My Poor Arse and Round Two in Delhi
I was sad to leave the village, as I’d gotten so used to the security and safety of it all, and really got on with everyone, and just wasn’t ready to be alone again if I’m honest.. they threw me a really sweet leaving party and we had chicken and whiskey and special chapattis which was all rather a big deal, and they gave me a ring I think as a good luck present… they’d even given me a special Indian name- ‘Chad-ni’ which is Hindi for ‘moon.’ (Because apparently I have a big round white face like the moon which is good.. instills confidence, positive self image is flourishing etc..) On the leaving morning Mr Verma walked me to the bus stand and put me on the right bus, and he came in the new wellies I’d brought him as a gift, which he was well pleased with- he came striding into the living room with them on just beaming at everone.
Anyway the bus was just horrible- the worst I’ve ever been on… it was like one of those crappy single decker Preston ones- imagine being on one of those for TWENTY THREE HOURS except it was WORSE because it was hotter and full of Indian men who just stared at me every time we got off for the toilets. Which was only twice- the rest of the time the driver just stopped in the middle of some jungly area and everyone got off for some tea and a piss on the side of the road. Except me, obviously.. This resulted in me being severely dehydrated for fear of drinking anything, and the road was so bumpy I got thrown seevral feet in the air at regular intervals, and on a particularly bad throw I smacked my head on the metal wall and now I have a massive bruise.
The people however seemed much friendlier in general on this one than the last one and the man next to me who was sat with his family kept catching my shoes when they rolled under the seat. When they sent this plate round with the special paste they dot on their heads (apparently that has something to do with karma) he offered it to me as if this was normal, but I passed up the offer because I thought I’d look like a massive dick pretending to be a Hindu when I’m blatantly not one.
At the beginning of the journey they said something about a change which worried me, because I couldn’t tell the name of the place they were saying.. so I spent 12 whole hours in a state of panic wondering if I’d missed my stop, and just kept saying ‘Delhi?! Delhi?! To everyone I saw in a feverish manner. Then I realised that they were just changing drivers, which was a process that took about 4 hours, seriously… When we eventually rolled into Delhi I hobbled off with a bruised arse, and tried to get to a hostel I’d found in the Guide Book, which was no easy feat and I had to dodge about 6 touts to find it, and this was at 8am! It was horrible at that time, there were all these people sprawled out all over the pavements covered in flies, some looked as if they might actually have died, and one of the touts who attached himself (unsuccessfully mind, I stood my ground all the way) told me they were all drug addicts.
I have been busy today and think I’ve made some kind of breakthrough here (touch wood) as I seem to be fending off the touts and beggars rather succesfully. Went to the train station and booked my ticket for Udaipur tomorrow night, and hardly got any hassle which I wasn’t able to just ignore. It’s something to do with a certain kind of impermeable expression which you have to learn, and a particular tone to the way you say ‘NO!’ A kind of high panicked ‘no’ as if you’re no the edge and may become violent. Actually finding the station tomorrow which is in the Muslim Quater apparently and getting on the train may be a little more tricky..
After that I went to celebrate to myself in a nice air conditioned restaurant where I met this Japanese girl called Mayuko, and we went to the Gandhi Memorial together, which was nice but then she went off for a massage so I went to this hip and swinging area called Connaught Place and went for some more coffee at this fancy coffee shop.
And that’s where I met the MOST attractive man I have ever ever seen… He was like ‘oh can I sit here’ cus there were no other places, so I was like ‘er yes..’ and then he didn’t say anything for a while, and I thought yeah that figures, and just carried on with my book, but then he started chatting away to me as if I was as cool as him, and apparently he was from the Himalayas, which was shocking as I would have put money on the fact that he was western from his perfect English, cool clothes and just general mannerisms.
So he was telling me he was a trekking guide up in the mountains and I think he was gearing up to getting me on one of his tours, and I swear to god if I hadn’t already booked this train ticket I might have just gone. But when I told him I was leaving tomorrow night he just carried on talking to me anyway, telling me Udaipur was a really nice place and stuff, and then he said he was in Delhi getting supplies for one of his tours and he’d been sent for some medicine for one of the clients, and asked me if I could tell him what it was- so he pulled out this piece of paper and it had some latin name on it and then CHLAMYDIA in capitals underneath.. HAHAHA… I started laughing and he was like ‘what what is it..’so I had to explain to him that it was a sexually transmitted disease. His face was so funny, he was like ‘thank God you told me!’ Anyway, then he had to go, so he said goodbye, shook my hand and was out of my life forever…
I also met these two young Indian students who wanted to take me out for lunch but I’m not quite so stupid as to go off for lunch with two strange Indian men alone in Delhi…don’t worry… even though it /probably/ was all quite innocent. So they were walking down this street with me and I’m trying to veer off away from them but not wanting to be too rude, when this old guy grabs my arm and starts shouting ‘MA’AM MA’AM this is my shop, you come and look for free, you come and look ALONE, come in my shop ALONE you understand me, and started staring at me with this crazy wild look in his eye, and I didn’t know whether he was trying to warn me about these guys or whether he was just a nutcase, so I just threw the lot of them off and ducked into a subway…
See a few weeks ago this would have completely thrown me, but I’m getting used to the whole hassling thing now and am starting to quite enjoy being able to ignore people without worrying about being impolite.