New Delhi, New Challenges

Arrival hall Indira Gandhi airport

Where do we start….There are just no words that describe Delhi, perhaps only a city of EXTREMES. Right from the get-go we were challenged & despite the time spent in India to-date, we were a bit overwhelmed with the people, noise, traffic, filth, touts & scams!

Our arrival was smooth until we arrived at the New Delhi railway station to get our forward train ticket for Agra before heading to our hotel. Of course there are loads of people so eager to lend a helping hand….with ulterior motives to rip you off. Short version of a much longer story, we were told by a railway official (we even checked his ID) the government tourist agency had moved due to construction & redirected us to the new location a couple of kilometers away. We headed out to find a rickshaw driver to take us to the address. This ‘official’, aka tout, was in collusion with the rickshaw driver who took us to a bogus travel agency. Upon arrival our gut instinct told us something was just not right with this seedy place & we hightailed it out of there with a different driver.

The next rickshaw driver was on his way to our hotel when we apparently hit a ‘roadblock’ & were told by the police officer who stopped us that due to security concerns & recent political uprisings in neighbouring districts the area our hotel was located was closed. He directed us to the ‘official’ government approved travel agency who would help us find another hotel. Our radar was on full alert now. Of course the agency was very helpful, even dialling our hotel in order for us to verify the closure. Yup, you guessed it, the ‘hotel’ confirmed our booking number but were sorry to inform all reservations were cancelled & even went as far as advising booking.com was just slow notifying everyone due to this recent turn of events. The agency provided us with a list of hotels, but cautioned things were pretty booked up due to a festival. Smelling a rat Bob stepped out & called our hotel on our cell phone, you guessed it we were in the middle of yet another scam! I was not a happy camper (really pissed off actually) at this point & made my opinion pretty clear; think they got the point in spades. The ploy is to get unsuspecting tourists to book rooms at much higher cost with the touts pocketing the excess. They also try to pressure you into purchasing tour packages at exorbitant rates.

By the time we finally reached the hotel we originally booked; 4-hours had passed & was only 5-minutes from the train station where all this nonsense began. These scams are pretty much on script with everything we have read, the good news we got out of this mess costing us only time, headaches, rattled nerves & a few rupees for the rickshaw rides. Corruption is alive & well in India…lesson learned, AGAIN, never trust anyone who is friendly to you!

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Red Fort

Despite this rude intro to Delhi, after a good nights rest we regrouped & ventured out into the chaos of the New Delhi streets. This place certainly is alive – great street food, hawkers selling their wares, touts trying to engage you in conversation, rickshaws, cars, scooters, trishaw cycles, animals & people, so many people virtually smothering the streets, 24/7.

We did the usual tourist things like visiting the famous Red Fort, both at night for the light show & during the day, Humayun’s tomb (the same man who built the Taj Mahal), India Gateway, President’s house, etc., but it was the Chandni Chowk bazaar of Old Delhi that captivated us. Long, winding streets filled with all sorts of marvellous treasures. You could spend weeks scouring these alleyways, so interesting, great study of the people living here & such fun!

Oh yes, forgot to mention, Bob also caught a pick-pocket with his greedy fingers trying to inch their way into his pocket. Needless to say this would-be thief was lucky he didn’t have his fingers broken when Bob caught him. So at the end of the day I guess you could say we experienced the good, bad & ugly India that has to offer in a mere couple of days in the big city.

Chandni Chowk Bazaar
Chandni Chowk Bazaar
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Making the sari sale at the bazaar
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Such a serious little lad

Author: Theresa & Bob

We love to wander, aimlessly at times it seems, and will keep moving as far and as long as we can. Serendipity has provided many wonders along the way, when least expected, and we love the anticipation of the 'next great find' just around the corner.

8 thoughts on “New Delhi, New Challenges”

  1. I’ve spent a lot of time in Delhi and know what you mean by the scams, mind you I was usually in a taxi not a rickshaw! They really try their hardest to get you but that’s all a part of the adventure…can’t blame them though when you see the extremes of poverty and wealth. Take care and enjoy Agra!

  2. We feel like we’ve got a dollar sign tattooed on our foreheads! But agree, really swings from the haves to the have-nots over here.

  3. Sorry you had some bad experiences! I guess we just got lucky, but we had no problems at all in Delhi, or in India period. Paid too much for a few things, but can’t blame them for trying, and it was our choice to buy those things anyway! I’m guessing you’ll still go home saying it was a great trip, in spite of a few scams!

    1. These guys are good, Doesn’t matter how seasoned a traveller you are, one really needs to stay on their game.

  4. These scammers had no idea who they were dealing with! Glad everything worked in your favour! You gotta have eyes in the back of your head. Be safe!

  5. OMG what an experience! There was a big demonstration in Delhi
    A couple of days ago. Water was scarce. Thank God they are doing ok. So interesting. They are good writers.
    This is a message from Doreen in Sumerland. By the way, my friend Barb, mentioned Bob looks like he lost a lot of weight. I thought so too. Maybe his clothes are too big!
    Stay safe and don’t get scammed!

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