Saturday, 4 March 2017

#2 'Money Temple'

After such an eventful first day in Delhi I was less enthusiastic about life the next morning.

Nodi knocked on my door and gently urged me out of my room by 10 am. He dropped me back at the booking office on his scooter where Trevor had spent the night smoking pot and watching the men gamble.

I waited for my itinerary to be printed which took ages. Whilst I was waiting I chatted to Trevor who told me he was going to be the world leader one day.

After having recently watched a lot of Louis Theroux documentaries I kept an open mind and probed a bit deeper despite my crazy alarm bells ringing. He explained he was studying politics and economics at university in Australia.

He'd had a vision when he was 17 of a symbol similar to yin and yang but different which he worked on until he had a visual depiction of the 'natural order of things,' with positives and negatives.

He showed me how it happened to look like a person with a head and a body and told me this was no coincidence. It was very complicated but it did make sense in a way. I was fascinated and asked him what he wanted to do with this knowledge and what his ideal outcome was. It may have come out a bit patronising but I was having difficulty keeping a straight face. He could tell I wasn't convinced.

He told me that it was a loaded question. People love to say that when they know you're a journalist especially when it's a perfectly valid question that makes them uncomfortable.

He said he wanted world peace and that he was going to be an advocate for this belief system. Brilliant.

Mr Travel Agent then suggested we go on another tour of old Delhi which I agreed to as I wanted to see the Red Fort.

After sitting in the Travel Agents for hours waiting for something to happen finally another man from Ireland came in and was convinced to go on a tour with us. I was relieved because I couldn't face spending any more one on one time with Mr 'Trevor from Australia.' I think the Irish guy also sensed Trevor was a bit crazy but he was new and fresh and enthusiastic about India as I had been the day before.

I let the two of them sit in the back of the taxi. I just couldn't figure Trevor out. He kept giving money to beggars yet said he had lost all his money. He seemed to think he was some kind of prophet and gushed over Gandhi when we visited a Gandhi memorial.

At the Red Fort in old Delhi we discovered Cannabis plants growing wild like weeds (ha ha) in the dried up moat. Brilliant line of defense I thought. Get your enemies so stoned they don't want to attack any more!

That day we also visited the spice markets by bicycle rickshaw. It was the Irishman's first day in India ever. Our rickshaw driver took us into oncoming traffic and Mr Irishman was finding it all spectacular which was quite hilarious.

The rickshaw driver was pointing out all the temples on the way and at one stage he pointed at a bank and said "money temple" with a big toothless grin. I caught the giggles after that. The joke took me by surprise and he was very pleased he had made me laugh so much.

That evening I was put on a train to Varanasi which is famous for being on the banks of the Ganges. I say 'put on the train' because amidst the chaos you are forced to pay a porter to help you find your train carriage. It takes a bit of getting used to relying on other people and then tipping as well when you are used to doing everything yourself.

I was quite exhausted by this stage so fell asleep on the train very early before food was even served.

I woke up a little while later to a boy presenting me a tray. In my sleepiness I presumed, embarrasingly, he was selling me something so shook my head and said no thank you. Then as my eyes adjusted I realised it was food, apologised and gratefully accepted it. The boy just stared at me like I was a complete moron. And rightly so.

After dinner I fell asleep again to the soothing motion of the train, hurtling towards the unknown, and the second day in India came to an end.
View from the spice markets into the streets below. March 1, 2017 - Old Delhi 

 Looking towards New Delhi. March 1, 2017 - Old Delhi
Spices for sale 

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