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Published: July 30th 2010
25/3/10: We had breakfast at Joney’s place, finishing off with the best banana lassi we have had in India yet. The train was late by an hour so we didn’t get on until 8:30. There wasn’t much to see outside so I blogged on the train. Jacinta got upset at a guy that spat a big mouthful of water out the window of the moving train and it blew back in wetting her whole arm. He was a young man and Jacinta ripped into him in front of his friends, he later apologised to Jacinta as we were getting off the train, which I thought was quiet remarkable.
After giving myself a little talk and remembering the LUV IT OR LEAVE IT; I was going to keep my chin up and not let anything upset me. I would try to keep myself in good mood and be patient and calm with any Indian that wanted to pester me.
We geared ourselves up for a showdown as Delhi train station has a bad reputation for having loads of scams and hassling. We had a map and knew roughly which direction we would walk, the Main Bazaar area which is India’s equivalent to
Koh San Rd in Bangkok but without the drinking. We were ready to be ambushed by the Jackal and Hyena tuktuk drivers as we were once again fresh meat for the taking. We walked out the station without any hassle at all and thought something was wrong, we then walked through the parking lot with only one guy asking if we wanted a tuktuk, as always we said “no thanks” he said “OK” and then walked away. Jacinta and I looked at each other and thought that was strange as we are usually swamped having to tell every single tuktuk driver the same thing even though they are standing all around you and have heard us say NO a dozen times until it’s their turn to ask. We walked straight out the parking lot and found ourselves right out front of the Main Bazaar entrance without any hassle. We were totally surprised by this and felt we were off to a great start. Once we hit the Main Bazzar area we were once again swamped by Jackals and Hyenas, they all asked where we were staying and to look at their hotels. Keeping calm, I said NO the two dozen
times that it takes for them to get the message. Jacinta got upset at all of them losing her temper and saying “what part of NO do you not understand!” as she stared this guy right into his eyes, giving him a look that only meant death. I felt great and wasn’t going to let anything get to me. The rolls had changed for us and it was now me that tried to calm Jacinta down. We found a small restaurant; had some breakfast and I went to look for a room. The first hotel was disgusting and totally over priced, we ended up getting a room off a side street for 350rs/night at The Hot Spot Hotel. They were very friendly and helpful right from the start. We spent the rest of the day walking around and getting caught up in the so called Govt approved Tourist office, they basically locked the doors and wouldn’t let us out. All we wanted was a map and after, tried to push us into some tours packages, we realise that this was not the real tourist office it was a privately run office that was renowned for scams.
26/3/10: We decided
to go to the Red Fort around 3km away but first had to organise our train tickets to Amritsar from the New Delhi train station. As noted before, the train station is renowned for its scams, there are two tourist offices, one Government run and the other private. The private one has touts that will tell you anything to get you into their preferred tourist shop as they get paid by commission. They will lie and tell you that the other building has burnt down or is under construction. The Government one is well signed and is the one you want to head for as they are there to help. We had two Indians try to scam us but they had no hope. One guy walked up to us and asked for our tickets, we just laughed and kept on walking. We filled out all the necessary paperwork and waited, and waited and waited. The whole India train system was down and there was no way of telling when it was coming on. We ended up waiting 2hours before we decided to come back later. We started to walk to the Fort passing the a mosque on the way. We
wanted to go in but were stopped as it was Friday and closed to tourist for two hours while they prayed. We got to the fort and had to pay 250rs each, after entering we found it to be a huge waste of money as there were hardly any buildings or information to tell us what the temples inside represents. The museum was also small and not very interesting. It housed weapons and items of clothing from the army. Disappointed in this we headed back a different way that just seemed to take ages. Our legs got tired and we were hungry. The traffic was unbearable and the pollution was worse. The only good thing about our walk is that we didn’t get hassled by any beggars. We did hear that the Government had shipped them out from Old Delhi because of the upcoming Commonwealth Games and this seemed to be true because the places we walked were extremely run down and poor. There was also a lot of work being done to the foot paths and roads and it was hard to imagine that they are going to be ready for the games as there was still so much
to do. I also think that there are a lot of short cuts going on as all the footpath paving was laid directly onto dirt and not even compacted. We finally got back to the train station, got our tickets, and got out of there.
Jacinta would have left ASAP if she could as she still was having a lot of trouble letting India get to her. Emotions, frustration and her temper were at an all time high and it was hard for her to hold back the tears sometimes. That afternoon we meet up with Alex whom we meet in Pushka. He was studying medicine in Bangalore and had a few weeks off to see a bit off India. We got on with him really well and headed out to dinner before he had to catch a flight to Switzerland to catch up with his girlfriend.
27/3/10: This was a rest day and we hit the internet, ate a lot of food and just trying to waste some time. I wanted see a Royal Enfield dealer about getting a bike back to Aus and found a company called Bullet Wallas who convert Enfield’s into choppers. It turned out
to be a 500m walk to their shop so I left Jacinta and disappeared into the chaos getting lost several times. I was relieved when I finally made it, and even more relieved when I saw a New Zealander named Chris who owned the business. They bought the business four years ago after they intended on living in India for only one year until the shipping company stuffed up their container sending it to India instead of putting it in storage (WHAT THE)? They bought the business off an American that had run it poorly. They unknowingly inherited a lot of debts and troubles from the financial crises and slowly built the business back up to a better standard. I was surprised when they told me they lived on the sunshine coast only one hour away from me. Vivian, (Chris’s wife) showed me around there shop and some of the other bikes they were in the process of building. I was so excited about finding them, also someone I called trust to do a good custom job on a bike. They also take care of the shipping and packaging which can also save a lot of headaches. I was eager
to join their Facebook page and get some Idea of designs and stiles. I was impressed by one bike that had been built for a Sydney guy and would like to have something similar. I must have spent an hour just talking and had to get back to Jacinta before she worried too much. I think I bored Jacinta to death talking about the whole thing until she told me I was repeating myself. After all that excitement it was time to go to a different train station half an hour away to catch the train to Amritsar. The train turned up at 8:00pm and only ended up an hour late, it was extremely full and our sleeper bed could only be put up at 10:00 as people left the train at every station.
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