The hotel arranged to have us taken to the railway station in their car for the 6am train to Delhi, so at 5am the streets are full already and workers are queued up at the tea stalls for breakfast. In Africa the pace was slow and men sat around doing nothing. Here, sure, some are lying on just a small dirty piece of cloth on the sidewalks asleep but most men are up and about-energetic and eager for the day’s work-meager as it will be. Interestingly you seldom see women on the sidewalks. As the train pulled into the station I looked at it dubiously, but it turned out to be ok. It was not the cleanest train ever but had air conditioning-the most important thing in this heat.
On the outskirts of Delhi I sleepily watch the plastic and cloth shacks and the naked children whiz by but come alert when I catch a glimpse of a young man seemingly out of place in his nice new yellow shirt and new-looking grey slacks sitting on a stool and leaning on his arms high on a bank above the railroad tracks…maybe he is dreaming…maybe he’ll be going to school…or to work in the new hotel in New Delhi this new day…
Four hours later we stumble out of the train station behind the only two other young but tired looking white tourists who keep glancing back at us…I guessed French or Italian…and probably wondering who else from the west besides them is nuts enough to be in India in the summer. It is 106 degrees on this day. We have not seen one American in India.
The taxi ride to the hotel and subsequent auto-rickshaw rides in the insane traffic looking at alternative hotels all afternoon does me in. We finally choose the Ajante Hotel primarily because it has a restaurant and high speed internet downstairs. For two days I refuse to leave my air conditioned room except for brief forays into the internet cafe. Bob braves the heat, noise and traffic to explore the city by himself, getting lost of course and having to take a rickshaw back to the hotel.
Tags: Hotel, India, New Delhi, Trains, Weather, Worst Experiences