"horn-please--no left turn free (weird signage!)" New Delhi by iris2002

New Delhi Travel Guide: 1,167 reviews and 2,600 photos

Delhi - a city in constant motion

Notes from India

Delhi – 5th June – 48 degrees CELSIUS yes... a heat-wave even for the Indians ...

Landed with no delay in Delhi after a blissful 8 hour nap with Virgin Atlantic – who by the way should SERIOUSLY reconsider their legroom …!!!!!!!!!!
At Indira Ghandi airport – the dust was a mile high… The international airport staff was so friendly, I almost had the reverse of a culture shock as I had prepared myself for being hassled, but it was not so.

Weird too – it was my first time in Asia – I felt like I had been here before. I didn’t mind the manic traffic (NOT for the fainthearted) coped really well with the heat 48 degrees CELSIUS, which is dry, rather dusty and makes your eyeballs sizzle if you sit in an auto-rickshaw and forget your sunglasses (be warned!) …
I sat chilled out in the back of a pre-paid taxi (you can get a ticket for a prepaid taxi outside the airports arrival hall from the Transport police) I paid 265 rupees, whilst the guys before me were charged almost double…

I think my smile and 'Namaskar' (polite form of Namaste) did the trick. I wasn’t scared coming touch close to rickshaws, mopeds, even the odd cow and rabid dog, trucks, buses etc … All making music together in a cacophony of honking horns, shouting and maneuvering with exquisite precision alongside each other. I did not see a single accident – which really surprised me.

The hotel too was rather nice – big room tiled and no window but with super aircon in form of a wind turbine stuck to the ceiling.... that thing would have powered Greenwhich alone........... oh and a rather clean and nice toilet and shower – glass stained entrance doors that gave way to a side lane that could have been out of the movie Gandhi… such contrast and such life… I loved it! 700 rupees per night, WHO is complaining about a few cockroaches for that price.

*********** the first 48 hours**********

Day 2 started rather promising but turned into a real nightmare .... I blame it on the heat ... it was my fault...... due to me drawing a COMPLETE blank on my credit card pin codes – I think the heat had fried all my cerebral neurons containing any numbers ... and the amnesia was lasting… so I was in Delhi with 800 rupees in my pocket (approx. 7£) and no idea what to do next… PANICCCCCCCCCC !!!!!!!!

Sooooooooooo I panicked a bit first, then went to the police station to ask if I could make a call to the Austrian embassy – took a short auto-rickshaw ride to the Embassy where I was welcomed like a lost child --- I was fed (Pizza – THANKS to Benjamin) and was re-hydrated ... could make all necessary calls to London to see what I had as an alternative… it all worked out in the end ... but meant I missed my flight to Nepal so stayed a day longer in Delhi than planned.

Also made some great new friends (Biz, you ARE mentioned here haha) as I had contacted someone on a forum who lived out here for 3 years. Simon runs his own business and he was my mentor in regards to introducing me to India’s social life… his friend Biz took over to hang out with me at some lovely cosmopolitian spots and talk about God the world and ... INDIA ...........… met all of his friends, a lovely lovely bunch of people with bright white sparkly teeth (envy!!) ... and we spent 2 nights drinking and eating at some really fab places (all soon to be seen on the Tips page). One of the highlights was with Simons friend whom I had many spiritual conversations with over some Mohitos and Diet Pepsi… whilst eating the spiciest food I ever tasted – (tears were falling yes but yummi and I think I killed every bacteria in sight) - so no Delhi Belly here, no sir :)

I stuck to some simple rools:

1) No water that isn’t from a sealed bottle
2) NO ice cubes or ice cream
3) Only deep fried or well cooked food
4) Using my herbal tincture against parasites (clove & wormwood) in some of my water
THIS I think really helped the transition
5) Not eating any fruit you can’t peel…
6) If you come across a group of large baboons, do NOT try to feed them
7) If you come across a group of stuck up immigration officers, DO shout at them and stand your ground
8) In case you get lost, go and buy a map, do NOT ask for directions, you end up in Jaipur if you aren't careful or in someone's friends hotel lobby

Mind I did try some lovely dishes – but you need to watch the food stalls on the roads….

I really got into the haggling over prices for taxis – and stuff…. And even managed to be ‘traffic stopping’ like a true Indian… and if you ever attempted to cross a street in Delhi, well then you know what I mean.

So my first 48 hours were a real adventure already – browsing markets around Connaught Circle (an underground market much like Covent Garden just with lots of Bollywood music blearing at you) – auto-rickshaws are my favorites means of transport, as you really get a feeling for the people and culture – and let’s face it , it’s a thrill ride 

It's a men's world .............

