Two New Yorkers spend six months 18 months!?! in Bangalore and other places in India.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Quick Judgments

For what it's worth, here are our first impressions of Delhi. This is definitely the big city -- a little more like New York than Bangalore. Lots more bookstores, since it's India's center of publishing. It seems louder, although maybe that's because our hotel faces the Ring Road highway. Prices are slightly higher. The rickshaw drivers want more money and are less willing to bargain. Every single one of their meters are broken -- no idea how that happened -- so it's a little hard to know what a "fair" price is. The hotel is in Lajpat Nagar, in South Delhi, so the touristy places are a great distance away.

I walked through Connaught Place on Saturday and felt completely drained by the end. Designed by the Brits to be enormous and impressive and ROUND, this complex of stores forms a bulls-eye that every tourist must evitably head toward. Little kids who want to shine your shoes, craft store owners who would like nothing better than to drop what they're doing and 1) tell you not to drink the water (good to know!), 2) show you where the tourist office is (it's where the maps say it is) and 3) . . . maybe you'd like to look at some crafts? And of course other people whose may have just been friendly. In the end I collapsed in the arms of an old friend, the Barista coffee chain, and sat listening to a Canadian guy explain to his dehydrated girlfriend the wonders of Edward Said. That didn't exactly perk me up, but the coffee did.

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