Wednesday, 9 August 2017

New Delhi - Last Stop before Home

I heard so many stories about New Delhi. Mostly from travellers that I have met along the way in India. At one point I notice a pattern …. And my questions started to become generalized and assumption based ….. the base that Delhi is not a good place and the worst place in India. 

Apparently there was a lots of elaborate gimmick or scams going on in Delhi. Most tourist first time flies into Delhi to venture into Mother India on a spiritual journey. The more spiritual the journey the easier prey for the con artist that just want your money. After all one cannot embark on a spiritual journey without first encountering the evil of humanity. 


New Delhi
I have met so many so many and heard so many scams that tourist had been ripped off from. The road is closed .. the hotel is no longer in existence …. The choice of words are so profound that one should think and wonder how sophisticated these con artist are. Generally the con goes in a similar fashion that they find an excuse any excuse to discredit the place you are trying to go and bring you to a legitimate government authorized honest building. If those that don’t know it already … this is India … there is no such thing …..

Walking around Delhi I notice that there was a lot of these such buildings …. Look official, painted in all the right colours, good English educated friendly Indian that will gives you advice in anything that you might want to know …. Everything is genuine …. Until you need to spend money …. To buy a ticket or to book a hotel or to get a tour … that’s when one have to think twice or twenty times of how much should one really pay …. 

I was lucky that Delhi was the last stop and I had so much warning …. In a way I was immune and the last few days I had towards the end of my 1 year long trip for some reason was also hot tempered … I could get easily agitated by friendly people looking to help you out. My mind was most at peace when people left me alone …. Never before have I sought to travel a country that is not friendly towards it tourist but just plain neutral. 

I say Delhi is not a good place unless you are here with a local guide or have your fury burning at full power disdaining everyone that tries to befriend you …. The one and only true government tourist information centre apparently was genuine and very helpful according to one tourist that manage to find it ….

Finding it was an issue … you could not rely on any street locals for help for they will direct you to a dummy where the scam artist are. Not that all the locals are bad but just that these locals are either in consort with these dummies or because there are so many of these genuine dummies that the locals themselves think that its true genuine official. 

The nice German chap that found it .. Edward whom I met in Pushkar told me the only trick to knowing if it was a true blue Government tourist information for Delhi is that they are not authorized to sell anything …. No money …. No Booking No Tickets No Tips …. Pure information and help and guide … if only you could find it. 

Still it was Delhi. 

What did I do in Delhi …. Not much I would say. Sightseeing was out of my mind as I was mentally exhausted to appreciate any of the sights. I went Handicraft hunting for the 4 days that I was here. Jump from one bazaar to another bazaar to another official gov shop to another …. 

I could finally shop since it was the last stop before flying home. Time to rake in some souvenirs and stuff and since its India, things should be pretty cheap. I realized how dumb I was pretty quick. First stop was Dalli Haat a Handicraft Bazaar set up by the Gov of India that allows the genuine handicraft artist to display their works for free at the bazaar and no middle men …. Only the artist themselves must mend the stalls. 

Dalli Haat was a nice place quiet and peaceful with its artist gently poking you to see their wares but not too aggressive as a market free for all. The unique thing was that to enter one would need to pay an entry fee. It was 50 for foreigner and 20 for a local Indian. I look at it … and chuck Rs 20 rupee on the window with my displease look not a word uttered. The guy took one brief look at me and gave me the ticket …. I was a local now … India has no rules …. Rules on the board is more like a suggestion …. 

In the Bazaar I found more of the fav Rajasthan fine paintings … price was for two small size refine works of a peacocks it was Rs 2800 … I really think I strike a bargain in Jaipur now …. I did not buy anything despite looking around for 3 days … my taste in material stuff had risen after travelling a year …. Why buy junk … if you want to buy anything at all especially things that are not essential or practical … just for decoration .. it should be of the finest quality but also at a fair or in Indian standard …. CHEAP.  

3 days I scour Delhi for Handicraft …. Cottage Emporium, internal states emporium , markets, Janpath Market …. Bazaars … back alley streets …. and the result after 3 days of hunting is that I have bought nothing at all …. As I wait in the hostel for 6pm before I head towards the airport I wonder if the spare Rs 2000 that I have would get me any stuff worth its value at the airport …. 

It was time to go home … it has been a year since I started this travel … my second time around the world … time to fly home and see some familiar friends and family … a smile creep in as I think on where my next adventure will be …. And how long before I could put this plan in motion … 

It has been an eventful year


Travelled on : Aug 2015

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Daytrip to Mathura & Vindravan - .... Thieving Monkey Stole my Glasses

Mathura and Vrindavan was a local recommendation from Ktan telling the story of Lord Krishna, one of the three key deity of the Hindu mythology. Daytrip was an adventure in india, espescially when one has to travel roughly 150km to visit the place.