**********************************************
THE FIRST NIGHT
There was not much option to sleep, as the hotel staff decided to bring over the whole family which ran, sat, squatted in the corridors discussing loudly, kids playing at 3am!!! Banging doors --- all that echoing off the tiled high hallways… I didn’t get a wink of sleep but still didn’t feel jetlag the next day and had a lovely breakfast of chai and 2 of my Frusli bars. At 5am I gave up trying to nap and stepped out into an already sweltering morning. Was happy though as this weather would kill any mosquito in sight, so didn’t take any malaria tablets – not really advised anyway in Delhi at this time of year – it’s very rare to catch it… but Denghi-fever, that’s another story – met 2 people in 1 day who caught it in the first week – but got over it quickly. Hospitals are plentiful here and the doctors and standard of medicine I was told is really good.

I creamed myself (or let's say 'embalmed' rather) from top to toe with 60+ sunblock, but still got a tan, just nicely, not burnt to a crisp ... and added a bit of Eucalyptus oil for cooling comfort... ehy ...nothing wrong to smell like a Koala bear, maybe that's why they all thought I was Australian and not Austrian!

The only thing that got me was, that my nose was really bunged up from all the grit and dust and my eyes were gritty too. Was glad to have my sunglasses and sun-hat, as the slight constant wind does really get the sand and dirt everywhere - and I mean EVERYWHERE (ahem!)!!!

Tomorrow – off to Katmandu… by plane as there was a rather unnerving demonstration along the border and shooting ... also in Katmandu … but I am still looking forward flying to Nepal and seeing the Himalayas up close.

PS: I did get the nicest Taxi driver to the airport – Mr. Singh, he also spoke fluent German and if anyone goes to Delhi, let me know and I pass on his number – he is just a sweetheart!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:hmmm.... that I coped with 48 degrees heat and had no Delhi Belly
  • Cons:chaos pure, not for the faint hearted!!!
  • In a nutshell:Delhi is worth a visit, though not during the season I decided to travel
  • Last visit to New Delhi: Jun 2007
  • Intro Updated Apr 6, 2013
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Reviews (10)

Comments (12)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Apr 5, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    I enjoyed reading your vivid narrative about your first days in Delhi.

    • iris2002's Profile Photo
      Apr 6, 2013 at 2:52 AM

      Thank you for the kind comment Nemorino - it was a very 'vivid' experience - in a good way and I just love India ... Namaste :D

  • BillNJ's Profile Photo
    Dec 16, 2009 at 6:31 PM

    Great tips, photos, and commentary about your visit to New Delhi. I especially like your joke about the stupid tourist tattoo on your forehead (haha).

    • iris2002's Profile Photo
      Apr 6, 2013 at 2:53 AM

      Thanks Bill - the 'tattoo' has since been changed into 'Streetsmart-Guru' HAHA :D

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2008 at 7:12 AM

    Can't believe I missed this excellent page up to now. Very practical info combined with a great sense of how it really feels to be in Delhi - I got hot just reading it ;)

  • 850prc's Profile Photo
    Dec 31, 2007 at 9:52 AM

    A rickshaw ride from the airport would definitely be dodgy, Iris. Great idea about crayons and stuff for kids.

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Nov 17, 2007 at 1:10 PM

    Ive absolutely enjoyed reading your homepage and experiences - so well written i was there with you!....will have to go there myself sometime...!

    • iris2002's Profile Photo
      Apr 6, 2013 at 2:53 AM

      Than you so much for your kind comment ... I could write books about my trips, and might do so some day lol :) and YOU GOT to see India !!!! Namaste Angie xx

  • cbeaujean's Profile Photo
    Oct 9, 2007 at 5:10 AM

    useful info,personal tips...soon on your steps!

  • diageva's Profile Photo
    Jul 7, 2007 at 4:05 AM

    Nice story.... :))))

  • Kaspian's Profile Photo
    Jun 29, 2007 at 8:15 AM

    Fantastic write-up! What a crazy great adventure. Too bad about forgetting your PIN number. I think that's happened to me before, but I generally write them down somewhere bizarre--sometimes the keypad order is different and it throws me off! XO, E.

  • grets's Profile Photo
    Jun 28, 2007 at 11:12 AM

    Can't wait to hear more :-)

  • safindia's Profile Photo
    Jun 27, 2007 at 4:36 AM

    Thanks iris that you liked something good in my country. i had been to Uk and found it great country. Well, thanks again and keep going. you can contact me if you wish any kind of help. Saf

iris2002

“Barefoot, outside my comfort zone ... that's when the adventure really starts!”

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