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We came back 4047 days ago.

Our last access to this website was 4 years 2 weeks ago.

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First walk

2006-12-12
Mustering all of our courage, we walked through the door of the hostel…

After seeing what we saw during our arrival, we were a little skeptical about going out for exploring the surroundings of the hostel. It is situated in Paharganj, backpackers’ quarter, considered of ill-repute by some Indians, according to Lonely Planet.

The main street (on which we came) is called “Main Bazaar” and is packed with little shops, restaurants and cheap hostels. The road is quite narrow and you constantly have to look behind you in order not to get run over by a rickshaw. Fortunately, the drivers honk and scream in order to warn us.

Excerpt from Lonely Planet guide – North India (2005) (French edition):
Delhi rewards those who know how to ignore the less attractive aspects of the city, especially the omnipresent scalpers.

Indeed, we barely got out, that a guy came to us wanting to show us his shop. Actually, once in the “shop” (who looked more like a dungeon at the end of a maze of alleys and stairs), the guy tried at all costs to sell us weed. After managing to get rid of him for a while, we continued our walk and finally got out of “Main Bazaar”. Phew!

We get in front of the New Delhi train station. Noise, pollution that makes it hard for us to breathe or to see the blue sky, and all sorts of smells, not necessarily pleasant, can be felt around the bustling avenues. You don’t always find sidewalks, but when you do come across one, it’s full of anything you can think of: piles of garbage, makeshift houses, a guy who is washing his clothes, people asleep, others who are “going to the toilet” in front of everybody…

After a few minutes of “tranquility”, a guy comes to Hugues telling him that he had a nice goatee, then obviously :) and unfortunately he stops. He asks where we were going and absolutely wants for us to follow him to somewhere close to where we were, for giving us a map of the city. We try to refuse but he insists, saying he does it just out of politeness, just for helping, and out of politeness (and gullibility) we accept to follow him.

We are walking rather fast, crossing the streets full of traffic with difficulty. A quarter of an hour later, we really get sick of it and tell him we are late for a meeting with some friends. The guy insists saying that we’re “almost there”, like he had already told us several times. Fortunately, Maïte doesn’t give up and explains to him that we really had to go. We finally manage to leave him, having just one thought on our minds: leave all this noise, this pollution, these people behind, and instead enjoy the tranquility of our room.

Coming back on Main Bazaar, we realize that there it’s rather calmer than the streets we saw before. We meet again with the weed seller, who once again tries to show us his merchandise. Only after explaining to him that we are tired and that all we want is to go back to the hostel does he let us be. We finally get to the hostel and try to stay awake, in order to get over the jet lag. But there’s no hope (especially when we lay down) and we end up both sleeping for an hour.

This text has been voluntarily translated from French by Cristina Lumezeanu. Big thanks to her! If you think there is a translation mistake, don’t hesitate to contact us.