Christiane has kindly allowed me to translate her blog entries about her recent trip to India.
Delhi (Original German text) – be sure and check the original for the photos.
I didn’t have the time or the opportunity to blog from Delhi. The internet connection was bad and kept dropping. I’ve been back in Germany since this morning, and am happy to have gotten back home safe and sound.
Delhi is really different from the south of India. While in Bangalore people were curious and happy to talk, in Delhi it’s all about money. Even in the airport someone was constantly wanting to push me somewhere (without asking, of course) in the hope of being paid. A friendly “no, thanks” had no effect. I had to holler at them, or shove them away. It was unpleasant, but otherwise I would have been constantly pushed around.
We stayed at the Ashok Hotel. There were armies of waiters, but I couldn’t tell what they were actually doing. My room was accessible, but the bathroom was pretty dirty – cigarette butts lying around and no hot water. The TV didn’t work, either. In front of the hotel was a ramp with about a 30% angle. The pages pushed me up and down, a dangerous proposition. In the evening I bribed a worker to activate the WLAN in my room, so that I could at least file my article.
On Friday we toured Delhi, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised: the government district was spic and span [image], there are beautiful parks [image], historical sites and manicured tombs of the Moguls [image]. The historic sites are all accessible, with tasteful ramps made to look like ancient stone [image]. In a country full of barriers, it’s the historic places that are accessible. You have to pay an entrance fee, more for foreigners than for locals [image].
We also saw another side of Delhi: malnourished children who dance between the cars to earn money. Deathly ill people knocking on the car windows. Road accidents to which no ambulance comes. At the airport two English businessmen told me that their rikshaw driver was beaten by the polic because he let them get out in a no parking zone. Cows run around the highway – they are holy and may do as they wish. People try to cross the highway and are practically run over. Students who were in Agra told me they saw a bus knock over a scooter driver.
It seems the people in Delhi maintain no distance from each other. Cars practically touch as they drive. You’re always being jostled, grabbed. Many of the cars are about to fall apart. We took a taxi to the airport that had a backseat that was so used up, you were practically sitting on the floor. We had to persuade the taxi driver not to carry the wheelchair on the roof.
I’ll talk about the airport later.