Delhi Impressions

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Random Delhi intersection

This is going to be an interesting trip. At first glance, Delhi reminds me much of Beijing - the chaotic traffic hurrying along on filthy streets past fenced off enclaves.

5:15 this morning at Hotel Ajanta in the Ram Nagar district, I heard a clang. A dropped pipe? A bell? It was the start of the dawn call to prayer - a very loud and melodic call for 30 minutes, followed by somewhat muffled prayers and chanting from the mosque next door. This, along with an extraordinarily inedible breakfast and a rip-off change of rooms when we were too tired to complain about it last night is the reason I will not stay at Hotel Ajanta again or recommend it to anyone.

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Me & Crab inside the uncompleted minar

The day got a lot better when we met our friend, Crab, at Qutab Minar. Crab, who is really named Abhijit, is an enthusiast of India's historical ruins and mausoleums and he showed us some fascinating details in the complex, including the first true arch ever built in India (along with some of the few precursors which didn't fall apart). We had a late lunch at one of his favorite South Indian restaurants, then he dropped us off at Hamayun's Tomb and went into work.

As we left the tomb later on, we negotiated a ride back to the hotel by an auto-rickshaw driven by a Sikh fellow named Didar. He persuaded us to use his service tomorrow for a ride around town to various places. I didn't want to, but recalled one of the bits of advice in Shantaram: surrender. So I gave in and arranged to have Didar pick us up at 11 am at our hotel.

Still full from lunch and exhausted from the busy day, we skipped dinner but walked through the Main Bazaar near the New Delhi train station. I was offered hashish three times but only bought some sandalwood soap.

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