My First Solo Trip to India

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#1 Feb 3rd, 2012, 21:22
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#1
I'm staying at the Cottage Yes Please in Paharganj, New Delhi. For just under $20 a night I can't complain. They laid out plenty of blankets to ward off the chill.

The CYP has elevators so my old knee is grateful. Plus TV, refridge and a decent western bathroom. Wifi runs rs100 a day extra. For me it's a necessity so I glady pay.

I ate at a few of the nearby restaurants, not bad. I stopped by the Fiesta Cafe and ordered a Coke. The waiter wouldn't take my money. In India? I was very confused but thankful.

I had the first of many barber shaves today, rs50. Life is good.

Jet lag, a 11.5 hour time difference is a handful. But I managed to sleep just a few hours during the day. I am hoping to sleep through the night. But between the early morning train horns and the neighborhood mosque's call to prayer, good luck.

All in all I am loving it. The people are friendly, I only had to contend with two touts and a few beggars and rickshaw drivers. Nothing I couldn't handle. Most are just really helpful and nice. I asked a fruit vendor where I could buy salt. He said just the big bags. I just needed a pinch or two for my cucumber. He went back to his quarters, got some salt and wrapped it up for me. Another nice touch.
#2 Feb 4th, 2012, 20:47
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#2
I had another great day in India, starting with my morning chai at a stall the locals congregate at.

I had my first auto rickshaw ride going to the New Delhi train station. I've been hearing those haunting train horns mornings. I had to check the place out. Actually, I was finding my way for tomorrows train.

I located the platform and certainly appreciate the electronic signage marking the position on the train carriages. That was a prime concern of mine. But they made it easy. My knee didn't fail me tackling the stairs leading up to the walkway and down to the platforms.

I walked from my hotel down the length of the Main Bazaar road and back again. No touts bothered me. It kind of made me mad. Why were just the youngers guys being pestered by the guys selling hash and marijuana? It just saved me from having to say no. But still!

When preparing for this trip a lot of people pointed out how bad Pahar Ganj is. I find it nothing but interesting. No problems at all.

I got to use my first public urinal. Ladies, you aren't missing a thing. I think they get flushed annually and ths one was just on week 50. Whew what a stench.

I haven't seen mosquito one. And just one or two flies.

It seems every minute in India is a Kodak minute. I've missed so many good shots fumbling around getting my camera powered up.

I ate at Malhotra, across from my hotel. I had tandoori lamb. So delicious and the stray dog feasted on the bones. I think I made a friend.

Time to pack and get ready for tomorrow's trip to Amritsar.
#3 Feb 5th, 2012, 04:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drews60 View Post I had another great day in India, starting with my morning chai at a stall the locals congregate at.

I had my first auto rickshaw ride going to the New Delhi train station. I've been hearing those haunting train horns mornings. I had to check the place out. Actually, I was finding my way for tomorrows train.

I located the platform and certainly appreciate the electronic signage marking the position on the train carriages. That was a prime concern of mine. But they made it easy. My knee didn't fail me tackling the stairs leading up to the walkway and down to the platforms.

I walked from my hotel down the length of the Main Bazaar road and back again. No touts bothered me. It kind of made me mad. Why were just the youngers guys being pestered by the guys selling hash and marijuana? It just saved me from having to say no. But still!

When preparing for this trip a lot of people pointed out how bad Pahar Ganj is. I find it nothing but interesting. No problems at all.

I got to use my first public urinal. Ladies, you aren't missing a thing. I think they get flushed annually and ths one was just on week 50. Whew what a stench.

I haven't seen mosquito one. And just one or two flies.

It seems every minute in India is a Kodak minute. I've missed so many good shots fumbling around getting my camera powered up.

I ate at Malhotra, across from my hotel. I had tandoori lamb. So delicious and the stray dog feasted on the bones. I think I made a friend.

Time to pack and get ready for tomorrow's trip to Amritsar.
Wonderful read; this Paharganj experience. You are taking it well! 60+ age helps!
.
#4 Feb 5th, 2012, 06:22
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#4
Glad to hear things are going so well Drews. We probably crossed paths in the bazaar yesterday without knowing it. No great problems either, but the dust and pollution are giving my sinuses hell. I see why quite a few people were wearing dust masks or scarves over their faces.
Am looking forward to tomorrow when I'll return to an area I spent time in during the seventies. It's across the Ganges from Mirzapur and I'll probably be the only ferringhi for miles.

W22
#5 Feb 6th, 2012, 09:15
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#5
The train

This is my first rail journey in India. I am heading to Ameitsar. It started at the hotel when I needed an auto rickshaw. The first guy wanted 200, the second 120 the third 100 when one old bird came and took me for 40. He didn't want to get too close to the train station, he was afraid of being stopped by the police. Hmmm?*

He wanted to let me off at the end of the main bazaar but I said no. He finally relented and took me across the road to the station.

