An update: Delhi
I’m hoping we’ll get around to updating the blog at least once a week – I may have to set it up for a regular Tuesday update, if nothing else! Things have been (generally) quiet. We’ve been having some Skype conversations with friends when time allows (and now that Eastern time is only.. 9:30 behind us?, it’s a little easier).
Quarter Break has come and gone – we went down to Delhi, where I managed to acquire a complication to the cold I’ve had since Varanasi. I was nigh frog-marched by Adam into the health centre this morning to speak with the doctor, and emerged with “well, it could be bronchitis, it could be asthma, it could just be a nasty cold.” I have cough medicine, antibiotics (in case there’s a bacterial chest infection), and an inhaler, since that will help bronchitis or asthma, regardless.
Delhi was a fun trip, even though it wasn’t as physically joyous as it could have been. We did some shopping (INA Market, Dilli Haat, Paharganj) and Adam has got material for some new shirts, as well as an absolutely delightful pink and purple paisley polyester good for ties, collars, and French cuffs on his shirts. I get scolded for liking things that affect his colourblindness… and yet the colour wheel is blatantly disregarded in his wardrobe. Ah well, que sera sera.
For anyone going to Delhi, here are places I’d recommend visiting (shopping, not tourism):
- INA Market: good fabric stalls for saris, salwar suits, and men’s fabric/material. There are also some tailors there, so if you’re strapped for time but want to get something and get it made (and can get back to INA), you can buy your suit, go to a tailor, and beg for a rush job.
- Dilli Haat: Vendors from all around India, bringing “the best of the best” – and prices to match (so, not always great). This changes on a basis of about every 15 days, so if you see something you like, you really should pick it up then. It costs Rs15 for entry, which keeps it clean and the beggars out. There’s a food court so you can also stop for lunch or dinner.
- Karol Bagh: Known for cheap fabric shops, and clothes for men and women.
- Paharganj: Touristy and you’ll be hassled by touts, but there are a few gems (RExpo has perfumes and essential oils for Rs80/10mL, as an example). There’s also a small shop that had nothing but cabinet/door knobs. Adam and I cut a deal, and got 20 for Rs360, to brighten up our kitchen. Shoe stores here will be a third to half the cost of ones on Janpath!
Places I’d avoid:
- Khan Market: a lot of it is overpriced chain shops (FabIndia, Ashokia). A handful of unique shops, but I’d go there as a “last source” for shopping if you needed to pick up souvenirs.
- Janpath: A nice walk, but you can get everything from Janpath cheaper elsewhere. Saris, leather shoes, purses, shawls and statues… it’s simply not worth it.
If you can manage it, take the Delhi Metro system: it’s clean, there are women-only cars (and lines for security), and cheap. I definitely plan on using it the next time we go to Delhi, and only using the rickshaws if it’s last resort or too far away from a metro station. Compare Rs60 for a rickshaw to the Red Fort/Chandni Chowk, vs Rs16 for the metro!
Also, a tip/request for the ladies… please stop with the spaghetti strap camisole tops and long pants, or the miniskirts and 3/4-sleeved shirts. You’re making yourselves stand out, and it looks like you’ve only paid half attention to what’s appropriate for the area. You can get away with knee-length shorts or skirts, and cover your shoulders and upper arms. So capris and a polo shirt if you can’t bear to get a suit made up: and you can even wear short/sleeveless suits. The skintight baring-everything look is… well… not appropriate for India, and the reason you get harassed by touts and subjected to sexual harassment. I spent less than $20 to get suit material bought and a suit made, and the worst harassment I got in Delhi was to buy cigarettes/water/toilet paper/nailpolish/incense from the stalls.