AROUND THE WORLD ON 80 PENCE - Delhi, India
Indian Rupee (INR) Rs 65.42 = £0.80p
On my flight to Delhi an elderly lady was becoming increasingly demanding, passionately venting to anyone who would listen about her bad day, instinctively, I threw my arms around her and gave her the biggest hug, she squeezed me even tighter and started kissing my hands squealing "thank you thank you".
Question: If you accidentally dropped your purse or mobile phone out of a taxi on any one of UKs busiest motorways, would you try and reclaim it? Or resign yourself to the fact it's forever gone! Now picture this, doing a U-turn on a busy motorway driving on the hard shoulder towards the on-coming traffic - that's exactly what my tuk-tuk driver did to reclaim my dropped purse. Imagine the terror, the fright but the excitement and delight!
Both these scenarios encompass the paradox of the heart and people of Delhi - the contrast of organised chaos, fiery passion yet genuine compassion.
Delhi is one of the most incredibly fascinating, captivating, vibrant, buzzing, manic, frantic, exciting destinations in the world. It's potentially overwhelming but look beyond its gritty surface you'll discover the amazing wonders of Delhi.
It ignites every human sense i.e., bursting with colour, gushes with flavours both on the palette and the nose (spice market) and explodes with intricate details of exquisite fabrics.
Practically everything is incredibly cheap from dress making to dining to tailoring or transport. You can get a suite made for as little as Rs 1500/£20 More here.
When it comes to exploring, discovering and experiencing the wonders of Delhi, transport is mere pence. You could opt for the Hop On Hop off air-conditioned bus with fantastic English speaking tour guides, as the name suggests hop off at one great sights such as the Red Fort, Old Delhi, Spice Market or street markets including Janpath - a long stretch full of wonder, and gems and hop back on to the next hot spot at your leisure.
Or you could take a local taxi, even hire a taxi driver for the day, yet a word of advice whilst it's reasonable prices on an average Rs150/ £1.85 per journey, taxi drivers tend to be tourist touters or work off commission. As a result, you could find yourself going to a place they want to take you to as opposed to where you requested to go.
By far the cheapest and best way to fully submerge into the Indian cultural experience is via a tuk-tuk a hooded three wheeler motorised bike. With over 52,000 tuk tuks on the streets in New Delhi they're very easy to flag down, haggle your price and off you go. Prices are as cheap as Rs 30/£0.35p up to Rs 150/£1.85.
With just 18 hours before heading home again, I ventured out of the over priced (albeit stunning) Hyatt hotel and headed off for a quick pamper session at a cheap yet fantastic service, salon:
Outdoor Salon: Hotel Prices:
Manicure. Rs 100/£1.04 Rs450/£5.50
Pedicure. Rs 100/£1.04. Rs 550/£6.75
Eye brow threading Rs 45/£0.55. Rs200/£2.45
Shoulder Massage. Rs 100/£1.04. Rs600/7.35
Facial Rs 300/£3.65. Rs1000/£12.25
Organic hair oil Rs 55/£0,65
Indian Kohl Eyeliner Rs 40/£0.49 (to create that dramatic Indian eye make-up)
Mini OPI nail varnish Rs. 15/£0.18
Admittedly, some purchases were over my 80 pence budget but in balance, how could I refuse.
I slightly spoilt my body treatments by succumbing to an Indian McDonalds (no beef of course) but instead an egg burger with a curry and mayo flavoured sauce Rs28/£0.35p and strawberry shake Rs. 55/£0.65p.
A place of wonder, not a description but a fact, this nation is home to the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world. If you ever have the opportunity to experience one of the oldest cities in the world, grab it with both hands.
dawne b stewart
Twitter : @dawneb007
Article by Dawne B / 19th March 2013
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