Saturday, April 3, 2010

Rickshaws in Delhi

To be honest, I did not like Delhi. It's a stressful, noisy, overpopulated and dirty city. The whole place is covered in a thick pall of smog. The streets are filled with mostly men, and a lot of them are shamelessly staring at women. Not a pleasant place to be.

Maybe my bad experience is also connected to our arrival. One of the first things that happened -- even before we reached the hotel -- was a taxi breakdown in the middle of a busy street. It was hot, dirty and uncomfy. And it seemed to take forever to get out of this straining situation.

Security controls are everywhere, at train and metro stations, hotels, restaurants, sights, you name it. The city seems very paranoid. On the other hand this is also very labor-friendly, as some of my Indian friends say. Well, I just hope that my negative films survived all this unavoidable x-raying...

The good sides of Delhi? One can see an endless number of rickshaws spread all over the city. The fares are very cheap too. For example, we were offered many rides from the train station to cheap hotels in Paharganj (a district nearby) for just 10 Rupees. That's roughly 0.17 EUR or 0.22 USD, which is also the rate for short autorickshaw rides.

As the city and streets are very busy, Delhi is also the first (and so far only) place in India where I have seen actual bicycle infrastructure -- bike lanes, traffic lights for cyclists and special parking. However, I wouldn't enjoy a bike ride there, I'm pretty sure about that.

Besides, apart from the "Blow horn" or "Please honk" texts often written on cars in Nagpur (see previous post), I saw more "Keep distance" messages in Delhi. And actually also a sticker on a single taxi that said "Please don't honk" with a picture of a little girl holding her ears. A message that should be heard quietly. Maybe then I would consider coming back.


Brent said...

I had a difficult time visiting India, too, some years back. I can relate to your ambivalence.

Velouria said...

Interesting. Most people I know who have visited India have praised it unconditionally, describing even the aspects that sounded quite bad to me as "good" just because this was India. In my view that is taking the idea of post-modernist subjectivity too far - so your perspective is refreshing.

Regarding film being x-rayed: If it's 1600 ISO or below, it should be okay... unless they have abnormally strong scanners! Looking forward to seeing your photos; I will be in Vienna again in late-June.

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