Delhi is an extremely busy and crowded city. The streets are filthy and populated by many homeless and desperate people. large groups of people sleep under bridges, in doorways and anywhere else they can find shelter. Some were even strewn out on busy side walks causing pedestrians to step over and navigate around them. Literally the second I stepped out of my hotel I was instantly set upon by beggars and traders after my money. It’s a very complicated place and I soon found that it was very hard to trust anyone. Almost every interaction on the streets was a prefix to a scam or a sale. I was constantly asked where I was going and if I needed any help. This at first seemed like a helpful gesture but it was never free advice or in most cases even accurate. I soon became very fed up of being misled and began to simply ignore those who badgered me for attention. It felt a little rude doing this but it was the only way they would leave me alone. The slightest acknowledgement of their presence, even if it’s just to be polite and say “no thanks I don’t want my shoes shined I’m wearing sandals” they become more persistent. It’s best to pretend you don’t see them or understand what they are saying, this way they can’t communicate with you and move onto the next target.
The high amount of pollution from traffic and fog creates a dark blanket of smog that blocks out the sun making much of Delhi quite gloomy, cold and rainy. For the first time in India I had to wear jeans and a long sleeved top. The atmosphere is a lot different here than in the tropical state of Kerala where I had just flown from.
The Red Fort is one of the most popular attractions in Delhi, in fact in India. It is a very impressive monument and a testament to the Mughal empire. before entering the complex there is a security check to go through; x-ray machines for bags and metal detector doorways. I walked through and set off the alarms but the guard didn’t so much as look over the newspaper he was reading to investigate. So, I picked up my bag of guns from the x-ray machine and carried on my merry way. It amazes me that they have all this security and technology in high risk places, but it’s just for show.
New Delhi, is like a whole different city to old Delhi. The buildings are clean and modern, There are wide open spaces with well maintained parks full of flowers and large grassy areas. The roads are smooth and barely used. This is where most of the colonial government buildings are located. Locals and homeless people don’t live in this area and as such it is kept clean and presentable. There are a few monuments here to visit such as the India gate but there isn’t really any of the colour and vibrance of the Indian culture.