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English is not our native language, so we apologize in advance for translation- spelling- and grammar errors
5 a.m The alarm clock rings. We get up early because we have to catch the morning flight to Delhi. Our "private servant", we always greet him with Namaste instead of Ju-le because he is from Agra, is already waiting for us. We wanted to say goodbye to him the night before, but he insisted to say farewell in the morning. At 5.30 we leave for Leh airport. To the airport is a short ride.
When Jan opens the balcony door he waves and soon after he appears with a tray with tea and biscuits. How nice!
At 5.30 we leave for Leh airport. To the airport is a short ride.
The aircraft departures at 7.45 a.m. It is a flight of one hour and a quarter. The flight is spectacular!
The sky above Ladakh is clear. The sight out of the airplane on the mountains of the Himalayas is brilliant. Towards Delhi the sky gets covered.
We land safely at Delhi Indira Gandhi Airport. WOW, hot in Delhi! More than 40 degrees and also very humid and smoggy! A major transition after the mountain air and clear starry skies in Ladakh!
We see how Delhi is working on further modernization of the airport and the land surrounding it. We are dropped again at the Broadway Hotel. It is a good hotel.
At the traffic lights there are quite a lot beggars knocking on the car windows. Not seen any beggars in Ladakh.
We stay 1 to 2 hours in the hotel. Just for resting. After a little nap we leave the hotel and explore the district just behind the hotel.
Narrow streets, including the meat street with lots of small meat shops. EAlso a collecting place of waste and rubbish with a very nasty smell. We wander around quietly. In one of the main streets of old Delhi we see a McDonalds restaurant. Shall we go inside? Yes we do. It is so cool inside! And we need that because sweat runs in streams from our heads and backs!
Above the streets the familiar chaos of electricity wires. Later at home we see a documentary that explains that in Delhi alone seven persons per day are electrocuted because of the bad wiring.
Clutter everywhere, lots of dust and widespread poverty compared to Ladakh. Great differences between rich and poor.
People with big plastic bags are collecting litter for little money and people everywhere sleeping on the floor. Stalls selling fried savouries and dumplings.
A lot of stuff is transported by rickshaws; long ladders, big jute bags, dozens of boxes and of course many people. It's hard to go ahead as the road goes upward. Sometimes there is a pusher at the back to help. After all the hard work the rickshaw drivers sleep in their rickshaws in crazy positions.
After a long walk through the city we decide to take a bicycle rickshaw back to the hotel. Two tourists in a bowl: you can imagine that it is very hard working for the driver Next time we take a Tuk Tuk. The air co is switched on in our room, so it is nice cool. We have a good room overlooking the mosque.
On our previous trips Delhi was only a transit destination for us. Now it is the first time that we stay a view days and have the time to explore the old city. So after some refreshment in the room, we hit the road again for a walk.
Outside the hotel there are a dozen people at tables with typewriters. They type important formal correspondence and contracts for those who cannot do that themselves. There is clearly demand for this type of service. There have many customers.
Back at the hotel we have a drink at the bar with some peanuts and chips. We book a table in the restaurant for eight o'clock. The hotel is famous for its kitchen/food Haute Cuisine Indian style. Stuffed mushrooms and spinach dumpling. Very tasty. The soup is very spicy. We buy the code for three days internet in the room. Slept all night with both fan and air co on!
Today we slept until 8.45, then breakfast at the hotel. No rush today. Our room is very nice. Good cooling and a nice desk, two chairs with table and a of course a good hot shower !
About 11 a.m. we leave the hotel. We take a Tuk Tuk to Connaught Place. It turns out to be a very modern area. Major retailers like Adidas, and Tommy Hilfiger. That's not what we are looking for. Almost all the stores have a security guard at the door. As we pass the door immediately swings open.
Quite a few pushy people, here. Even if you clearly say no they continue to insist that you have to make use of their services.
Chandni Chowk. What a crowd! A cacophony of sound from various types of horns, many fragrances. We'll go into antique shops but we didn't find interesting objects. A lot of brass.
It is about 43 degrees and Ingrid has the feeling that she should keep her mouth firmly closed because otherwise a fly would fly inside. We are amazed again about the people who can sleep in all kind of positions. We also see sad figures with wounded legs with flies on it. Street life in Delhi is very confronting You wish you could do more for the poor en wounded people living on the street.
Yesterday we found a bench opposite to the mosque where we sit down again today. Just looking at the people and the chaotic traffic.
That evening we visit with a tuk tuk Karim's restaurant. We read about it in books. If we had not read it we would not have found it as the restaurant didn't look very attractive from the outside.
But inside service was great and the food very good. When we leave the restaurant there is still a lot of activity in the streets. It seems as life in this neighbourhood in the night is as busy during the day.
Time is over! 1 more day in Delhi and then back home with a nightflight.
We send a text message to our son Gerben. We inform him that it's 43 degrees Celsius in Delhi, but he is not impressed. He is in Kuwait for business and it is 49 degrees Celsius over there! From our hotel window we look at the mosque, which is very nice, always something to see near the mosque. When adults enter the mosque for prayer, the children stay outside. They climb together on the motorbikes that are parked in front of the mosque and play cricket on the square. They hit the ball very hard and the balls fly high.
On the flat roofs are children kite flying. People clearly too late for service, come running to the mosque, shooting their slippers off and fly into the mosque. Suddenly we see a lot of birds of prey. There must be food for them somewhere.
´We visit the Spice Market and have to sneeze violently! It is not good for your health when you work here every day. Your lungs have to endure a lot! We do some shopping and go back to MacDonald for a cool refreshment. We buy 2 Nandi's at an antique shop.
At around 5 p.m. we are back at the hotel. Fortunately we have the room till leaving time. We lie down and listen to music. Around 7:30 p.m. we leave for the pub. Jan takes a beer, Ingrid drinks lassi. We eat chicken Sizzler. Very tasty. At 10:45 p.m. we are picked up for departure to the airport.
It was a great trip with a bit false start because the Delhi agent's had clearly other plans with us then we wanted, but everything is corrected in Ladakh. Ladakh on the top of the world is a paradise for travellers and the Ladakhi are great people. Everyone who has the opportunity should travel there at least once in a lifetime!!
Ingrid Vogelesang and
Jan-Arend van Boeijen