Today is going to start brilliantly and dip in the middle only to end fabulously.
So, out of my hotel, the very same accommodation I was at a bit sniffy about when I arrived. How could it be any good priced at £17. The bed was clean, shower splendidly hot, room service excellent, bike safe in the basement garage, chai man just outside, super fast wifi. Sensational find.
Morning. Loaded my bike, Restrap luggage holding up well. Chai stall first stop then orange fruit juice. Down the alleyway, underneath the spaghetti of wires I bought a hot battered veg sandwich dipped in sweet chutney followed by a hot round yummy thing called a gulab jamun all washed down with more masala chai then breathlessly off into the infernal traffic just as a fella comes up and wants to wax my ears which I refuse because he’s got a bandage on his own. With grub inside me I’m happy.
The route to India Gate was busy with traffic messy and stroppy until got to ?????? And locked my bike up against a yellow Delhi Police heavy duty crowd barrier. I walked around the precinct to the northern part, through the gardens edging India Gate. The weather was English spring temperatures and it was a pleasant few moments away from the traffic and the bike and it couldn’t have been more perfect.
I’d had a notion to photograph my Route YC flag against iconic vistas and known monuments around the world and wasn’t doing a great job so walked back to the bike to collect it.
The brush sound of ladies sweeping away errant leaves overlayed the rumble of traffic, a military band and splashing of fountains, the most satisfying of garden adornments. Smooth matt red and white tiled walkways splattered underneath the outreaches of trees signifying the finals of a pidgin’s flight path as he lightens his load coming into land. And there I was soaking up the space, whole square metres to myself to think and shake off the numbness the proximity of cars and trucks imposes on the soul.
Scene Where I Stopped
Except I wasn't stopped but it was a frozen moment as I drew alongside these dancing farmers on their tractor. Imagine this happening on a major expressway in the West - what fun!
Blogs are not always, maybe rarely about fine literature, memorability or something quotable, but last night I spoke to my eldest son and daughter each for an hour and my dear friend Dom. Almost unprecedented but their life knowing me has not been an easy one wondering if I’d ever come back from so many of my trips faraway, us all bracing should I fall.
But I don’t.
The traffic flows around me in the way liquid disperses off a smooth surface. Indian drivers manoeuvre to almost imperceptible signals, a nod, twist of the head, a raise of an eyebrow is enough to change the tracking of a journey
A bicycle wallah passes with his cart, a dog lies asleep, a hedge trimmer trims. I go.
The NH3 Expressway out of Delhi was the busiest route of the whole ride so far. Uncharacteristically quick edging towards furious. I just rode and rode. I didn’t stop until Garhmukteshewar where randomly there was a great hotel, the owner of which made me feel totally welcome. I wrote my blog. I went to sleep.
Map of the Day