Robbed in Delhi

Trip Start Aug 26, 2012
Trip End Dec 22, 2013

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Where I stayed
The Florence Inn New Delhi
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of India  ,
Monday, December 24, 2012

Another full day of driving had us arriving in Delhi around 7:30pm. Our really nice accommodations (Florence Inn) was in New Delhi in the Karol Bagh area which is dense with small narrow streets, meaning we had to park Josh about 500m away from the hotel and make the rest of the way on foot.  Exhausted from the drive Zoe and I decided to enjoy the comforts of our hotel (Zoe having a steaming hotel bath and myself watching some tv) , had dinner in the hotel dining room and snuggled into our comfortable clean beds.

For our full day in Delhi the plan was for a few of us to brave the Metro and make our way to the Red Fort and the Chandni Chowk area for a bit of shopping for secret Santa presents and  scarfs to make turbans for our upcoming camel safari.  The timing of our stay in Delhi coincided with the protests regarding the criminal laws around rapist in wake of the 23 year old girl who was gang raped on a bus a week previously and who was in critical condition.  (Note: being behind in my blogs, as I write this four day (Dec. 28th) later we learned from the news that she succumbed to her injuries and died late yesterday).  The protests were occurring around the India Gate area and the police had shut down 9 of the Metro stations around the area to prevent people from getting there. The Red Fort was in the opposite direction so off we went.  After about 1.5 hours of figuring out how to buy day passes for the metro, not having one of our group get on the metro and sending his wife and another to go back to retrieve him and wandering aimlessly for a while we finally made it to the Red Fort only to have what we had been hearing on the street from locals to be true.  The Red Fort is closed on Mondays. As is all the other tourist attractions as other members of our group discovered.  Being a hazy day as well we couldn't even really get a decent snap of the fort. 

Shaking off our disappointment we went back the way we came and started exploring the Chandni Chowk (meaning moonlight square) a colorful shopping bazaar.  Turning off the main street wandered through the little tiny streets.  I’m still fascinated about having like shops together (promotes competition amongst the shopkeepers) and first came across shop after shop of beads and ribbon and then suddenly it was shop after shop of gorgeous sari’s and then on to stationary and book shops.  We managed to find secret Santa gifts, a few presents for Flappy and scarves.  All of the shops were fixed price shops but the prices were very reasonable.  Since there was ten of us and we had split up for shopping we agreed to meet for lunch at the most recognizable spot on Chandni Chowk; the McDonald's.  Of course we all had lunch there; some having the paneer option (burger or wrap), others the veggi burger or the chicken option (burger of wrap).  I had the spicy chicken sandwich which was of course damn spicy but delicious.  The fries were the same but saltier and a few splurged and had a McFlurry which apparently was the best part of McDonalds…

For the afternoon the plan was take the Metro back halfway and get off at Connaught Place, the New Delhi commercial hub that has three ring roads jammed with restaurants, bars, shops and movie theaters.  As we tried to exit the metro station there was a heavy police presence at each of exits and basically there was only one way out; which we thought odd but didn’t think too much about it.  It’s only when a few of us tried to enter did we realize the station was actually close.  Our theory being they didn’t want people to get on the metro to go join the protest.

No sooner did we get out of the metro and about to explore an underground bazaar, and Zoe realized her handbag had been slashed and her wallet was gone; we think it was done on the Metro as it was so jammed packed.   Tanya managed to find a policeman nearby who was off-duty (?) but found us one who was on duty.  Not the most friendly or sympathetic person but told her to follow him. I went with her and he lead us to a police station about 800m away.  After finding someone with fairly decent English, Zoe was asked to write a letter stating what happened and what was missing.  They took offense to the accusation that the wallet was stolen and was trying to tell us that if that was the claim she would have to come back and go to court.  Understanding that they didn’t want the paperwork or the crime statistic and she just needed a police report she was more or less forced to re-write the letter with the officer dictating, leaving out the words "handbag was slashed" and basically just writing  “I noticed my wallet missing”.  After they took some time to type up the report they added “she tried to search for her wallet”.   Heading back to the group about an hour later, all had left except Tanya and Kit and we took a tuk tuk back to the hotel. 

Spending the rest of the afternoon on the laptop and phone, Zoe was able to cancel her cards and get a new one sent onto Mumbai.  In the meantime we will lend her money until we get to Mumbai.  Needless to say, Zoe dislikes Delhi (I completely understand as I felt that way about Paris a few years ago when my purse was stolen) with a passion and it did put a damper on the day and on Christmas Eve no less.

In talking with Vera and Malcolm who opted to pay for a car and guide for the day, they were not much more successful in seeing the sights due to again it being a Monday and the protest had shut most of the roads down and they had no choice but to head back to the hotel.  A couple other guys had better luck in renting a rickshaw driver for the day but then they weren’t about really seeing the tourist sites; just some shopping and bar hopping. So they did quite well for the day.

Delhi was the end of the first leg of the full circuit and the beginning of the next so we had another group meeting and three new people join us,  For Christmas Eve dinner we went to a decent restaurant called Crossroads where they had a Christmas cake for dessert  (Thanks Dragoman) which was more like a spice cake but still very tasty.  After dinner and saying goodbye to Anouschka who’s final stop was Delhi, a few of us went to locate a shop to top up our phones with more airtime to call family and friends tomorrow; Christmas Day.

The best was made of our 36 hours in Delhi despite the circumstances outside of our control.  If I have the opportunity again I think I would spend about a week here to taken all that the city has to offer.
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