Day 036 – Incred!ble Ind!a
2008/10/09 § Leave a comment
Wow! Incred!ble India! For sure!
Today I tried to sort our some tickets for my escape from New Delhi. On my quest I was not actually bugged by people as much as I expected. Not at all! And what additionally amazed me was that Rickshaw drivers and shopkeepers only mildly overpriced as compared to South East Asia. But maybe I was just lucky on my first day. Or the fierceness of my facial expression has scared them off from too bold experiments with my patience. 😉
Some guy lured me into a travel agency to over me some kind of packet deal for two weeks of traveling. They were not too bad, not even too pushy. At the same time I was very skeptical of course. And I also said that to the guy. He thought I was confused. And he was right, though he was wrong about the reason. I was not sure how to go about my trip (in contrast he thought I was confused by India, but as mentioned my confusion was rather limited due to the positive surprise).
It does indeed seem to be much harder to get around than it looks like from afar. In fact many trains must be booked well in advance and the connections are not as fast as one would wish for. Distance are, on the other hand, rather large. Trains are still faster than buses, but from what I hear both are far from comfortable in most cases. We will see about that, but I do indeed think of more bus trips with horror. I feel I had my share in SEA for a while. But then again, planes are just too pricey for me. Tough luck of a backpacker I guess. However, trains are booked now and on Sunday the adventure starts.
Despite what I said positively about India above, make no mistake: it is horrendous! The dirt in the streets is beyond description. The smells of feces and urine at some street corners mix unpleasantly with the essentially yummy looking treats of the Indian cuisine which are prepared in street-kitchen or sold from mobile stalls. As smelly rickshaw drivers push by some miserably diseased looking and malnourished old man/women/little child looks at you and begs for money. While you try not to stumble over some guy lying on the sidewalk (not sure if he sleeps in the 36 degrees hot and dusty Delhi weather or if he has begun decomposing already) someone wants to “practice his English” with you and needs to know where you are from, friend.
Mysteriously people point you into directions without ever having inquired where you actually want to go. But that does not matter anyhow, since they already know where they want you to go. While you try to evade them a truck almost runs you over since you had to take the street for walking and wildly honks the horn. That you almost would have ignored owing to the fact that absolutely each and every participant of the traffic in possession of a horn, a bell or anything that allows for making noise does so constantly without interruption- or so it sounds. Besides, the sidewalk is reserved for work shops fixing rickshaws, preparing food, sleeping, parking bikes, cows who “graze” in a pile of trash bags and beggars. All this is happening while you try to absorb the strangeness surrounding you, like dresses women wear, the way things are decorated or the funny lines cars and buses have
written on them (on some buses that look as if they were the automotive equivalent of an undead who just crawled out of his grave it says “propelled by clean energy”, all along while they blow a life-taking exhaust into your lungs).
Yet, I thought it would be worse. But hey, it is the worst place I have ever been to! Naturally in many ways already after merely a day one of the most interesting too… However, just wait and see, I already overheard some guys´ conversation in the tourist info this morning, discussing how Agra was worse than Delhi. Congrats! That is where I am heading next… 🙂