there’s something in the air here in delhi that makes me completely lethargic. i dont know what it is, but i just have no motivation to do pretty much anything. i really dont know what it could be. it’s not that delhi isn’t an exciting city, cause it’s very exciting. it’s not that it doesnt have much to offer, cause it does. it’s not that there isn’t anything to do, cause there’s tons to do. yet for some reason, i just cant do anything except for wake up late, eat lots of food, and… well that’s pretty much it. last time we were in delhi, i think we were here for about 4 days and during those days we saw absolutely nothing. this time, now we’ve been here for 3 days, and we spent the first 2 days doing absolutly nothing again! we didnt go sightseeing till midafternoon today. but we finally saw some stuff!!
the area we are staying in is called Pahar Ganj. it’s a dirty grungy area of town that most people from delhi don’t really like. everything is crazy congested, there’s hardly any room to walk because of the constant barrage of rickshaws, cows, and foot-traffic. garbage is everywhere. there’s constant noise. the other day we saw a leashed german sheppard pounce on a child who couldn’t have been more than 5 years old, and the child dodged it and kept walking like it was an everyday occurance. hustlers are everywhere trying to sell you anything from bus tickets, to cab rides, to drugs. but, at the same time, it’s the main area for all the backpackers that come to delhi… and the rooms are cheap. unfortunately, the fact that so many backpackers converge on this place makes it feel too… i dunno.. cheezy? i dunno, i think theres just something that bugs me about places that are so much of a backpacker mecca.
after doing virtually nothing for two days, i decided to take a walk last night. i just chose a direction and started walking. most indian cities are compact and there’s tons too see in every direction. delhi isn’t quite like that. it’s huge and spread out. during my *3* hours walking, i hardly saw anything other than dark desolate streets. at one point, i actually did manage to stumble up to something cool: India Gate. it’s a huge archway that is a memorial to indian soldiers who died in WWI. the area surrounding the gate had nicely manicured lawns w/ happy indian families walking around or sitting in the grass. men walked around selling cotton candy, balloons, and glowsticks etc. the atmosphere was so different than anything i’ve experienced in india so far. there’s wasn’t a trace of anything hectic or rushed, no trash anywhere, and not a single beggar.
i have a shameful addiction. i know it’s bad for me. and i try to do it as seldom as possible. yet somehow, at least once a month, i usually have to feed the addiction. especially when i’m abroad, i try even harder to resist. but it’s not always possible. the addiction is to…. mcdonalds. yes, i just cant keep away. i know all the arguments on how disgustingly bad for you the food is. and it honestly pisses me off to no end that they have multiplied so much, that even in foreign countries, you often see several in one city. i often promiss myself to never go to one again. but then my will breaks down. oh well. no one’s perfect.
since we left on this trip, i’ve gone three times: morrocco, croatia, and israel. yesterday, i decided i had to visit again. i stopped a cab and asked them to take me there. surprisingly, ths man had never heard of mcdonalds. honestly, i got a little satisfaction in that fact! as we drove towards the main restaurant area, i wanted to ask people where it was, but i felt weird. i didnt want to be that tourist, who comes to india and dosnt touch curry, instead taking every meal at mcdonalds. but finally we found it. inside, i walked up to the front, and to my horror, realized that caryn had been right…. no meat. no burgers. only chicken stuff. that’s because cows are sacred in india. i was hopng they might bend the rules (israel’s mcdonalds serves non-kosher burgers!), but they dont. they did have some weird stuff on the menu like the “mc tikki alloo” and the “mc maharaja chicken mac”. i got the latter. it tasted weird as hell. not bad.. but definitly not great. the power went off *twice* during my visit… the customers werent even phased.. they just cheered, and kept eating as if nothing had happened.
other than mcdonalds, we’ve actually been dining very well here. delhi has some amazing restaurants to offer. huge varity, and the quality is great. we’ve had some incredible chinese food and delicious indian food. the other night i walked into an indian restaurant, one that was considered a bit more upscale than a lot of them… and yet, there was a tv blaring in the corner and everyone in the room was staring at it while they ate. turnd out, it was the finale of “indian idol” (same as American Idol), and everyone absolutely had to know the winner. when the winner was announced, the whole room went crazy w/ applause! looks like soon reality tv will come here too!
finally today we did a little sightseeing. we check out the place where gandhi was cremated, Raj Ghat. a quiet peaceful place w/ huge lawns.
next, we went to Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in india. it looked realy incredible from the outside, but unfortunately, we didnt get to go inside since we happened to come right at the time of the afternoon prayers, and no tourists were allowed in.
afterwards, we went to the red fort. it’s a humongous fort, and inside there are all sorts of impressive marble buildings. lots of benches for just relaxing and quiet lawns.
back when we were in gujarat, so many people wanted to have their pictures taken with us. it all felt so bizarre, who would want a photo of *us*? since then, there has been much less of that, but today at the red fort, 3 or 4 different groups of people came up to us and asked to have their photo taken w/ us. one of them was a large family, and everyone crowded around caryn as i snapped the shot. one time a man walked up to us, introduced himself and said “this is my son! i would very much like to have a photo of you with him!” he was so excited to have his son be in a photo w/ us. it was very touching. although, i still gotta say, that each time it happens, i really keep thinking “who the hell am i to be posing in other’s photos!! sheeez, i hope other people passing by dont think i’m pompous!!”
mosquitos love me. i’ve always known that. lots of times i’ve hung out w/ people and i’ve ended up with tons of mosquito bites, while the other people come away w/ no bites, or maybe just one. i dont know what it is about me. i’ve always known this, but it was insane today to see it in action. all of a sudden caryn points above my head… there’s a *swarm* of like 20/30 mosquitos hovering over me. i move, they follow. i run, they follow. they just wont leave me alone. i swat at them, but they dont leave. i look at caryn, just 3 feet from me… she doesnt have a single mosquito above her. not one. unbelievable.
traveling around the world, you see people selling all sorts of weird things. strange foods, funny knick-knacks, junk, etc etc. we’ve been in india for 2 months now, and i thought i’d seen it all. but no. as i was walking away from the red fort, a guy came up to me… trying to sell me a beard. yes, a beard. a fake beard and moustache set. i was completely stunned. who the hell sells beards?? and… who the hell *buys* beards. at this point, i realized… i must buy a beard. yes, i must have one at all costs, cause it’s the most random thing ever, and i have to get a photo of me wearing this ridiculous thing.
so, to everyone’s great amusement, i bought a beard. hillarious. everyone around was staring at the ridiculous white guy getting his photo taken w/ a fake beard next to the fake beard salesman. after lots of laughing and photos, i realized… hey, so now what? what do i do w/ the beard?? i tried to give it back, but the guy wouldnt take it. after walking for a while, i saw a random rickshaw driver and walked up to him handing him the beard. and he took it!! as i walked away, i looked over my shoulder to see the rickshaw man standing there by his rickshaw wearing the fake beard i had given him. ahhhh india… land of the bizarre.
the beard salesman