Published: January 30th 2007January 30th 2007
A small hole in the wall where people queue to buy little tubs of fresh fruit salad
We have had an interesting two days...
After nearly, NEARLY missing our train to Delhi when the taxi driver took us some stupid round about way (my god i have never shouted at anyone like i shouted at him!) and having the most stressful taxi ride of my entire life, arriving at Mumbai Central with 5 minutes before the train left, we did manage to catch it, and ended up sitting with two middle aged couples, two brothers and their wives, who were lovely and friendly.
The Rajzani Express to Delhi, while it costs twice as much as the other lines, takes 17 hours as opposed to 24 and is definately worth the extra money, being lovely and clean, with air con (not something i'm too bothered about really, but still in principal it's great) and free food, snacks, drinks, soap strips (jasmine scented... i am so impressed, they are little patches you rub between your hands under water and they make a lather. I never knew such things existed), towels, toothpicks, chai, coffee.... the service was a lot better than on the flight here i must say, as was the food!
The people we were sitting with were very friendly,
On the boat on the way to Elephanta, an island an hour away from Bombay with ancient carvings of Shiva and other Hindu Gods
asked us questions and laughed a lot all the way there, and Bryony and one of the women spend most of the journey making faces at eachother which everyone found uproariously amusing. This morning one of the men, Ashok insisted on taking photos of all of them sitting inbetween Bry and I, one by one, and called us "my new daughters", then told us about his son and daughter who are both dental surgeons, as is his brother's son. He then told us that if we needed any help we should call him and gave us his number and then told us we were invited to dinner with them tomorrow in a restaurant in Connaught Place, after which we made small talk in the course of wich he asked what our fathers did for a living "Your fathers are business men?", told us they were Brahmins and asked which cast my family was from originally, then told me that Shrivastav's were a "very intelligent cast". By this point suspicions were entering my mind, mostly due to a story mum once tld me about a man on a train befriending her and then wanting her to marry his son.... and a
Triple God Head
A HUGE carving of Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu, the Maintainer and Shiva the Destroyer
couple of hours after we got off the train Bryony got a text from Ashok's son saying that we met his parents on the train and that if we needed anything we only had to call him.
Ahaha. Good times. We are now possibly being vetted as the prospective wives of two Brahmin dentists... I must say from the point of view of my Shrivastav family it might be considered a very good match!
Anyway i think we will go to dinner as it would be pretty rude to refuse, but whether to simply see what happens and if the need arises assure them that we are in no need of husbands, or to have hours of fun innocently making it clear that we are entirely unsuitable we haven't decided yet.
Anyway, we're in Delhi, staying in a clean if slightly falling apart room in Pahaganj, a long narrow, filthy bazaar full of jewellery, clothing and shoe shops, cows, dogs, mud and interesting smells for 4 pounds a night. It's really nice being in the middle of so much noise and commotion actually, though after the five hours of sleep i got on the train it's something of a shock.
On the train with Ashok himself
He has just said "You are my new daughters" and after about 4 hours sleep I look drunk and Bry looks lke a dormouse.
So far we've had some lunch, bought two pairs of sandals each and been fitted for tailored jumpers costing 3 pounds each, as it is suprisingly cold here after Bombay.
This afternoon we plan to explore Connaught Place and Juntar Muntar, a huge ancient observatory a mile or so away.
I know Delhi is reputed to have horribly high levels of hassle for tourists but I have to say that so far it has been great. The atmosphere here is so totally different to Bombay but from first impressons i think i like it even more.
There are more photos below