Day 1 – New Delhi

Thursday, Nov 10, 2022

When we arrived at the hotel in early hours of the morning, we tried to negotiate an early check-in but there was nothing available, so we waited in the lobby. At 5 am, a hotel employee made us cappuccinos to drink and some fruit to eat, while he was preparing the restaurant for breakfast.

The temperature outside was a comfortable 21 C ( 70 F ) so we walked to a nearby restaurant suggested by the hotel staff. The streets were well lit with little traffic with people sleeping in the shadows along the streets and several stray dogs looking for something to eat. Most of the shops and restaurants were locked up, however, the few that were open, had some people around them. When we arrived at the outdoor restaurant, the food and the locale was a little “ sketchy “, so we returned to the hotel.

Shortly after we arrived back at the hotel, its restaurant opened and we enjoyed a very good breakfast.

At 10:30 am, we received access to our rooms, so we took much needed showers and slept for several hours. At 4:30 pm we met in the lobby and went for a walk around the streets of New Delhi. The temperature had risen to 28 C ( 82 F ) but the smog kept the sun from beating down on us so it didn’t feel hot.

There is a market area next to the hotel and we walked through the outskirts where the street vendors had set up to display their wares. As is common with street markets, it was quite crowded and people continually prompted us to buy their products.

When we got through the street market to the road that circles the center of the city, we were in the shopping district. Bijaya found a jewellery shop where she successfully bartered with the owner for a necklace.

Apparently the government had made the rent in the shop district so cheap, that it helps the vendors make money in an area that would normally consume most, if not all, of their profits to pay for the rent. Unfortunately, the owners of the buildings don’t make enough to pay for their maintenance, so these ornate buildings are falling into disrepair.

We walked around the shopping area until we found a Pind Baluchi Bar & Restaurant, where we could eat some authentic northern Indian food. We ordered some Masala chicken and a chickpea dish, both of which were very spicy and very good.

After supper, we continued walking along the shopping area. Although most of the shops are traditional Indian stores, you can find many different North American franchises, such as McDonalds, KFC, Taco Bell, Starbucks, etc. Since India was under British rule during the advent of the automobile, driving is similar to that in England. The steering wheels are on the right side of the car and they drive on the left side of the road, however, they don’t adhere to lanes.

The traffic was very busy at 7 pm and even though there are cross walks, pedestrians need to be careful while crossing the streets. You continually hear the sound of horns as the cars, motorcycles and tuk-tuks* continually maneuver and jockey for positions in the street.

As we walked back to the hotel, I noticed that the areas around the shops and restaurants we had seen in the earlier in the morning, had been swept clean and they looked quite different.

Just before we got back, we bought some bottled water and I had a cappuccino at a bakery near the hotel.

We were still very tired since we had little rest for a few days, so we went to bed early. The next day would give us an opportunity to do some of our own sight-seeing before we would join the tour group on Saturday.

Note: * – Tuk-Tuks are three-wheeled vehicles, also known as auto rickshaw, baby taxi, mototaxi, pigeon, jonnybee, bajaj, chand gari, lapa, tum-tum, Keke-napep, Maruwa, 3wheel, pragya, bao-bao, easy bike, cng and tukxi.)

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