Delhi: Step by Step

The best thing I’ve found in Delhi so far are my hosts here at Safe and Cozy Bed and Breakfast in Defence Colony. The B&B is family-run through AirBnB, and in fact has only one or two rooms, a true micro operation. The room itself is not too remarkable, but it is indeed safe and cozy, spacious and clean, with all the amenities you could ask for.

But the real treasure here is the family that runs it. Each morning I look forward to breakfast with Vinod, the retired father of the family, who has been the soul of hospitality, offering intelligent, congenial conversation, all kinds of information and advice on the city, and much practical assistance, such as providing me with a preloaded metro card for my use. His adult daughter, Vandana, who manages the online side of things, was also very proactive in arranging rides from the airport and warning me about the present currency crisis.

This latter was my overriding concern yesterday. Being forewarned that money from ATMs might not be readily accessible, I brought along a decent amount of American currency to exchange as necessary. Yesterday, though, I discovered that it wasn’t much help: all the foreign currency exchange places were also out of rupees.

Obviously this leaves me in a bad spot. This was further complicated when I found that my credit card was declined (after eating a rather expensive lunch on the notion that I could pay for it that way). The credit-card issue was easily resolved (though I did have to wait until night to call the bank, due to the time difference), but the cash issue isn’t going away until more money gets into distribution. Fortunately, Vinod has contacted his own currency-exchange guy, and it seems promising that today (Friday) I should hear back regarding it. I’m crossing my fingers.

My main outing for the day was to the Baha’i Lotus Temple, a remarkably shaped building in the form of an unfolding lotus, placed at the end of a large park. It was thronged with tourists, especially buses of schoolkids. Some of the older boys asked if they could take a selfie with me, in fact mobbed around me laughing while I stood there grinning foolishly. No worries, but what’s up with that, anyway? Is it like a joke?

 

Inside the temple was a vast open space, formed by a complex structure of interlocking arches. The Muslim-style prayers were very beautiful, the echoes seeming to ring endlessly.
After the aforementioned lunch, I returned to Safe and Cozy, and here jet lag caught up with me. I probably should have kept going through the afternoon – there are about a thousand other places to see – but with my cash running low, I gave into fatigue and slept.
This was probably a mistake, since it’s now 3 a.m. and here I sit writing, unable to sleep. Turns out jet lag’s a real thing.
Lastly, my phone seems to have contracted a virus, with Chrome periodically redirecting me to crap websites. Not sure how it happened, or necessarily how to get rid of it short of wiping the whole system, which I have no desire to do while travelling. Hopefully it isn’t stealing all my personal info too. :/
I head to Varanasi tomorrow night on the train. Hopefully as I go along these little problems will resolve themselves rather than worsen…

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