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Published: December 23rd 2011
H.I.P (Henna In Progress)
These guys were pretty impressive...
Golden Mist is what we'd call Delhi's perfume range if it had one, gently scented with poverty, urine and the burned leavings of petroleum byproducts. If the dust everywhere doesn't do it for you, then the rage inspiring touts, rubbish and insane levels of homelessness will just buoy your spirits up to new levels of suicidal despair. While Kerala might have been poor, it was a generalised poverty which left few people poor to the point of homelessness or begging, but Delhi is another story. We've been based in Pahar Ganj at the Hotel Leeroy Jenkins for the last few days, trying to survive the recurrances of stomach trauma inflicted by dodgy food. After our lovely hospital inducing encounter with acute gastroenteritis we've been running about 60% of normal energy levels, so even after sleeping hugely long hours we've been left with little energy or inclination to do much, including the wedding we were supposed to attend. After one very short (in distance and duration) shopping expedition the other day which netted some doorknobs for Tess (insert rude joke about loving knobs here) and a handful of paper lanterns, we retired to the hotel room again. When your energy reserves are
Stalls by the Roadside
Thanks to the omnipresent dust, its hard to find something that doesn't seem brown or grey toned...
down to begin with, it takes so much energy to go out on the street when all you end up doing is refusing the persistent advances of half a dozen touts every 10 metres and trying not to step in snot.
After some soul searching (read: Tess looking on bemusedly while Aisha completely snapped his biscuit with India, deciding he'd rather spend the next 10 years slamming his head in a car door than spend another week here) we found out that we could cancel our tickets and get most of the money back, so.......surprise! We're heading home tomorrow and will land in Australia on Christmas Day. It feels like a bit of an ignominious end to such an amazing trip but for some of us it feels like the holiday ended when the intensive vomiting began. We figure the best thing we can do for ourselves is be with family and friends who care about us and want to be with us (and vice versa).
So to make the most of our last full day in Delhi and India and overseas, we rolled out to attempt to find a mall Tess had read about which promised to
This was BEFORE we spent 45 minutes being lost...
stock a great range of women's clothing and to find somewhere Tess could get her henna done (since she won't be doing that now as part of the wedding). India decided to put on a good last day for us, that's for sure, the sun was shining, the homeless were blooming like flowers and our taxi driver had absolutely no bleeping idea where he was going. Not only that but he was damn pushy about getting us to go elsewhere. Imagine getting in a taxi in Sydney and saying you want to go to the CBD. "How bout the airport?" "No, really, CBD please," "You want to go to Parramata?" No. I need to go the CBD, thanks," Ah, I take you to Marrickville, yes?" "Nooooooooooooooo...." as you drive around in circles, driver asking people where the CBD is...and then eventually you end up in Bankstown and just give up and go home. That's about the scale of it.
After an hour and a half of bone jarring traffic mayhem (a cut above Kerala, here everyone does seem to have a deathwish) we'd got absolutely nowhere (as in we drove for over half an hour, eventually had to admit
Tourist Photo #2479
Taken as we whizzed by at 20kph... (pretty sure it's Humayun's Tomb??)
shit driver defeat and turned right back around again), but eventually went back to Pahar Ganj to at least get Tess' henna done. Parked on a little stool on the side of the road in the middle of the markets, Tess lay her hands and arms in two mens' laps and tried desperately not to touch their crotches for several hours.The guys who did the henna were damn good, though it was on the expensive side. The patterns were insanely intricate and they were so quick at laying them out it was a pleasure to watch, even for Aisha (less of a pleasure to have done due to odd angles, exposed arms, cool, wet henna paste and the cold day - Tess' arms were numb for an hour afterwards!). After the guys misheard Aisha's statement about 'just waiting' for Tess, they decided that he was 'just wedding' her instead, so gave Tess a wedding design and commenced a whole amusing dialogue about our proposed 'wedding' when we got back to Australia, although Tess couldn't come up with a date when pressed. In a surefire indicator of matrimonial bliss, when asked whether it would be a happy marriage Aisha replied warily,
"I hope so." Don't worry, the doghouse is set up outside the back door for when we get home! The whole thing took a couple of hours in the end, but we enjoyed wiling away the time chatting to the guys.
So now its time to pack up our bags. Wrap up this blog and get excited to see you all back in the sunny (or thunderstorm & flash flood-y) land of Australia, where everyone ignores each other politely on the street and you can brush your teeth with the water that comes out of the tap. And you know what? Tame as it is and lame as it makes us? We're kinda looking forward to it.
Love you guys. See you soon.
Tess & Aisha
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