And so we arrive in Delhi. It’s like everyone said it would be – absolute chaos! The image that sprang into my mind as we screamed our way through traffic to the hotel was that of two worker bees arriving back at the hive, after a lovely time in the countryside thank you very much, and being surrounded by a million other bees with deep tanned brown skin and childrens faces. There are lots of children in Delhi. In fact there are just lots of people in Deli.
The noise is constant: car horns mostly, buses and little green taxi’s who buzz around at a million miles an hour with no regard for safety. My number one bug bear! Most of them bear the scars of having rammed into each other at some point but after a while you suddenly get the feeling that they are conducting themselves into one giant game of musical chairs, except the music never stops and miraculously no-one ever seems to hit each other. Poverty is every where and the heat is overpowering. I saw a whole famiy sitting by the roadside grooming themselves and getting ready for the day, going through there own morning routine with meticulous attention to detail. I scanned over and saw another young man sleeping under a makeshift tarp in the middle of a dusty roundabout.
As we arrived in the busier part of New Delhi (If there is such a thing) our attention was immediately drawn towards a large crowd of people, the kind you get when someone is performing some magic or a piece of street theatre. Then you realise that the whole street is lined with similar large crowds, one after the other, and you just get sucked into it. There is no spectacle except for Delhi itself which is like a controlled demonstration on the brink of spilling over into a riot. It never does, it just keeps on going. And its only 8:20am. How is a sensible pragmatist like me going to handle this?
Well, I promised some good friends of mine that I would say ‘Yes’ to as many things as possible on this trip, but all I want to do now is lock the door of our hotel room with us on the inside. But thats’s not what this trip is about and we need to get out there and sample whats on offer. Apparently every traveller needs a philosophy, something to keep them going when it gets a bit too much. My hope is that during the next eight months we will learn, change and be changed through every experience we have (both large and small). Sounds a bit soppy and sentimental but I like the sound of it.