Delhi Harpy

Trip Start Jul 25, 2011
Trip End Sep 01, 2011

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Flag of India  ,
Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Today's teachings were kindly provided by the stoic Japanese tourists admired around Old Delhi. Imperturbable and wearing nothing but their expensive clothes, electronic gears and smiles, they are definitely worth my eternal admiration for how they're able to stand even under the harshest conditions. You might think that a Japanese tourist would implode in what it's essentially the world's anti-Japan, instead they smile and keep it going.

It was another day of ups and downs, still I am convinced that I am in the right place and all of my senses are put at hard work every minute, exactly what I was looking for.

I originally planned to visit Agra today, but I preferred sleeping a couple of hours more and relax. It was quite a good thing to do since today it rained like hell and I stupidly left my rain jacket at the hostel (which was the subject of today's update: stupidest things you brought on a holiday and never used).

After mastering the skills of bargaining and not feeling guilty for the rest of the week, I managed to find my way to Humayun's Tomb, a beautifully crafted complex in the south suburbs of Delhi.

It was said that this Persian piece of architecture ultimately inspired the creators of the Taj Mahal, and it's easy to see why.

Quite a wonderful sight of gardens, irrigation canals, domes and spires, interrupted by the heavy rain that helped clearing the sky for later sightseeing.

On the way out I met my daily tout, Mrs. Medusa.

After giving her 10 rupees on the way out of the complex I turned back and decided to take a picture of the gardens. At this point she started yelling no, screaming:

"pipty pipty pipty!"

"Hmm hello? I was taking a picture of the gardens, would you like a photo of yourself as well?"

*she makes some camera pose hand gestures*

"pipty pipty pipty!"

"Sorry I don't...."

"pipty rupee!"

"Oh FIFTY rupees! I get it. But I gave you ten already! Do you want forty more?"


"Well no, that's too much and also dishonest sorry"

Screaming and breathing heavily she yelled more and more, at this point I simply turned around and left the place.
Her eyes then threw me a laser glare that could have carved a tunnel through a mountain. Not only that, but her fingers were doing the well known gesture of money with such a face expression and intensity that for a second I thought she could have teared up the fabric of matter and create a black hole out of somewhere.

What an awful being.
Back to the sightseeing!

Took a cab all the way to Connaught Place, trying to grab some parts of New Delhi's vibrant culture.

Did I say I met just one tout for the whole day? No I did not.

Connaught place is famous for being a shark pool for any tourist wandering around, at the point that every store has a private guard at the entrance. It only takes you a few seconds of sitting down a bench on the outside and looking at your map to find out why. One after another here they come, new friends and people that you MUST FOLLOW because they have special deals for you.

Not being in the mood for any more nonsense I just started to reply in languages that they cannot possibly know.

It always starts with something like "My friend hello is that map of Delhi? Can I see?"

Unless you really want to be scammed your answer should be either a firm silence or a variation of:

 "Desolè mais ca c'est la carte de Moscou. Je cherche la maison de mon ami Monsieur Lenin"

Then a guy answered. In Italian. How is it even possible I have no idea. No problem at all, just left pretending being... a Swiss Italian? Whatever works, just get off me. 

The rest of the day was still a lot of fun, wandered around the markets and learned how to get rid of unwanted attention by using the flight attendant posse. Walk around staring at something distant, don't look anything or anyone into the eyes. Someone will for sure approach you anyway, just have a rapidfire answer ready.

"My friend!" 
"I'm not your friend"
"Come with me"

"You look friendly"
"No, I'm horrible"

"Looking for women?"
"No, they are overrated"

And this was my last day in Delhi. Honestly can't say that I'll miss it, sorry but I had enough stress for an entire lifetime. Tomorrow I booked a shared car to Agra and the Taj Mahal, while the day after I'll be on my way to Jaipur already.

And yes, I will come back to Delhi it will be for airport transits. No, I will sleep there. Period. Goodbye Delhi.

I have to say that many things have been super nice. The food, the
atmosphere, the National Museum and so on. India is India, Delhi is
another thing, everybody I met said so. I really hope so. Sorry if this
offends anyone but it's the reality of facts, I cannot imagine how many
tourists are lost every year because of this attitude. Which is a big
shame since the country is really beautiful beyond words, but most of it vanishes after the 100th person walks in front of the line before you like it's the most normal thing in the world.

 I can handle poverty and filth, but this endless stream of rudeness, horrible manners and constant lack of manners is literally leaving me breathless. 

Next stops will be Agra and Rajasthan. Bring me the good stuff India.

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