Pahar Ganj Main Bazar

Lotus Temple

cows roam the streets


September 26, 2000 (21-days)


From the balcony of my hotel in
Delhi overlooking the Pahar Ganj Main Bazar, the chaos below seems tame compared to 20-days ago when I arrived in India.  Yet I know the change is in my perception.

Horns are still constantly honking and bells on bicycles are ringing.  People, bikes, motorcycles, rickshaws and cars rush up and down the narrow streets filled with shops and restaurants.  Cows, which are worshiped in
India, roam the streets and pick through the trash.

Down on the street it's a different game.  You have to walk with a purpose, a bit like NY.  You also have to watch where you step cow pies.  As a foreigner, 
  India is not an easy place to travel.  There are several scams, which the guide books and fellow travelers warn you about.  As far as I know, I was fortunate to escape them, although today is my last day here :~)  People lie about how much things cost, they will even try to take you to a hotel with a similar name to try and get commission.  From the airport, I had someone tell me it cost 600 rupees (45 Rs = $1 USD) to take me to my hotel.  When I located the pre-paid taxi booth sponsored by the police, the rate was 210 Rs.  Every time I think I have the system figured out, it changes :~)

Unfortunately there are just enough people trying to cheat that you become leery and it's difficult to trust the locals.  Men, women and children ask me for money several times a day.  On occasion, I give food, but you come to terms with the fact that you cannot help everyone.  You are constantly hassled on the street to book a hotel, tour or take a rickshaw.  You become numb to it after a while and they see it in your eyes.  These conditions make it difficult to bond with the people. 

The locals in most of the hotels and restaurants are quite friendly.  They are also friendly on buses and trains.  Just like my Indian friends back home :~)  I tend to meet fellow travelers in hotels and information centers.  I've met a lot of cool people.  Most tourists are from Israel
and Japan.  I've hung out with a few from Australia, South Africa, UK and Spain.  I see a few "new friends" in multiple cities.  The foreigners are easy to spot in a crowd.

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