XVIII: Smelly Delhi

The same reason why I don’t like living in London also applies to Delhi. Too many people, too much traffic, too much noise, etc. But at least London’s clean – the streets here are like pungent sewers, flies everywhere, stinkin’ stagnant water & huge piles of rubbish in the middle of the cow-crowded paths. This is not doing the mozzy bites I picked up in the Andamans much good – a month down the line & they have turned into gigantic puss flowing scabs! However, the place retains a certain charm & I have enjoy’d the narrow alleys between some cool looking buildings around the hotel where I’m staying. Its call’d the Diamond & my innate bagging ability got me a 400 rupee deluxe room (with marble bath) for 200 rupees, just by being cheekily ‘northern’ with the Manager.

It’s been a weird kinda few days in Delhi. Almost immediately on my arrival I came down with a sore throat, which I put down to the terrible, Dantean pollution. I’ve been constantly sucking strepsils for five days now. I’ve also been a bit fluey, so I’ve spent most of my time in the aforementioned deluxe room resting, sleeping & skimming thro’ the 60-odd channels. Most of them are in crazy Hindi, but the movie channels are cool, the footys on most of the time & I’m now hooked on Benny Hill – the guy was a fuckin genius. I’ve enjoy’d myself doing nothing tho’ – after 3 months hardcore trav’lin I appreciate the chillout – I can’t even remember the last time I’ve relaxed like this. My excursions have been restricted to the early mornings, before the day gets too hot (about 37 degrees). Day One saw me take in the parliament buildings, built by the British. They were cool enough but crawling with police – of course I gave them some banter & one guy was particularly unimpress’d when I persistently tried to buy his gun off him. Day two was a trip to the Red Fort, about 400 years old, very wide, grand & imposing & beautifully preserv’d – but closed on Mondays, tho’ I did enjoy the walk back thro’ a cleaner district. Yesterday was the best… I hired a rickshaw to take me 20 K south of the city where stands the ruins of Tuqluqabad. They were great! The empower Tuqluq decided to build a new capital (named after himself) which lasted until he died, when everyone pack’d up & moved back to Delhi, leaving the city to the decaying ravages of time. All that dwell there these days are bats & snakes. The view of Delhi from the battlements was pretty stunning, but my guide was gutted when I told him I’d spent all my cash on the rickshaw & entry fee.

All that brings me to today. In England I can usually shake off a bit of flu in a couple of days with a packet of lockets & some tasty pie, but if anything last night I felt worse, breaking out into hot sweats at regular intervals – so this morning I hit the doctors. He wasn’t around for a couple of hours but I did speak to him on the phone. I told him my symptoms & he ask’d if I was takin malaria tablets – I told him I hadn’t had any for a month & he told his assistant to take some of my blood. I’ve gotta go back tonight at 7.30 for the results & any medication I might need, after which I’m gonna catch a sleeper train to Rajasthan & the desert.

10/04/2002
Delhi

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