Friday, April 8, 2011

Mayhem

I don't know how else to describe our first "real" taste of India as anything but mayhem.  Sure, we had seen some sights, survived the metro, navigated a few markets and confronted touts in bustling Connaught Place (see our next post for more information).  But it probably wasn't the best idea to head into the heart of Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk, at night - hungry, tired and more than a little bit stressed-out (more on this tomorrow, too). 

The photos hardly do it justice, so you'll just have to imagine us making our way down narrow streets, constantly shoved back and forth among the people, bicycles, motorbikes, cars, trucks, motorcycles, auto-rickshaws, bicycle-rickshaws, beggars, dogs, cows, goats and street vendors all vying for the same tiny bit of space, while trying to dodge outdoor food stalls, smoking hot charcoal grills, meat hanging from hooks, steaming pots of chai, rickety tables laden with goods, blankets spread out on the ground also laden with goods (or with sleeping people, or with crippled people), cow shit, piles of trash, outdoor bathrooms, small children, and basically anything else you can think of.

Approaching a solid mass of humanity

Rules of the road: Biggest wins.

I wish I could say that there seemed to be an underlying order to the chaos, but there did not.
 
Dave using one of the ubiquitous outdoor urinals.
Not pictured: The smell.
Also not pictured: The restaurant directly across the street (who would eat there?)

  
Emergency "sanity stop" in McDonalds.
It was cheaper for us to buy a combo meal with a McVeggie than to simply buy a soda and fries,
and I have to say - the McVeggie was pretty good. Sort of like a cross between a veggie burger and falafal. 
When we had finally had enough, when we couldn't take it any more, we hailed a bicycle-rickshaw.  Climbing into the seat a mere three feet above street level, the whole thing magically transformed into the bustling (but not overwhelming), interesting (in a good way) market we had been hoping for.  So our most important advice to future visitors of Chandni Chow at night: let a bicycle rickshaw drive you around!

All of our Delhi photos are available here.

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