New Delhi


After 20 hours with­out sleep, I was at my des­ti­na­tion: India, New Del­hi. It was ear­ly after­noon and although I was com­plete­ly exhaust­ed, I man­aged rel­a­tive­ly well to dig my way out of the air­port and find a cab. The old cab that I, as a nos­tal­gic per­son, des­per­ate­ly want­ed was uncom­fort­able and the dri­ver, as to be expect­ed, eager to drag me to anoth­er hotel than the one I had pre-booked. He failed and I arrived at Main Bazar Road, the dirty bustling neigh­bor­hood of back­pack­ers, with count­less bud­get hotels.

The hotel was not a good choice, but I lacked the ener­gy to look for some­thing bet­ter. I want­ed to final­ly lie down and get some sleep. I did not suc­ceed. So I got up again, walked around hap­haz­ard­ly, had my first good expe­ri­ence with Indi­an cui­sine and with King­fish­er, the beer, that cul­ture shock and strain even­tu­al­ly let me cope with, and as evening fell, my eyes final­ly fell shut in the shab­by hotel room.

I had no big plans for my short stay in New Del­hi. First of all, I want­ed to get into this strange and com­plete­ly unknown world. I tried to do that the next day with an exten­sive stroll in the cen­ter. The expen­sive cafes, restau­rants and stores did not seem too unfa­mil­iar to me. This was rather the place for the well-off soci­ety or youth and in con­trast to what I had seen of India in the first 24h (and should still see), a first stark contrast.

Pro­mot­ed by more or less prob­lem­at­ic events and a decent jet lag, I sat on the sec­ond evening a bit in a pinch. I had pre­pared myself with regard to trav­el equip­ment undoubt­ed­ly well, but real­ized to be over­whelmed with the many peo­ple and the lengthy orga­ni­za­tion of even sim­ple things. So how to get on and over­come the cul­ture shock? Final­ly, I took up the offer of the hotel’s own trav­el agent and booked a dri­ver and cab for the next 12 days through Rajasthan.

Ahmed was an old­er gen­tle­man and qui­et dri­ver and although not thor­ough­ly per­son­able, excep­tion­al­ly cour­te­ous and friend­ly. To warm up” there was an exten­sive sight­see­ing tour of New Del­hi and I began to pho­to­graph exten­sive­ly. Very hap­py about not hav­ing to wor­ry about train or bus tick­ets from now on, I con­tin­ued the next day to Agra to the longed-for Taj Mahal.

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