Posted by: roamingolivia | August 30, 2010

India: the beginning

I can’t promise anything in terms of frequency of posting right now because I am traveling and then en route to Italy again this week, but anyway I thought I’d get going with this post about India.

On our first day, we were really lazy, but we did manage to eventually wander around, mostly to forrage for coffee and to see about booking some tickets out of Delhi, since our Kashmir/Ladakh holiday was out of the question by this point (rioting and flooding). So we headed over to Conaught Place, which more or less looks like a war zone right now. Delhi is hosting the Commonwealth Games in October, and like most countries, is using that for a major re-vamp of its infrastructure. It is, um, kind of delayed (the website wasn’t even working today) – some of the stadiums aren’t ready, they’ve cut down on how many Underground lines will be open, etc., but the Government still claims it will be better than the Beijing Olympics.

Anyway, because of that, Conaught Place looks like a war zone. It is, effectively, a circular shopping district in the centre of Delhi, with three ring roads and now, because of the Games, a massive moat. There are wires and construction paraphenalia poking out of all the buildings, and piles of rocks and concrete etc. But the best example of how this is going to go down is when you see an unused cement mixer, and then you see lots of working men with little piles of concrete, mixing the water into them and stirring with sticks.

We braved this area to go to the travel agency (there are about 34989 around Conaught Place), or actually we started out using Conaught Place as a midway point to the train station, where we were going to buy the tickets outself, and then we ended up in a travel agency because we met a friendly sports journalist and he recommended it. This place was a little dodgy, and claustrophobic:

We had to come back several times and there were a lot of delays and promises things would be ready and offers for other services (including camel rides) that we didn’t really want, but we eventually got our tickets to Shimla, which will be featured in my next post, on some future day, to be determined by my schedule and access to internet.

Anyway, otherwise, in Delhi we spent some time in traffic…

spent some time wandering around at India Gate …

(do not post biles on the fence!)

… spent some time talking to David’s friends he met in Sri Lanka – discussing South Asian politics and development and all other manner of interesting topics, once at this beautiful fancy hotel and another time over tasty Indian food…

And we wandered some more. Then we went to Shimla, but that day was a bit rough because I was quite ill, and I don’t remember very much of the four-hour air-conditioned train ride, the station where we changed trains,

or the five-hour not-air-conditioned ride that gradually got cooler as we got into the hills:

(that is not a great picture of the dad, but the kid was really cute and they were a nice, friendly couple)

Next: Shimla, which may be put into two days because I have a lot of pictures and we spent several days there…



  1. […] because we were supposed to go to Kashmir and there were riots and flooding, but then we went to Delhi and Shimla or Simla (where a monkey ate my notebook) and then to Rajasthan (Jodhpur and […]

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