Next came the porters. Again starting at 200 and working down to 50. The legal rate is 40 so I didn't get screwed too bad. Then he asked for a 10 rupee tip. Why not.*

I had to find the seating chart for first class. I had a confirmed ticket but they don't assign the cabin or coupe until 4 hours before departure. I got a 2 person coupe sharing with an Army colonel. A general is in the next cabin.*

The train arrived 10 minutes late. No bad by Indian standards. Not bad by American standards.*
*
The coach is kind of old and showing wear and tear. *The cabin attendant handed out clean sheets, a pillow and a hand towel. *I don't know why, we aren't sleeping.*

I ordered a veg lunch and chai. The tea came in a thermos pot. It's boiling hot but tasted great. No germs could survive the heat and I'm sure there were plenty of germs to start with!

Several vendors came through the coach. I couldn't understand one. But I could make out "soup, hot soup, hot tomato soup" I sure didn't expect soup!

The chai is excellent.*

This train has 24 carriages, 3 general class, 10 sleeper class, 4 3 tier cars, 2 2-tiers cars and one first class carriage. It can carry over 1200 people.*

The colonel decided to hit the sack and went into the upper berth. Good. I can scoot over to the window and see a bit of India.

Lunch consisted of a tin of rice, a tin of chick pea curry and a tin of what I call firehouse lentil beans. It came with 3 pieces of what tasted like a whole wheat flat bread, a cup of water and a package of pickled something.*

Train travel sure beats flying. I have lots of room, a big window to view the country side, a bed at night, a chance to walk about and power to recharge my tablet and phone batteries. The down side is the motion, the rattling door and window and the flaming hot lentils. Pass the pepto. And if I flew I would be there by now, I still have five hours to go. But I get to see something. Like the cow pie place where they were busy forming pies, laying them out to dry. They are used as fuel to cook with. Pie powered stoves!*

The colonel snores

Arrived right on time Ambala Cantt.

Passed an old man herding pigs. I wonder who would use them. Not the vegetarian Hindus and certainly not the Muslims.*

The colonel woke up. I'm back to my aisle seat.*

Another pot of chai is on the way! This thermos is dirtier than the first one. Boiling water do your duty. Death to germs. I have to learn to make chai back home.*

We were really clipping along for a few minutes.*

The colonel got off the train. I have the coupe to myself for the rest of the trip, all 90 minutes of it. We are running 40 minutes behind schedule.

Imagine those 1200 passengers hitting the platform stairs at the same time! Lucky me, I have a porter.*

And old man got in my face muttering "20 rupees 20 rupees". Turn out I got my first bicycle rickshaw ride. The hotel was less than a KM from the station.

I'm having a great time!!!!
#6 Feb 6th, 2012, 09:27
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#6

Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drews60 View Post I'm having a great time!!!!
Glad you finally made it there, Drews (and indeed, Wanderer, ah, the excitement of being back. My last first return was some 13 years after the fact -- um, does that expression make sense? I found India hadn't essentially changed one iota, btw.) --> Arguably the mid-1970's by way of comparison will be something else, again.

Enjoy! (From one who may have some life behind him, but either way is nowhere in his sixties yet. A youngster and still wet behind the ears to you guys and gals, I'm quite sure.)
#7 Feb 6th, 2012, 09:39
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#7
Thanks for the updates, Drew!! So happy that you are having a wonderful time!
#8 Feb 6th, 2012, 12:31
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#8
Great write-up, Drews. The descriptions on the train brought it all back.
10days till we leave, snowed in here, out of teabags and I'm really hanging out for a cup of steaming Indian chai!

Best wishes for your next few days in India, do keep us posted.
“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag
#9 Feb 6th, 2012, 12:42
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I have started a new thread for you, Drews.
#10 Feb 6th, 2012, 12:52
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Great to hear it's going to plan. We're right behind you. 90 minutes until we leave for the airport.
#11 Feb 6th, 2012, 13:26
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#11
Oh lovely! We stayed at CYP too - it's really a good place to stay, we left our stuff there for a night and caught the Shatabdi to Amritsar, what a great city it is. If you go back to CYP, if you walk the other way to the main bazaar - as if you were heading to the Metro - you come quickly to a very villagey little area, we really liked walking through there.
#12 Feb 7th, 2012, 12:12
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#12
Happy to see things going so well . I will be so much more prepared for my next trip

Thanks everyone !
#13 Feb 8th, 2012, 01:58
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#13
These updates are really great. Keep them coming Drews. I will be heading to India solo in April too.
#14 Feb 8th, 2012, 02:15
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#14
Yay! Sounds wonderful.The play by play is awesome to read.Im 14 days behind you...tried booking at Cottage yes please but they are full.
Look forward to reading more of your posts Drew
#15 Feb 8th, 2012, 03:24
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#15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drews60 View Post Passed an old man herding pigs. I wonder who would use them. Not the vegetarian Hindus and certainly not the Muslims.*
You saw unsalaried municipal street technicians, i think that's the PC thing these days! Pig back hair used to be used for paintbrushes. Dalit's own them, shepherd and generally look after them, with an end to eating them, just saying...
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