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February 12, 2020 / catherinebwrites

1. INDIA – CULTURE SHOCK

We arrived in Delhi at night. The taxi drive to our hotel was slightly hairy but we got there.

Next morning we pulled back the curtains to see buildings and roads below us. And monkeys leaping about on a flat roof. Ahhhh… cute. We were close to Connaught Place which, on the Internet, looks like a colonaded circle of shops in beautiful down-town Delhi. We decided to go for a stroll, get a sense of the place, drop in somewhere for coffee.

Whoosh… the instant we step outside the hotel, we’re surrounded by men “Taxi sir?” “Tuk-tuks, sir?” “How long in India Sir?” “Where you from?” “Where you from Sir?” “Where you from?”

“We just want to walk”

“Walking dangerous.” “Many pick-pocket.” “I show you market.” “First time in Deli?” “Where you from?” “Where you from?” “Where you from?” “Shop here very expensive” “No good quality, wash once and fading.” “I show you cheap market, very good quality not fading.” “Where you from?” “Where you from Sir?” “Where you from?”

“We just want to walk”

“Walking dangerous.” “Many pick-pocket.” “I show you market.” “First time in Deli?”

And then you realise they’re all men. There’s an occasional woman sweeping the pavement outside a shop or hawking fruit but everywhere men. Groups of men outside shops, at every street corners, standing around tuk-tuks, leaning on pillars, sitting on steps reading books, sitting on walls typing on tablets. No women.

The pavements are broken and splattered with who knows what. The traffic is manic. Dogs wander about, there’s an occasional cow. Crossing the street is taking your life in your hands. A man steps off the pavement into the melee of metal, holds out his hand out to the traffic and waves you across. Miraculously, the traffic let’s you squeeze through. You reach the opposite pavement with huge relief and it starts again. Men appear. They give each other a chance to make a spiel and when one peels away the next takes his place.

“Walking dangerous.” “Many pick-pocket.” “I show you market.” “First time in Deli?” “Where you from Sir?” “Where you from?” “Where you from?” “Shop here very expensive” “No good quality, wash once and fading.” “I show you cheap market, very good quality not fading.” “Where you from Sir?” “Where you from?” “Where you from?”

Sir thought that everyone was out to rob us. I thought that maybe they were just being friendly but that was a hard line to mantain. I conceeded that they were out to earn a few rupees. But, with the best will in the world, it was getting too much.

We retired to our hotel and lay down. And breathe…

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