I’m now in Delhi, a 1 hour 45 minute flight away from Mumbai – it’s really green! Who knew?
Yesterday was a full-on day of sightseeing which I had organised for myself as the Ginger is off doing work things which would be boring for me to be in on and anyway I’m not invited.
Now, as a cling-on I have no say in the hotel situation and the Maurya in Delhi is very nice but it’s not a patch on the Taj Lands End in Mumbai. They may never get me out of that place! I seriously consider it “home”.
But I’m not here for the hotel. Yesterday I started in old Delhi with a visit to the amazing Jamma mosque, built in 1650, and far more beautiful than I was by the time a little man had dressed me in a colour I would not choose for myself.
UP to 25,000 can pray here although I don’t know how because it is COOKING in Delhi – well beyond 40 degrees C. After the mosque my guide Sunil and I jumped on a rickshaw and this poor boy about the size of my arm took us through the market streets in the old town.
True, he didn’t go very fast. But also true, I’ve had lunches bigger than his whole body so I tried to think thin to help him out a little.
We rattled through narrow streets where the power lines looked like balls of wool that had been mauled at by kittens. Scary! One lane was the sari market, another the book market, another the wedding market, another the wedding invitation market. Yes, weddings are big business in these parts.
Next we went to Raj Ghat where Ghandi was cremated – it’s in a gorgeous park and an eternal flame burns there. I asked Sunil what Ghandi would think of modern India and he gave it the big thumbs down.
Next we visited Humayun’s Tomb, a deeply impressive structure that apparently inspired the Taj Mahal (where I’m headed today). Those 16th century Indians sure went to a lot of effort to house their dead.
To be honest, by now I was so famished I could eat a tomb. We’d had to get up at 4.30am to get our flight from Mumbai and had skipped breakfast and now it was past 2pm.
I asked Sunil if perhaps we could get a samosa or a naan bread and he said he would have to think about that and in the meantime would I like a nice cold Kingfisher beer?
Actually I am not much of a beer drinker but the word “cold” appealed and thinking this would tide me over till my samosa, I sat in the back of the van sipping it. This is quite a good way to travel as it happens.
However, instead of going to the samosa emporium we went to a shop full of expensive clothes and nick nacks, none of which I wanted to buy, but one of which I found myself haggling for. Although is it really haggling when you don't want to buy it?
I did fall in love with the most beautiful pashmina that you could pass through the middle of a ring it was so fine but at first the salesman told me it was $500 at which I dropped it like a hot potato. Then he did a complicated series of calculations on his giant calculator and the price came down to $350, then $330 with some pretty little coin purses thrown in.
He was just giving me his final spiel on the quality and great beauty of the item when I obviously sobered up enough to remember that I didn’t want to be shopping in the first place.
Sunil looked shocked that I was leaving without a purchase and even when I was sitting in the car begged me to reconsider but after I saw him winking at the driver I toughened up.
I’m not saying he starved me and liquored me up so that I would $pend but it felt a bit that way.
What he didn’t know is that I am a Lynch and a Lynch will take something large you can eat over something small you can wear any day of the week.