For someone who doesn’t like being close to people (proximity wise, not emotionally – I ride my bike in rain, hail, snow and thunder to avoid being squashed on the tube or being pushed and bumped on a bus) and I get aggravated by unnecessary noise, I suppose everyone does but it really gets under my skin- like who whistles in public? I’m aware this is rich coming from someone with a laugh as loud as mine. Anyway, I didn’t think I’d like Delhi because I thought it would be loud, over-populated, polluted and crammed full of people jostling me. I was right, it is all those things, but I was wrong to think that would mean I didn’t like it. I love it here. The horns are irritating and the smog is bloody awful but everything else is wonderful and exciting and kind of insane. I’ve never been anywhere where so many people moved around in one place, walking down the street in Old Delhi makes Oxford Street on a Saturday seem peaceful and devoid of people. There are just so many beings living in this city. A few of them want to take a photo with me (I know, crazy right. It’s like being a tiny bit famous), some want to talk to me and ask where I’m from or more precisely ‘to which country I belong’ and nearly all want to sell me something or take me somewhere to sell me something, as we walk along the air is filled with ‘Hello mam’s and ‘Namaste’s… too many to respond to but I don’t think they really excpect you to anyway, it’s just part of the noise. Personal space is not a concept that applies here, general rules of queuing and walking through a crowd without pushing are non existent, could be because of the sheer mass of people in one place.
I expected the food here to be delicious, India being famous for its cuisine, so I was excited to try everything and anything and oh my dear lord, it’s ten times better than I expected and even better than I could’ve imagined. From the street food which costs 20p a plate to the restaurant meals of various curries, sides and starters where you can order quite a few dishes each cos nothing costs more than a few pounds, it did kind of cost our bodies a few pounds cos it’s hard to stop eating when food tastes that good plus you’ve ordered a ton of it. Totally worth it though to try all the delights. Delhi Belly has either been exaggerated or being brought up in Suffolk really does toughen you up cos neither of us got sick and we weren’t particularly cautious about what we ate. As in, we ate everything we possibly could. As all English people are destined to have a cuppa to celebrate every moment of the day i.e. getting into work, getting home from work, lunch time, tea time etc. Indians are the same with their chai. There are so many pots of it brewing on the street you can practically have a cup every five steps you take. No two cups taste the same as the brewer decides what to put in depending on season, preference, family recipe or just whatever they feel like putting in; you get it in a tiny little glass and it’s like a shot of creamy, sugary, spicy, hot elixir sent by the gods to restore and revive in the hope that you may continue battling with the cocophony of sights, sounds, people, tuk tuks, mayhem, chaos, magnificence and madness that is Delhi to a freshy little tourist like me.