Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A lost afternoon in Delhi

I tried to sleep off my sickness; a plan that was partly successful. I awoke a bit less achy and a bit hungry. Moving slowly, i had breakfast at the hostel. The rooftop was crowded full of young backpackers, traveling in large groups or as couples. I did find one other solo traveler to chat with and we swapped storied over our puri, bread, and bananas.

Today there were just a couple of things i wanted to see, but mostly i was looking forward to the journey. I took the Metro south (i am seriously in love with this metro system - cheap, easy to navigate, women-only cars, and the trains come every minute, literally. Signage told me that obstructing the metro car doors can land you four years in prison, but i can see why with that marvellous efficiency.) i got off near the Lodi Gardens, which i wanted to visit, and promptly turned in the wrong direction and spent the next hour lost, wandering through some quasi-residential neighbourhood, which was quite pleasant - leafy and a bit quiet with a slightly diminished cacophony of horns. 
So i walked back to the metro station, this time turning right instead of left, and went to the lovely and leafy Lodhi gardens, which are dotted with mausoleums, ice cream vendors, and couples laying in the grass. I walked around for a while and then napped on a bench under a tree.

I then walked on a busy and uninspired road forever before stumbling upon the Lodhi Hotel, where i ducked in for a cigar and a beverage. The hotel is super fancy and i was sure i would be denied entry, but they welcomed me and set me up in a pretty courtyard with birds and statues, and i smoked a Cohiba Behike and generally chilled out.

Back on the street i walked and was trying to find Hazrat Nizam-ud-din Dargah (a shrine) I never did find it but i sure had a great time looking. I ended up in a labyrinthine marketplace, which was very clearly in the Muslim part of town. The signs had switched to Arabic, the men wore tradition Middle Eastern clothes, and the women were covered head to toe to fingertip in black (a color choice i can get behind), with not even slits for their eyes (a visual impairment i cannot). The market was great. Crowded and noisy. People selling carpets and wall hangings with passages from the Koran, halal butchers, sellers of dates and bananas. I had a great wander, but then i turned one corner and a bunch of men started shouting at me. Not angrily, but with urgency. I had stumbled into some entrance to a holy area, i think, but i couldn't discern if they wanted me to take off my shoes or leave because it was men only. Either way, i politely backed up and turned around, but before leaving i bought a toothbrush, as i had dropped mine in a pool of stagnant water next to a toilet that morning.

From there i went to Humayun's Tomb (which is not located on the lonely planet map as indicated) and visited the mid-16th C complex of tombs and gardens. It was beautiful. 


I hired a tuk tuk (haggling successfully and theatrically) to take me back to the nearest Metro station and i returned to the hostel where i napped for too long. It is now 11pm and i am sitting on a balcony drinking ginger lemon honey tea and watching the activities in the street. The air is perfect and i feel good.
Tomorrow i leave for Kathmandu.

4 comments:

Karen Robin Metrunec said...

You are one brave woman, not sure that I would do this trip as a couple, much less alone. Your post is fascinating, great detail, can almost smell the place. Hope you are feeling better soon, look forward to further posts. Enjoy the adventure! Karen

Wandering North said...

Thank you. I am having a great time. Not for a moment have i felt unsafe. More posts to come. d

Melinda said...

I am sitting on a fence wondering if your very descriptive posts make me want to travel to these places or not. I know by reading your adventures that these are not as bad of places as one hears but on the other hand, men shitting by the train tracks. Are you sure that is not what made you lose your breakfast? Haha. Glad you are having a great time.

Barry Curts said...

I too am enjoying reading of your travels. Keep them coming. CHEERS PAT