Writing from: A Pushkar internet cafe burning too much incense coughs
In and out of Delhi again, and I find it hard to like. The tourist area we stay in is dusty, dirty, and crusty round the edges. The constant hornblare, the loudspeaker drone and fanfares of all-night public announcement being piped into the streets, cycle rickshaws near-missing your ankles and toes, tasteless but expensive (in comparison with other places) meals in too cold posh restaurants where uniformed doormen ‘namaste, sir/madam’ (hello) you boredly, suave and sly smooth-talking touts accosting you around the Western-flavoured marble-floored ring of shops that is Connaught Place, the CCTV of Rak International Hotel recording you as you sign the register. Not much to fall in love with.
M and I did take a minute in our fly by to visit the Red Fort though, and while it wasn’t as impressive as the guide book cracks it up to be, here are some bits I liked:
The finger-winged birds of prey gliding above the immense orange-red outer wall.
The rust red archways cut into ceilings that looked like bite marks in cheese (how I miss real cheese).
Crazily flapping ultra-green parrots, with shiny red beaks, flying across flower-inlaid white ceilings or peeping beadily from ancient cracks in the brickwork.
The flick and flurry of whole handfuls of brave and bushy chipmunks leaping from side to side of the water channels crisscrossing the quiet lawns of the fort gardens.
A giggling river of powder blue school saris flowing down a red-pillared corridor.
A cry of “Beeeeeeeeeeeeeard? Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeard?” outside the fort, that stopped us in our tracks and ended with us haggling for fake facial hair with a small boy who assured us he paid at least 25 rupees whenever he bought his.
So onto the camel-infested lands of Rajastan for us, and a five-hour train to Jaipur, the Pink City…