Thursday, August 13, 2009

Heat and Dust

As I looked down on New Delhi there was a pall of pollution hanging over the city but the hotel was splendid and palatial and we were greeted with necklaces of fresh marigolds. We were a small group of ordinary people – some more seasoned travellers than others; two Canadian ladies had experienced a grizzly bursting into their cabin and to their relief bursting out the other side and Marion a small stout widow with a hacking cough had had an awful nose bleed in Peru.


We travelled by train and plane but mostly in an air-conditioned coach. Ganesh was our very skilful driver and Haresh was our guide, mentor and Daddy for the trip. There was a large fridge on board so we never ran out of bottles of ice cold water. Haresh taught us the greeting: Namaste (sounds like no mistake) which you give with head bowed and hands together as in prayer.


We must not give money to the children but could give biros and shampoos etc from the hotel bathrooms. As well as the touts and beggars we would be approached by people who would claim to be a teacher asking for money for the children but we should say we donate at the hotel. We mustn’t haggle with the hawkers as this could put Harish in danger. Any negotiations should be done through him when we were safely on the coach. Some of the hawkers were quite frightening giving murderous looks so it was better to say nothing.


16 comments:

R. Sherman said...

Thanks for inviting us along.

Cheers.

Scarlet-Blue said...

I'm feeling sorry for Marion. Did she have any more nose bleeds?!
Sx
I am a fan of your details!

john.g. said...

Sounds awful! Like London!

PI said...

Randall: did you remember your anti malarial tablets?

Scarlet: I felt sorry for her also. Her husband had been a depressive and she lost a grandchild to leukaemia. Towards the end of the trip she was very chesty and I think in fact she was border line fit to travel abroad but what had she to lose and it gave her great pleasure.

John.g: we 're both a pair of country bumkins:)

Leah said...

What Scarlet said--you are very very good with the details. This is great, thank you so much! For words and photos.

And by the way--I just adored your recent post, "Bliss," it brought a few tears to my eyes...

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

I once worked with a dizzy young blonde. One day we were talking about travel, and she said she would like to go to India. When I asked her why, she replied: "I'd like to see the slums".

No comment!

PI said...

Leah: the pleasure is mine:) Thank you.

Daphne: unbelievable!

Charlie said...

I agree with the group: great detail and photos, Pat.

You'd be lost without a camera.

Edelweiss Transplanted said...

Lucky you had the fridge with ice water. Sounds just like the climate here for the past week. I'll take the gray skies over that anytime, thanks!

The Namaste greeting is lovely, and the necklaces. Some people think marigolds smell awful, but I like them -- reminds me of childhood.

PI said...

Charlie: I graduated to a camcorder but found it so intrusive it really interfered with my enjoyment of whatever I was doing, so it's back to the camera.
BTW I've just ordered 'The Convicts' from Amazon.

Edelweiss: I suspect your hygiene and public facilities are rather superior to the ones we had on the road. The hotels were quite lush.

Z said...

Harish wanted negotiations to be done through him so that he got commission - hawkers expect to be haggled with. That was the reason for the murderous looks! However charming and genuinely protective they are, Indian guides etc aren't well paid and receive their money well in arrears, so rely heavily on tips and commission and are experts at getting the most they can - he appealed to your protective streak in saying that he'd be in danger.

lom said...

Pat I am a little confused, (but there's nothing new there), are you in India now?

Guyana-Gyal said...

It's true, people go to India to see the SLUMS. I can't believe it. I hope it does some good.

India, from what I've heard, varies in look, style, personality, character, depending on where you go.

My cousin's son studied in some way out place and he says it's different. He wanted to stay.

I want to go to Pondicherry. And Outi.

Here's an Indian blog...http://cloudcutter.blogspot.com

PI said...

Z: in fact in one notorious hawkers place I disregarded Harish's advice and had a most unpleasant experience and escaped to the coach with difficulty feeling quite ashamed of myself. I learned to trust Harish implicitly as we all did and had reason later to be very thankful for his help. We certainly wouldn't begrudge anything he made and we were happy to make sure he was rewarded at the end of the holiday for his invaluable service. I can only quote from my own experience and maybe Harish was a one off.

PI said...

LOM: I'm here in the west country honey:) India was 2000.

GG: I'd like to got Outi. We could have gone on to Kerala but after a bad bout of sickness it's probably as well we didn't. Thanks for the Indian blog . I'll potter over later. I'm all behind today:)

lom said...

heehee, silly me, I thought I had missed something!