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Indian Travels: The Day of Holi

Indian Travels

Day 2 – The Day of Holi

Indian music is annoying in two ways: it is definitely annoying and also it’s annoying that you like it!

Jackson Pollock would have had a field day today: paint everywhere…..vivid orange, red, purple, green, yellow and blue!  All due to the fact it’s the festival of Holi and the Indians celebrate by throwing paint (powdered) at each other (and unsuspecting tourists).  Holi is an ancient Hindu festival which signifies the victory of good over evil and when people celebrate the beginning of spring, play and laugh, forgive and forget AND chuck paint at each other! Anyone is fair game; no one is safe from this crazy paint throwing!

At the beginning of the day, we did not fancy going out and risking it, so we thought we would just play it safe and simply go into the hotel reception to use the computer…and then I found the security guard coming towards me up the stairs giggling then he chucked a load of paint at us!

The Security Guard, my father and I

After that, we thought this could be fun – let’s go out and have some more of this!!    We decided to go to India Gate. Sure enough, we were attacked again.  Everyone was laughing and having a really good time. Now we were getting more of a multi-coloured look.  We then walked to Connaught Place (the main financial and business centre in Delhi)  On the way, we were approached by a man with a basket who then sat down in front of us, lifted the lid on the basket to reveal a cobra in full strike mode. The guy asked me to hold the basket and then put a very small pathetic-looking snake around Dad’s neck. We asked a passing soldier (!) to take some photos.

Me and my father with two cobra snakes!

In Connaught Place, a couple arrived in Tuck-Tuck and their daughter came over and gave Dad a real dusting of bright yellow and red on the side of his head. Children were getting involved in Holi in a big way – often throwing balloon water bombs and then hiding behind a wall and giggling and we kept getting hit by water balloons thrown by children. Then we eventually found our way back to the hotel and slept for the rest of the day!

On a more serious note, there is a sad reality in Delhi. There is such a large difference between the affluent and struggling areas of Delhi. The Connaught Place area actually had litter bins, zebra crossings, traffic lights.  All nice and green – and no sign of cows!

Anyway, I am going to sleep now, I am absolutely whacked and need to be on top form tomorrow as I am meeting Aspiration International who are picking me up at 10a.m. click here to read on about day 3 when I meet my first fair trade organisation. 🙂

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Indian Travels – the Trip Begins. Day 1: The Best Food Ever!

India Fairtrade – the Trip Begins…

Day 1: THE DAY OF THE SCAM, THE TUCK-TUCK RIDE & THE BEST MEAL EVER!

Wow!! What a start! We have not been here, in Delhi, for more than 20 hours but certainly a lot has happened!
We landed around 3a.m. Coming out of the airport we saw a pre-paid taxi stand. Thinking this was the way to avoid a well-known scam of being taken to the wrong hotel and where the owner pays the taxi driver for delivering potential customers to him, we approached the taxi rank. We were staying at Aerocity Hotel, but had been warned in advance that the driver might take us instead to Aerocity Hotel Inn. The driver said, however, that he would take us to Aerocity Hotel.

Aerocity Hotel in Delhi, India
Source: https://www.cleartrip.com

I did not trust him though, but it was 3am and it’s not always easy to have your wits about you at that time! Our hotel, The Aerocity was 7Km away, but we were there straight away – which seemed suspicious… and, sure enough, the driver had taken us to the Inn. Both of us were livid! My father got really angry telling him to drop us off or go back to the airport! I got my phone out to check the time and Dad said, “That’s right, Sam – call the police!” I thought that was a good idea (?!) but couldn’t get reception. Then the driver was saying, “No problem, no problem. I find it. I need time.”

Eventually he delivered us to our hotel and asked for his money. We weren’t having it and jumped out and got the bags from the boot, arguing with him all the time and walked into the hotel. We told them what had happened, the taxi driver came in and everyone was arguing in Hindi and English. They said they would upgrade our room and we started to walk up. I turned round to see the taxi driver standing in disbelief and Dad (now truly jet-lagged and almost with smoke coming out of his ears) shouting, “You are pathetic! PATHETIC!!”

We then collapsed into our beds and slept for a few hours. When we woke up, Dad asked if I wanted a drink. I said yes, so he went outside to buy one. He was away for over an hour! Apparently, coming back he missed the hotel and walked for a mile trying to find it!

The view of Streets from outside our hotel

We then took a taxi to our next hotel in the centre of Delhi, the Pearl Hotel. The roads are crazy! You can almost smash into cows walking along the road, there are people selling flowers to the drivers at traffic lights and people cycling pulling carts of overflowing with planks of wood!

The Busy Streets in Delhi, India

At the Pearl Hotel we had lunch on the roof. I had chicken curry with garlic naan bread which was the best meal ever! Things were definitely looking up! Dad just watched the pigeons!
Then we went to the market in a Tuck-Tuck which was FUN! I was almost banging into cars! The market was a bit boring, nothing interesting was being sold, but everyone came up to you, all smiling and happy, trying to sell products and services. We either ignored them or took the mick (I did anyway) e.g. someone asked if I wanted money exchanged. I held out my hand and said 1 million rupees. He said, “Sorry, sir, I don’t have that much” and walked away! Bit harsh.

Riding a Tuck-Tuck in an Indian Market

At the end of the day we went back to the hotel and were unaware that we would wake up in the middle of the Holi festival, read day 2 to find out more!