D is for Delhi
Thursday 5th August 2016, 9:50pm
D is for Delhi. Dazzling sights, dusty roads and dangerous driving!
"I've been driving for 28 years," Raj tells us. "And I've never seen an accident here. Everyone is an expert!"
This seems doubtful in our opinion, as we'd seen four accidents already, including one man completely knocked off his bike and we'd only been with him a few hours. However, auto rickshaw is definitely the way to travel around Delhi, which we figured out quite quickly after realising it's impossible to cross any road on foot.
Delhi is not for the faint-hearted, and our first evening here made us think that perhaps we'd made a huge mistake in making this our first honeymoon destination. A short walk out of our hotel and we were harangued by several silver tongued ‘tourist guides', all who told us not to trust the one before. With Rene's long hair, my bare knees and our ghost-like skin, we stuck out like a sore thumb in this very un-touristy area, attracting a lot of unwanted attention.
After a quick bite in an empty restaurant, where we were served a large thali meal, it was back to the hotel to figure out a plan that would help us survive the next 24 hours.
Things are always better in the cold light of day and by good fortune, we found a lovely rickshaw driver, Raj, who offered to escort us around the city all day for a very decent price. We visited several beautiful temples, India Gate and Ghandi's memorial gardens, which offered welcomed tranquility from the madness of the busy highways. We realised that Delhi is in fact not the living nightmare we first thought, but instead a very diverse, interesting and exciting city. All you need is a bit of confidence, a reliable rickshaw driver and a bottle of factor 50 sun cream.
There are huge contrasts here - the poverty on the streets against the grandeur of temples, and the serene and lavish streets of New Delhi, with its shopping malls and housing complexes compared with the franticness of Old Delhi's markets and rundown freeways.
All in all, an amazing place to visit for a bold and unique experience, but two days is enough for us.
Best moment: Watching a water and light show at Akshardhan temple as the sun set.
Low point: A few hours after stepping off the plane, we thought we might not survive the next 48.
Tomorrow: Onwards to Agra to see the Taj Mahal.