Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Delhi - Day Three

Today we decided to take some time out and see a few things on our own. We had heard alot about Connaught Place so we went to the metro station to get a ticket and venture to another part of town.

Upon entering the station the first thing we noticed was the soldier standing behind a bunker made of sandbags holding a very large gun. The second thing we noticed was the massive line up to purchase tickets. The third thing we noticed was the x-ray machines and the baggage scanner that you have to go through before you can get through to the gates. Needless to say, the security was impressive!

Once through to the gates we found our train and had a look around to see how organized/unorganized this process was going to be. We saw a few lines along the platform and went to join the shortest queue. Seconds later Luke was told to get into another line and that's when we noticed that there were only women in line ahead of us. There are certain cars on the train that are women-only as the cars get packed so full. There was no way I was going to get on without Luke, so I went into the general line with him.

The train pulled up and everyone immediately started pushing toward the doors. Once they opened a large crowd of people exploded from the car and threw themselves at all of us waiting. We were tossed around like nobody's business. After most everyone was off the train the queue surged forward as one, with everyone desperately clawing their way on. The doors closed and the lot of us were like sardines lined up and jammed in a can for pickling. As I was one of few women on this car, the men were trying their best not to smoosh into me. After about 10 minutes a man and woman got up to get off and offered us their seats. Luke and I declined as we were getting off in a few minutes but everyone around us insisted so we sat down. A few stops later and it was time for us to get up and make our way to the doors. We squished, ducked, and stepped on people until a gentleman noticed me and made the men around me move back and provide me with some space. Luke, on the other hand, was caught up in everyone like a bug in a spiderweb. The doors finally opened and chaos broke out again. We were violently shoved through the doors, with some poor girl waiting to get on getting her hand caught in the armpit of my t-shirt. As she pushed to get on, and I was shoved to get off, we got no where until someone finally pushed me so hard we separated.

Connaught Place was a large roundabout with shops lining the street circling it. We had heard that it was to be less busy and that there were more western-style bars, etc, but that was not the case. We wandered around for about an hour and then got back onto the train to go to Chandni Chowk market. We were not expecting what we saw when we stepped out of the metro station. We walked for about 10 minutes and got back on the train and out of there. At this point, our neighborhood of Karol Bagh was the best area we'd seen so we decided to head back there.

Once back in Karol Bagh, the gentleman from the travel agency came to our room to suggest a tour to us. Luke was itching to get out of Delhi so we opted to take the 3 night Golden Triangle Tour which left the next morning at 7am. The tour included full use of a car and driver for the three days - Delhi to Agra, Agra to Jaipur and Jaipur back to Delhi, shuttling to and from all of the sights and three nights accommodation. On the tour we would see Agra Fort, Taj Mahal, Amber Fort, and numerous other (beautiful) sights. We were looking forward to it!


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