Last Day in Delhi (India Blog 29)

More Photography in Delhi (India Blog 29)

15 December, Saturday. 7:00 morning. Oh Man! Good sleep last night. I needed that. I was wise to stay one extra day here in Delhi. Otherwise, I would not have caught up on my sleep before the trip to Turkey.

I had some dreams, but do not remember any of them. That music stopped around eleven o’clock and it was okay after that. I thought it might go on later. One does not have the street noise here that one has in Kolkata. People just shout loudly on the street there.

I am going to try the area around the Jama Masjid this morning. First the mosque and then I will explore the area. I will use up all of the film that I have left.

So it will be back to Old Delhi today. I guess that I just cannot get enough of it. Actually, I think seeing Calcutta made me appreciate Delhi more.

5:00 Afternoon. That’s it. I made a day of it and I don’t think that I am going out again. I am on my last roll of film, the old expired colour film. I shot maybe half of that roll. I finished the black and white film in the Leica and two and a half rolls of colour in the Minolta. Altogether, I shot twenty-two and a half rolls. I am tired after going around all day.

Delhi is easier than Kolkata. Far less brutalizing, for sure.

In the morning, I took a rickshaw to Jama Masjid. I made pictures and walked from there. There are plenty of things to photograph besides the mosque.

A lot of the shops around the mosque are selling auto parts and even whole engines.

Finally, I went down into the bazaar which is actually part of Chandni Chowk. Saw several foreigners. Several couples were walking there. But most were travelling around in rickshaws. I suppose that it would be fascinating for them, but for good pictures, one really needs to be on their feet.

Back in those old ally ways, there are many old houses that were once upscale. Some have beautiful old doors. But now they are neglected and crumbling, like in the Kadife Kale area in Izmir, Turkey.

I shot off the film pretty quickly and finished the two and a half rolls of colour film. Then I finished the rest of the black and white film in the Leica.

Some rickshaw wallas are a little persistent, but nothing like that outfit in Calcutta.

Some of the small back lanes are treacherous now due to all the people dashing through there on motor scooters. One has to be constantly on alert and keep ducking into recesses, or getting up flat against a wall in order to avoid them.

Well, I had good energy, plenty of energy today. So that was good.

After I finished the film, around one o’clock, I decided to get back to the Connaught Circus area and have a beer.

I knew that I would lose the sun pretty quickly as the days were so short. If I hurried, I could get to India Gate and use that last roll of old colour film.

First, I had to have some lunch at Pind Baluch. I took a taxi to Regal Building and got into the restaurant. Ordered a Kingfisher beer. I ordered channa (chick peas). It was delicious, after the exercise in the morning. They give pretty big portions.

After the lunch, I walked back to the hotel and put the last old roll of film in the Minolta. I got a rickshaw to India Gate.

When I got there, I didn’t quite remember the orientation of the buildings and monuments. The India Gate is at the east end of that street, Raj Path. Rashtrapati Bhavan and Parliament is to the west. Parliament is just a little to the north of Raj Path.

I walked to the east toward India Gate as the sun was sinking fast. But it was still high enough for good pictures. I was surprised to see such a big crowd there. I do not remember seeing those crowds there in the past. Also they did not have the vendors all up and down the street, of sweets and various things to eat. But now there are many of them. The place is full of people wandering there.

After taking pictures of India Gate and the crowds, I walked back to the west. It is something like three kilometers to the west end where the President’s house and Parliament is.

A rickshaw guy wanted to take me there. I took it because the sun was going down rapidly and there was not time to walk. One cannot go all the way as there is a police barrier. But one could take pictures of the buildings from a distance.

Then the guy took me closer to Parliament building. It is closed off, but one can take pictures from a distance, near a fountain. It is good enough, unless one could actually go inside. I am sure that they do not allow that any more after the attack on parliament. It was in 2002, as I recall. I went to a conference in Bhopal just after that. It was a big blow to the security.

Some guys came along from Gurgoan, near Delhi. They started making their pictures with cell phones in front of the Parliament building. Then they asked me to join in the photo. Why, I have no idea.

Finally, I asked the rickshaw wallah to take me back to Regal Building. It was clearly time to hang it up for the day. The sun was sinking quite rapidly.

It was the last full day of the trip to India. And I enjoyed being back in Delhi again.

This morning at the hotel desk, I asked the clerk to please have them not tuck all the edges of the blankets under the mattress on the bed. One has to pull it all out in order to sleep. Anyway, I told them that one would have to be dead to lay flat there on the bed like that.

I never understood why all hotels do that shit.

Apparently, they did not get my message, because the blankets all got tucked in the same way again. The room cleaners must have standing orders to do it the same way every time.

8:30 evening. I have sorted my things out for the trip tomorrow. It has been a pretty good trip so far. Tomorrow should be the easy part. I will be glad to be going back on Turkish airlines.

Two weeks is long enough for a trip for photography where one is out in the streets every day. One probably gets a little tired, more than one realizes. But I am thankful that I had perfect health all the way through. I watched my food quite carefully to avoid problems with Delhi Belly.

Kolkata to Delhi on Jet Airways (India Blog 28)

Jet Airways from Kolkata to Delhi (India Blog 28)

What did I enjoy in Calcutta (Kolkata)? I cannot say that I enjoyed the people very much because I was not around the type that one could actually make friends with. I enjoyed the beer. That was delicious after hard pounding the streets with my cameras for several hours.

