|"pay what you want" coffee :)|
In terms of transportation, it is quite cheap but also quite variable in price. I read in a travel guide and have found that advice to be good to agree on a price before getting into any autorickshaw/cycle-rickshaw. I didn’t do that once today and the price difference was 80 rupees (which still is very cheap - about 50 rupees is equivalent to $1). Still, I stand out clearly as a foreigner which I think makes me a target for being charged unfairly high prices compared to the going rate. Delhi has a new metro system that was built in 2002 which is very nice and also very cheap. My ride to the coffee shop today was only 20 rupees (less than $0.50). The metro is clean, efficient, has information in both Hindi and English, air-conditioned, and best of all has designated sections for women only (marked on the train track boarding area with a pink sign saying “Women Only”). Men can actually be charged a fine for riding in the ladies only sections of the train.
Speaking of women, I definitely feel that I am a minority on the streets in terms of my gender as well. There are far more men walking around then women. I read about this in advance and was expecting it so I dressed up in some pretty shape-less clothing and a baggy jacket, put on my dark sunglasses and hit the road with a fairly serious expression on my face. I wasn’t bothered too much and actually for the most part found people to be very friendly and helpful. I was clearly confused when boarding the metro for the first time which direction I was supposed to be heading since the metro map in the Lonely Planet book is in different colors than the actual colors of the metro lines. A very nice gentleman helped me figure it out and I made it to my destination.
Speaking of the coffee shop - it was in a really cool area with neat shops bordering a park. I am looking forward to returning to the area and maybe do a little bit of browsing/shopping. There were a ton of kids out playing games with each other and many of them (noticing how much I stood out) would run up and walk beside me, say “Hi!” and wave. It was pretty darn cute.
Unfortunately not all the kids come from a good living situation as there are many poor, homeless, and/or begging children on the streets of Delhi as well. I had read that you are not supposed to give money or gifts to begging children, and that is even harder to do than it sounds. There seems to be some sort of set of rules for whom to give money too and who not to. Apparently, it’s considered okay to give money to beggars who are obviously handicapped but it is discouraged to give handouts to children. I’m not quite sure why - I’ll have to do some more reading and see if I can figure it out.
|Hotel Pahwa International|
I digress. So, back to my last point about the color. Many of the women dress in fabulous arrays of colors. Their outfits look pretty comfortable as well and I think I could really get into the Indian fashion. Sure, there is a fair share of western clothing, but many women wear these colorful loose pants with a long colorful shirt over them and a scarf/wrap. They also wear several jeweled bracelets on their wrists and many of them have a decorative nose ring as well. I’ll forgo this nose ring, but the colorful pants and shirt - count me in!
Alright, enough for the time being. I’m going to attempt to take a Hop On Hop Off bus tour of the city tomorrow and will hopefully start taking some pictures to post on the blog. It may take a while for me to actually post them though since I have a feeling the internet connection will mean that it will take forever to load photos. I’ll do my best! Until next time, namaste!