notice the pre-paid autorickshaw counter?. I guess a local could get the fare for Rs50 or maybe Rs100 but I've already decided that I just want to get to my hotel so I'll settle for Rs200 - they're hardly rich those rickshaw drivers so I don't mind over paying a little. He starts off a Rs350 (only a fiver) and I utter the phrase "do I look like I've just arrived in India". The dust and dirt on my three-quarter-lengths tells him I've been here a while and he drops the price to Rs300. "You are just joking right?". Rs250. I pick up the cases already loaded into the van and leave. "One last chance" I say adn he drops to Rs200. That'll do, I know I've been fleeced, but I just don't care, get me out of here.

We arrive at the oasis that is the Ginger Hotel, a no thrills hotel where rooms cost Rs1000 per night. It's so clean, laminate floors and marble everywhere, LCD TVs and air-con. The kids check out Star Movies and the settle down to watch their first film of the trip - Runaway Bride. Dad buys a 24hr internet access card (Rs338) and starts blogging.

Tonight we're hopefully going to find Karim's restaurant, an institution in Delhi service great shami/sheesh kebabs and the like. But it's apparently a nightmare to find in the old heavily populated streets of Old Delhi. Let's hope we don't see a McDonalds on the way and bottle it.

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