Date: 5th November 2017
One more day in Delhi before we fly home. We are in a pretty nice hotel right on the street where I originally suggested. It is 10 minutes walk to New Delhi railway station in the middle of the hotel district and not far from a big market area. The hotel we were at first night was a long way from anywhere, so this one is much better. The Godwin hotel has a cool spiral central staircase.
Hotels are not for much more than sleeping in, apart from a refreshing beer on the rooftop – even though it was a Kingfisher – watching India Vs NZ on the big screen on the roof of the sister hotel over the laneway. So we could pretend to be Kiwis and see if we could stir them up a bit, we had really wanted to find a bar full of Indians watching the cricket, but there doesn’t seem to be such a thing, no matter which city we were in. The closest we came were little knots of men standing outside hotels watching the cricket on a screen in the hotel foyer, we couldn’t manage to get a rise out of them, they seemed puzzled, maybe that anyone would publicly admit to supporting New Zealand.
Connaught Circle is supposedly the place to go in Delhi, but on a Sunday morning there isn’t a lot happening at all. For some odd reason, the only street workers were people doing shoe polishing. There were loads of them and eventually Tiff gave into the constant exhortations to have his sandals cleaned.
In the middle of it a cop wandered over and started speaking quite sternly to the boy. It seemed that he wasn’t supposed to be working the area (the boy, not the cop). We tried to explain that Tiff’s sandal had broken (it hadn’t really) and the boy was doing us a favour by fixing it. He had actually sewn up something Tiff wasn’t even aware of, so it was a half truthful defence of the kid. Someone explained that the cop was bored and throwing his weight around. Have a close look at the home-made box, it was meticulous, even the way he stored his tools of trade.
Lonely Planet recommended a government run craft emporium, described as a rabbit warren of delights. I have never been a fan of these places, but this one was different. a) it was a rabbit warren of delights and b) the staff were on a no commission salary so they didn’t hassle you to buy at all. at.all! This is unheard of and a most pleasant way to shop. The staff were bored and happy to engage. While trying to find out where we could see a Bollywood movie we ended up in the store cash office (which had an open door) chatting and laughing with staff who had piles of money on desks.
Unfortunately my small backpack was full or I would have bought a complete household ensemble that would have certainly had heads turning at our next party. As you arrive for the event you would find The Sheila and me sitting on our comfortable swing.
Inside, your eyes will immediately be drawn to the inviting lounge suite that will put you completely at ease.
Apart from Dawne and Tiff, the table looks a little bare at the moment, but as you can imagine, with the right decorations it will be transformed into a conversation piece.
This time of the year, it is so easy to over do it at a party and we like to be responsible hosts, so feel free to spend the night in the guest’s room, you may not get a lot of sleep as the bed set is sure to get your senses racing – and look at all those anchor points on the bed head.
This stuff was way over the top, but the shop was huge and actually had some interesting stuff, though it was mostly very overpriced. How about this:
a 4′ x 6′ carpet was 101,229R, a steal at a little over $AUD2,000, last year I bought 6 carpets including one 10′ x 15′ for not much more.
Then it was off for lunch at Saravana Bhavan which is quite bizarre in a good way. Imagine the McDonalds retail model applied to an Indian restaurant in India. Brightish lights, clean tables, lots of them, loads and loads of uniformed staff who take your order on a touch pad. The place is crowded and there is lots of activity. The food is mainly dhosa and was wonderful.
The triangle shape is just because mine had been folded to keep the contents encased, it was as big as Tiff’s. But the dosa pastry is itself is like a crepe and not very substantial. It is the filling and sauces that makes it. As if to prove that they are just like a western formulaic restaurant, I wanted to try to make one and it was the first kitchen to not let us come in and play.
A final meal, I really wanted it to be in a typical Indian restaurant and there it was, right opposite the hotel. The food was great and forgetting our formula of number of dishes = (number of people – 1) meant we had a bigger variety and too much of it.
There is always time for a couple more Kingfisher beers (or were they G&Ts?) in the hotel rooftop restaurant before heading to the airport. Had they been Hayward 5000 beers we might have had a more altitude adjusted outcome, but it was a nice way to end the day and our trip to India.
Thanks Godwin Hotel for letting us leave our bags for the day and then giving us a room to shower in before we went to the airport on the shiny metro for only 60R each to catch our 2200hrs flight.
There was one last delightful surprise. Airports are pretty bleak places as a rule. Yes, the architecture has improved, but they have hard seats and too much duty free stinky perfumes. We were sitting in one of the too hard seats when Dawne came quickly towards us, “You’ve got to come and see this” and took us to an upmarket shop.
Forgive that the video starts with my camera sideways, it is a bit of a weird angle that I correct. I was going to edit it to trim the sideways section, but I think it is worth keeping all the content, besides it is kind of an interesting angle.
I don’t recall the name of the instrument, it started with M, it is has 22 strings and is obviously related to the sitar. The top 4 strings are plucked, the rest vibrate as a drone. I could have sat and watched these guys for hours…but our flight called :o(
One more day left, in Kuala Lumpur…
Oh crap, I left out the movie…I knew we did something that afternoon. Will tell about that experience in the next post.