Delhi 1

Tuesday May 7th c.5.30pm
Hotel Natraj

From the airport to this hotel, jetlag slept off, and a short venture into the street.

I’m now showered, naked on the bed and still feeling over-dressed.
I had forgotten such heat. Everything dries ultra-fast.
Such thirst, could be I over-walked.
I must learn to relax, but there is so much going. .
A hotel room, however pricey, is a safe bolthole.

And I watch as a gaudy, brass band leads a wedding party parade down below.

May 8th 9pm
Hotel Sanpa Rs.30/- (Rs100/- less than above)

It seems hotter here but the savings over the next few days will pay for photochromatic prescription glasses, something like a third of London prices, free market forces and all.

Delhi is exhilarating. So many points of contact; one has to be constantly alert because a hustle can catch you at anytime. In Connaught Place I had my feet massaged, but resisted the ear dewaxing. Was Rs18/- too much for the repairs to my sandals?

I must ditch something as I’m carrying much too much. Humping my gear around is going to give me a coronary. Perhaps I can swap my trainers for another pair of sandals.

Many super drinks: fruit juice, especially mango, lassi, iced tea, sugar cane ‘juice’, and gallons of water. No sign of Delhi belly yet, but I need to eat more. I’ve yet to try street food, having only sit down meals in vegetarian restaurants – but eggs are meat.

Thursday 9th 12.30pm
My new Dunlop trainers have been exchanged for a pair of leather sandals. Financially a loss, but in terms of the weight I’m toting, I’m much better off.

If I ever make a trip like this again, I’ll travel very light. I don’t really need my Sony Walkman and tapes, although having just gone through a period of depression, really loneliness, perhaps I do.

I will dispose of my heavy corduroy trousers soon – perhaps give them away – and my walking boots won’t last the whole year. So the next hurdle is a pair of light trousers: first buy the cloth, then find a tailor.

French perfume (which I bought in the Heathrow duty free) is not a luxury here because Indian fragrances are so cheap. However, I may be able to exchange it for a few hotel nights, and save more weight.

I’ve been offered Rs350/- for my watch, actual cost Rs260/-. Whisky is also sought after – 100% profit?

Listening to Jan Garbarek’s Paths & Prints.

Just received a phone call from Achana, M’s friend. Great excitement from the hotel staff as they thought it was a call from London; this induced a moment of panic! Judging from the difficulty, it could have been from there rather than south Delhi! Anyway, I’ll be going there for a meal tomorrow evening.

Gradually, I’m coming to terms with India, and vice versa a little. Trousers are being made: Rs25/- for the cloth and Rs15/- for the tailor. I hope they fit. Also I hope they’ll be ready for tomorrow evening so I can look ‘respectable’.

I have yet to purchase other than drinks from street vendors. It seems important to pay the same as other customers, albeit with the occasional rupee extra for ‘honour’. Bidis for 1 rupee, mangos for 8-12. These seem to be fairly set prices, although they’re not displayed . So until I master some basic Hindi, it’s survival by wits.

Still, the show must go on.


About Jakartass

A Brit Abroad
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