Day 103: New Delhi, India. We woke to yet another hot and noisy Delhi day. Given we’re grounded here until Lil’s replacement credit card arrives, we decided to have a chilled travel planning day, to start getting our ducks in a row for our jaunt through Rajasthan.
We had a late breakfast then set off in search of a change of scenery, and some decent coffee. The easiest option was to go back to the cutesy chilled out cafe we visited at Hauz Khas on Saturday – the Tea Room – which we both loved.
Haus Khas village was noticeably less busy on a weekday – it was relaxing to walk around the narrow streets and poke our heads into shops. There’s a very cool butterfly sculpture in the village, that’s made from old chip packets and other discarded items.
Parking in the village is clearly at a premium, regardless of what day of the week it is. A sign on one of the walls spells out ‘Parking for villagers only – others’ tyres will be deflated’. You’ve been warned.
We spent a chunk of the day at the Tea Room with laptop and phones, awesome coffee and home make cookies, followed by a late afternoon lunch/dinner. People came and went with their laptops and books and at times it felt more like a co-working space than a cafe. Such a great space.
Our itinerary for Rajasthan is starting to take shape, though as always we’re trying to have a sketched out plan, but leave the detail fairly loose so we don’t have to chase rigid timelines. We’re planning to travel by train where we can, and fill in any gaps with other local transport or private drivers.
The Rajasthan train network is extensive and should be a fairly easy way to get around, and a good way to see the countryside in between towns too. Though booking seats on Indian Railways is baffling – there are about 10 different train seat and sleep options plus all sorts of train codes, ticket booking options, confirmation probability settings and goodness knows what else. Thankfully we found a good article online that explains the different types of seats, so at least that part is becoming a little clearer. And the rest we’ll just to have to sift through as we go along.
When we’d finished at the Tea Room, we packed up and headed back to the city in the crazy early evening traffic. The traffic never seems to ease off, but then in a city of 29 million people, it’s not really surprising. That’s Australia plus a bit packed into one city. Drivers honk their horns incessantly too – which is likely why we saw a row of shops specialising in horn replacement the other day.
On the way home we passed Gyarah Murti, an impressive stone sculpture outside President House. The sculpture depicts the famous Dandi March led by Mahatma Gandhi in 1931, against the oppressive salt taxes which had been imposed by the British regime. It’s dedicated to the millions of Indians who participated in the struggle for freedom. We’ve seen the sculpture before in daylight, but it was even more impressive at night time, lit up in the Indian flag colours of saffron, white and green.
After a late evening snack at the hotel, and another glass of the bottle of Indian wine that tastes like wine (thankfully it’s now finished), we headed to bed for a long night’s sleep.
Tomorrow we’re hoping Lil’s replacement credit card will be delivered, so we can leave Delhi on Friday. Which means we’d better finish deciphering the intricacies of the Delhi railway system tomorrow.