12 days in New Delhi (I may wish to get a day counter, which tells me exactly how may days I’ve been here since I seem to hate doing the math). LOL, if the stuff in brackets is longer than my text, which one should be in brackets? Yes, well that was an unexpected turn. My expectation was that I’d write a bit about how I’ve started to accept living in New Delhi, not my grammar usage!
Yeah, it takes a short while to warm up. Should we go chronological, or should I just list my achievements? Ho hum. I like the reverse order better. So lately, we’ve figured out where we’d like to live and made a successful bid for a place in Defense Colony. Verbally all’s been accepted, but the signatures are what count. Hopefully we’ll be done with that this week. We’ll start moving in during the second week in October. So dear family and friends, you may start booking our guest rooms starting Oct 15 on! I’m looking forward to having all of you over! My general blog readers (few that you are) will need to know me a bit better before you get invited to stay. That was a big achievement and I’m super glad of it.
Delhi Belly – I’ve seen the movie and this far escaped the predicament. Sarah, on the other hand hasn’t. Delhi’s got quite a few problems; water, traffic, electricity, hygiene, and population to name a few. Delhi Belly is the condition where our local bacteria seek to conquer your digestive system with their aggressive attack. Your body is at first overwhelmed and loses ground, ceding control of your bowels to the nefarious attackers. For most, your body then proceeds to rally all your resources, incapacitating you for a brief fever, and hits the bad boys back, slowly gaining control of lost ground. For the unfortunate few, failure to fight back successfully means you will end up in hospital, where you’ll get a whole lot of extraneous support from specialized doctors who’ll make your condition go away. This can be serious stuff. Good luck!
At the end of this turf war, the attackers leave behind an embassy and declare peace. So every once in a while you may get another brief upset when consular ops are carried out; nothing as bad as the first time. This far I’ve managed to avoid it. I guess the higher you rise, the harder you fall.
Hmm. I must’ve pressed an odd key combo, or something. Will Smith’s “Black Suits’ Comin’” just burst out of my speakers. Took me a few seconds to realize that it wasn’t my phone or anything else.
Achievement number 3. Finally starting to get familiar with Delhi. It’s taken a brief while, but Delhi’s quite easy to navigate. We picked up a detailed map on day 3 and it’s been a bit help. Easy to navigate does not mean that it’s fast or fun driving here. It’s bad. I’m unable to compare it with Cairo bad, but it might be. There are 2 major ring roads and major streets going north-south, but with the general road conditions, poor driving etiquette, and two, three and four wheelers all vying for road space while driving under 60 kmph and long traffic lights switching intervals, transportation can be painful. Public transport has improved significantly in the last few years with major infrastructure improvements like the Metro and flyovers on major highways. Yet, the way things are designed, there’s a traffic light at the end of every block and maybe even in the middle depending on what’s nearby. E.g. There are at least two traffic lights on Aurobindo Marg between the outer and inner ring road in addition to the ones at the ring road intersection. People seem to respect traffic lights and police do enforce this behavior with motorcycle cops chasing down the culprits and fining them heavily. My understanding is that all fines need to be settled in court. I’ve yet to experience this, so I’ll share my first experience as and when it happens.
Delhi is also a city of parks, small and large. In every South Delhi block you’ll find small grassy playgrounds where one may rest and let the children play. In addition almost every block has some larger green area where one can go jogging. Near where I’m staying, there is the large Deer Park where one can go for a walk or just enjoy the sun. Around Defense Colony, there are small parks near the market area and a couple of large playgrounds across the drain near the west gate of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (approx. 800m). And a short drive away is the famous Lodi garden.
Rickshaws (Tuk-Tuk), Metro and buses are the means of travel for those without vehicles. Buses seem to stop every kilometer, and have a set route which seems to hit all the busy streets. Avoid them if you’re in a rush. Rickshaws are fun, and risky despite the slow speeds they move at. You pay 20 Rs for the first two kilometers and an additional 5-6 Rs for every kilometer thereafter. So, you’ll have covered 6 kilometers before you shell out your first dollar. Most drivers will refuse to use the meter. However, if you negotiate before you hop aboard, they’ll respect the agreement without argument, a fact I’ve found to be refreshingly pleasant.
I’m running out of steam. And I’m trimming as I write, to keep my word count low. Practice, practice. Markets. In South Delhi, every block (or half) has it’s own market and another close by. Markets (in Delhi) are places where you’ll find restaurants, cafes, groceries, and a few shops. Some cool markets are INA market, Delhi Haat, Defense Colony Market and South Extension. INA is Delhi’s Khan Al Khalili, predominantly focused on food. Across INA market is Delhi Haat which is a less crowded version of Khan Al Khalili, catering to your need for artwork, footwear, scarves, furniture and food; a must see! South Extension features retail stores where you can get clothing and footwear among other things. Defense Colony market is primarily for going out. Some excellent restaurants are to be found here; Italian, Asian, and Indian, of course. There are a few bars as well and the usual cafes. Another cool feature here is the bakery. They sell some awesome bagels here! You’ll find yourself hitting this place often. Green Park market and Hauz Khas village are great places to hang out as well. Green Park is an average market with some good eateries and cafes along side some video stores, opticians, and other lebensmittel vendors. Hauz Khas village is the cool alternative hangout, featuring some amazing restaurants and bars. I’ve tried Himalaya, which is at the end of the main street, close to the Monument. Excellent food and service. There are a few interesting stores there as well.
I’ve been living the South Delhi life and perhaps I’m as reluctant to visit city center as the residents of South Delhi. I guess I could say I’m acclimatizing well to this place.