6 January, Delhi

This morning we checked out of our hotel and into a more affordable budget hotel. We made the most of breakfast at the first hotel by having two serves of croissants, pastries, toast and coffee. Praveen took us to see two hotels – the first of which was fine, however, the rooms had a lingering smell of cigarette smoke and the bed sheets looked like they’d seen better days. We settled on the second hotel which is pretty kitsch, with decorative pleather pillows and a disinfectant smell throughout. The main thing is that it’s clean and secure. After confirming the price we realised we probably should have bargained them down a little; a lesson for next time.

Once we’d checked in, Praveen took us to Connaught Place so Richard could buy some new jeans. Connaught Place is the official centre of New Delhi and was built in the 1930s under the British Empire. White Georgian buildings, inspired by those in the city of Bath, line an attractive circuit which encloses a large park. I imagine the buildings would have been pretty grand in their hey-day and they still have quite a strong presence due to their distinctive style. Unfortunately though it seems that there are constant ‘works’ going on along the footpaths. There appears to be an excessive amount of digging going on everywhere across the city really. I wonder if anything every actually get fixed or finished.

We were both pretty tired by the afternoon and ready to head back to the hotel to relax. Before saying goodbye to Praveen he said he would pick us up at around 7pm to take us to a ‘market’ in South Delhi. We were both so tired we just nodded in agreement and headed upstairs, not really thinking about where we would be going later in the evening. It took a long time to get out of the city because of the traffic, and by the time we got to our destination we realised that Praveen had in fact brought us to one of the city’s biggest malls. We have no interest in going shopping, especially at ‘could be anywhere’ malls, but our hunger and the cold propelled us inside to an (I’m ashamed to say!) western restaurant. We wandered around the monolithic mall for a while looking into the shop fronts of brands like the Body Shop, Zara, Levis, etc. etc., and left feeling pretty uninspired.

© Richard Munckton