We headed out on our own for the first time in six weeks, just the two of us. We’d had warning from Dragoman that Delhi was on the highest level of terror alert, ‘Possible Imminent Attack,’ obviously linked to the Commonwealth Games. We used the assumption that terrorists tend to strike in the morning rush hour; 9/11, London, Madrid, all happened before 9:00am. We decided to wait until 10:30am before riding the Delhi metro system.
The metro was surprisingly modern, but shockingly crowded. A double queue formed at each door location, 50+ people long. The front two carriages were reserved for women only. Queue guards doubled as ‘pushers’ – forcing people onto the carriage so the doors could shut. Two or three trains came and went before we worked our way to the front of the queue. We were ‘pushed’ on and the doors closed. Each of us had six or seven people touching us, the only saving grace was that we were a good foot taller than anyone else on the train so we were out of the breath zone. Sarah fought her way forward and through into the women’s carriage where there was only a quarter of the number of people. She laughed and waved at me sandwiched between a mash of locals.
I survived the human stampede and we exited the station. Our next location was the Red Fort, one of Delhi’s highlights. As usual the security was tight, it was a bit intimidating having tripod submachine guns trained on you as you were felt up by the gate guard.
The Red Fort was nice to see but it was nowhere as nearly impressive as the Amber Fort or the Red Fort in Agra; there are a lot of coloured forts in India.
We were feeling pretty regal after learning all about the royalty and wanted to experience a Maharaja for real, so we headed to Mackers for a MacMaharaja burger. It was hmm hmm good!
We’d read about one of the biggest mosques in Asia so thought we’d go take a look.
We had a fight with a guy at the first gate who wanted to charge us 200 INR to take our camera in. We walked round to the other gate and had another fight with a guy who wanted to charge us to go in even though we knew it was free entry.
We smuggled the camera in and managed to take a few snap shots out of pure protest. The view from the top of one of the huge minarets was amazing but it was a little too high for me so I didn’t hang around.
We went for another scrum on the underground.
Our hotel was pretty and cool and half the price of the tour hotel.
We all met up in the evening for an end of night drink, we found a great little place that we very Indian but somehow reminded me of an English pub. We said our good-byes to the group.