I enjoyed seeing the Howrah Bridge and walking across it and back.

I enjoyed taking pictures and using my Leica M6 and old Minolta SRT 101.

I enjoyed walking, even with all the obstacles.

I enjoyed seeing and riding in those old Hindustan Ambassador taxis, like something out of the 1950s. Those old, quite solid, cars are fun.

I enjoyed the food generally, not eating meat, I think, hardly at all. The taste and spices in Calcutta are somewhat different than in the north.

I enjoyed seeing some of the historical record of the British in India here, like St. John’s Church, and of course South Park Street Cemetery.

At 5:07 in the morning the first call to prayer is going down from a mosque.

I enjoyed the visit to the Victoria Memorial and the people there were not harassing one for money. They were just friendly and wanted to make their pictures with you. That was nice, and I felt friendly toward them. I enjoyed taking photographs there.

In Delhi, I enjoyed seeing more of the old areas that I had seem before, like Pahar Ganj and Chandni Chowk.

I enjoyed seeing the old places in Connaught Circus like that old Kwality Restaurant and the old corner where the old Bobby’s was.

I enjoyed seeing the Red Fort again and getting some pictures of it from different angles.

And, I generally enjoyed the flights, except for having a hurting butt and the pushy crowds and sometimes rude people.

So I have to say that there have been many things in the trip that I have enjoyed.

I was happy that the telephone connections to Turkey worked quite well so it was easy to communicate.

6:20 Got a Shower, Shave, Shit.

I will get out of here before long.

I have to be organized, organisized. Get my organs sized. That makes travel a lot easier for sure, and helps make it go smoother.

I will be getting out about 6:45.

2:50 Afternoon. New Delhi. The plane was late. And then the traffic in Delhi was terrible all the way to Connaught Place.

I will rest up a little and go eat. I will use up the rest of my film tomorrow. I am happy to be out of Cal and back in Delhi.

I got out of the hotel in Calcutta a little before seven o’clock. Ali got a taxi for me to the airport. A young driver brought me to the airport. It was a more modern car than those old Hindustan Ambassadors.

On the way, I saw some things that I had not seen before. Man! It would take a long time to see all the interesting sights in Calcutta. There were some interesting things that I wish I had known about earlier. I wish I had seen these areas.

First was the chicken market that we came through. Hundreds of chickens in coops and being made into meat. A little farther up on the same street, it became the fish market. I could not see much of it, but they had the fish laid out in the ground on a cloth of some kind. There was no ice or anything like that. A little farther were the coconuts market. There were piles of them all down the street. I think it was a sort of wholesale place for them.

I wish that I had seen these places earlier as they were great for photography. I missed these markets totally!

After a lot of dodging traffic, we finally came to the airport. It is farther than I remembered when I landed here. And the driver took a totally different route.

I had to go through the airport security again. They make me take off my shoes every time. That makes me think that the shoes I am wearing are very good shoes. Perhaps they have some metal in them. But I need them for pounding the streets.

The flight to Delhi was okay, but it was crowded. The airline was putting some pressure on passengers to upgrade to business class. They wanted 100 US dollars for it. It is not very small money. They said it was an eighty percent discount. I don’t believe that. I would probably feel too much like a bourgeois babu sitting up there with all the lemons. So I thought that it was not worth it. I saved my one hundred dollars. But they made me pay for it in a way.

The seats are quite small. This young dunce of a guy came next to me. I had the window seat on the starboard side of the plane. I was just three rows back from business class.

It was the second time that I got a crude asshole like that next to me on Jet Airways. I couldn’t get lucky enough to have a decent person in the next seat.

I am not asking for a pretty girl, just a decent person. Should not be too much to ask for.

After we took off, this guy went to sleep and started snoring quite loudly. And this made it more crowded, since he would not take off his jacket. The guy snored. Slept and snored loudly. What a bore!

Then the food came and we got a snack. And some chai. That was good. But this guy kept snoring.

After the food was finished, this guy woke up and opened up his own food from a bag that he brought on board. It was smelling to high heaven. It was a sort of egg sandwich, it seems, but then he broke out another one full of achar, a real strong smell of achar (Indian pickles). It surprised me that the airline allowed someone to do that. And the flight back to Delhi was longer, since there was no tail wind. Anyway, I got through okay and got my bag.

But while coming out of the plane, I told one of the stewardesses about that incident. I said that I didn’t think that it was a good idea to let people bring their own food onto the plane. I asked if this was Punjab Roadways.

5:10. I went and had some food at that Punjabi Restaurant, Pind Baluch. That place is doing very well. It is full in the late afternoon.

Back to the plane. The stewardess said that people could bring some food onto the plane, like a sandwich.

The taxi was okay, but the traffic was so heavy that it took more than an hour to get to the hotel. Glad to be back in Delhi. Quite a bit cooler here than in Kolkata. It surprised me. Everybody here was wearing jackets or sweaters. It is a big difference from Kolkata. I just went out with a shirt and felt cold.

10:00 Evening. Took a nap. Felt a little cool in the room. The room seems to be right on top of some discotheque and more noisy than the one I had before.

I will finish up taking pictures tomorrow. Need sleep tonight.