It all started out well waking up late and getting ready to hit the road by 1030 am. First obstacle was to get an autorickshaw to the train station …. 150 rupee … no 100 rupee … no …. zzz … it boiled down to 120 rupee and I was on the road again to the train station

Train station and my second time with unreserved ticket. Ticket to Mathura and I got the same treatment of chuck your ticket at your face treatment. I guess it’s a thing on the unreserved ticket counter but was happy to pay dirt cheap price for it … 50 rupee … Enquiry counter time and the next train to Mathura leaves at 150pm … check the board and it says late … fuck … that would mean waiting nearly 4 hours at the train station ….

Back up plan …. Take a bus … so I walked out the train station and naturally got surrounded by touts .,… could have walk to the bus station but I succumbed to taking a manual rickshaw for 20 rupee to the bus station ….

Mathura ???? there bus … jump on immediately and it departed just as I boarded …. Perfect. It cost me 70 rupee on the bus … not to bad I guess and a slow journey getting out of Agra till we hit the main highway and it was cruise sailing.

Mathura … and I got dropped off way way far away from the centre …. The outer ring, but it didn’t matter I guess since I decided to pay for a tuk tuk anyway to Vrindavan first. 150 rupee and I was too lazy to bargain … on the road again.

Vrindavan an hour later since the tuk tuk was a crappy one with no power. Finally the land of Hare Krishna. Got a super heavy lunch thaili which was awesome only to suffer with a painful belly for the next 6 hours since I was too full. A walk around Vrindavan and it was nice and windy roads rural and surprisingly no foreign tourist. With the amount of western Hare Krishna fans I thought it would be crazier than this … still I was enjoying the local atmosphere.


Walking around the narrow streets of Vrindravan
Someone bump me from the back …. My hands went straight for the pockets and in a split second determined that I had everything intact …. But wait why is everything blury now … My glasses was gone …. Bah I spat thinking it must have dropped off from the bump. Spinning around looking for it I saw a monkey perching on a ledge of a building 1st floor with my glasses.

Fuck ….

A cheeky kid came to me and says “50 rupee I get it back”

The Indian in me said NO …. 10 rupee …. All the while squinting at the monkey willing it to drop my specs. I could see him chewing on the side frame of my Oakley Glasses which had a yellow rubber grip. He took off the grip … great, … chance that he might think it’s a banana and drop the glasses instead.

50 rupee I get it back ….. like a chant in the background of my ear ….

To my horror I see the monkey licking the whole glasses, bite and trying to tear its way through the nose piece. He has finally figure out that the yellow rubber grip is not a banana … and is now furious gnawing away at my frame.


Thieving Monkey in Vrindravan Chewing my Classes
In my mind …. Even if I get it back it’s going to be useless to me …. and do I really want to wear that after being infested by monkey germs ???

50 rupee I get it back …..

No … 10 rupee …. ( the auto indian in me bargaining )

A guy pass by and saw me watching the monkey ….. 10 rupee for the boy and 10 rupee for him to buy some juice to give the monkey ….. you get back your glasses ….

Looking at the Monkey it was too late … he went ballistic and bend the whole frame trying to rip it apart ….. Oh well …. It’s definitely useless to me now …. I laugh and chuckle and turn around to enjoy what I could of Vrindavan with my blurry vision …

50 rupee I get it back ….. the cheeky kid was still cheerful trying to sell his trade

....

Continue on, I see what I could with my blurry eyes of Vrindavan …. There was a garden with 5 temples in it …. I think it was the Seva Kunj but I could not be sure …. It is stated in wikitravel … planted with countless tulsi (holy basil) trees, this is the garden where gopis dance for Krishna at night, and where Krishna and his lover Radha spend the night locked in the Moti Mahal. 


Vrindravan

Vrindravan
There were hoards of monkeys here thou ….. harassing everyone that could find … trying to take anything that is not well guarded …. 
The monkeys of Hare Krishna were a protected being in this holy land as the story has a monkey god Hanuman in it ....

Walking around, I sneak out my phone from time to time trying to get a better view through the lenses of phone camera … I was near-sighted after all … can see near can’t see far but Monkeys were watching … must be weary of monkey jumping me now ...

I pass by the Yamuna river where a holy men tending a tree said to be a thousand year old. Many pilgrims come here to make offering he said …. Do you want to make a donation? I have donated a pair of glasses today to the monkeys … I think it’s enough …. He laughed at my answer but left me alone without any more gimmick’s. 


Yamuna River in Vrindravan
I decided I was not getting much from this daytrip with my vision stolen so early in the trip. Time to head back but there was only one way which was to get to Mathura to get a bus to Agra …. Might as well see the most famous Radha Krishna Temple in Mathura before I go back …. 

My hopes of using camera to take pictures for later viewing was dashed when the front gates says No Camera No Phones …. Even from outside the temple looked fabulous …. Left my phone at the locker and went in anyway enjoying the crowd and the feel of people all in happy mode singing Hare Krishna and going round in circles. 


Entrance to Radha Krishna Temple in Mathura - India
What I could not see I could only feel ….. 

End of Daytrip and I head back to Agra to get my spare glasses out. 


Travelled on : Aug 2015