05.11.2009 - 05.11.2009 31 °C
Waiting for another train, this time in Haridwar. Train was actually delayed by an hour or so but were again entertained by the prime people watching. Still couldn’t get over the number of locals running across the actual train tracks to get to their train on the other platform. There seemed to be piles of human shit on the line too euggghhh. We were sitting ducks for the beggers at the train station. It was still a problem for me to not get upset by some of the sights, but of course it is not a good idea to give to beggers as you would get bombarded and pestered. I saw this happen to others, really not a good idea. Cripples, amputees, blind, cleft lip, polio, child glue sniffers, the list goes on and was just heartbreaking. The child beggers were the worse ones. On a number of occasions, I would be walking along the street and feel a small hand tug on my arm, a couple of times attempt to go into my pocket too! Ignore, walk on, holding your bag tight, don’t even look at them, that’s how I decided to deal with it.
Clocked up another 7 hours on the train journey to Delhi but managed to sleep most of the way. Really didn't feel like going back there, not having the best impressions of the city from the two previous visits. Full day in Delhi to explore before getting the flight back to London in the middle of the night. Rob wanted to go round the red fort but I was ‘forted out’. I had heard enough stories about kings and their thousands of lovers for one trip and all the forts were starting to look the same. We persuaded him to join us at the Ghandi museum instead. The museum was very thoughfully put together, the centrepiece being peaceful gardens containing a shrine marking the spot where Ghandi was assasinated. Inside the main building the walls are covered in Ghandi quotes and photographs. ‘My life is my message.’ His life made a lot of sense. Very inspiring to think of what he achieved, what he revolutionised, by intelligant non violent peaceful protests. He gained respect and following of millions of Indian people by sticking by his beliefs and self sacrifice.
‘An eye for an eye makes the world go blind’
‘Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony’
‘It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver’
‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow, Learn as if you were to live forever’
‘To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest’
(sorry guys, think this stuff kinda appealed to my mid life crisis hehe!)
Time for some shopping…… Went firstly to the posh Khan market, where we found a cute little rooftop café bar for some chill time, very different side of Delhi here. We did find a music shop and bought some Bhangra (from under the desk put straight into a brown paper bag oooooo!) but chickened out of singing the dodgy sexy lyric song to the salesman. Then to the very different, much busier, and touristy Connaught Place to browse some shops. Got bored quite quickly, none of us were shoppers, and were getting annoyed by all the scammers. Guys in smart suits would try and befriend us, follow us up the street then insist that we should go a particular way towards some market or other. Just ignored. We also witnessed the ‘shit on shoe’ scam. Decided to chill out in Central Park. This place was very strange. Firstly, we were searched on the way in and had to go through a metal detector. They told us no photos were allowed, then we were thrown out for eating in the park! What were we actually allowed to do in this park???? Tuktuk ride through the smog, could really feel the fumes filling my lungs. I work with lung disease and did wonder, if they managed to improve life expectancy in India (around late 50s currently) by improving hygiene and reducing disease, there might well be an emerging market there for respiratory disease! Back to India Gate park briefly to catch the sunset there, then just time to pack, have a cold shower with brown water, blow up the TV in hotel room, have a final very hot curry followed by brown sticky balls and off to ze airport headed for Blighty…..