Saturday, December 22, 2012

11 Days in Delhi, India

I reached New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport on the night of 1st December 2012. I was with two others, an Indian and a Maldives that night and we were to attend a 9 day workshop on Radio Transmissions conducted by an organization under the Indian Government. (Yes, lucky me, this is another sponsored official trip. hehe) The other international participants were due to arrive the next day and so us three decided to tour around Delhi instead. =)

While walking to the metro, I saw these men walking briskly without a care of the world! 
Not knowing the area well, at least the Kingsway Road was a straight line. We could easily have taken a tuk-tuk but since neither of us had small change, we decided to walk from the hostel to the nearest Metro Station instead. It took us around 30 minutes to reach there! We definitely didn't repeat this ever again. Haha!

The things I've noticed right away during our first day in Delhi :-
  1. Every entrance whether it's into a shopping mall, a metro station or an open park, you'll need to go through a scanner machine and get a full body check by the officers in charge. Guess there are some cases of terrorist acts in the city perhaps? There are also GUNMEN at every metro station behind a barrack. Scaryyy... 
  2. No pictures are allowed in the Metro Stations. They'll snatch you and demands you to delete the pictures if you get caught (which is always! They are very efficient that way! The place must be swarmed by CCTVs!)
  3. Men actually pee where ever and when ever they like along the roads and streets of Delhi (and basically everywhere else in India). They PEE in PUBLIC! Thus a strong odor of urine will be smelt almost every minute. LOL.
  4. The Indians sure like to spit a lot. Huhu. Hak puiiiii!!!
  5. Roti or also known as plain capati is their daily grain intake. Indians can eat this three times a day, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's like what RICE is in Malaysia. 
  6. Hot tea is served with every meal. And served the minute you get up in the morning and also before you sleep! They sure drink a lot of tea!
  7. They actually drink tap water here. I tried it and thankfully have never experienced any tummy ache thus far! hehe. (Prays I didn't habour any worms in my stomach though! o.O")

Ok back to our first day trip to Delhi. We first went to Chandni Chowk to do some shopping. And then we went to the Underground Train Museum (free entrance), National Museum ( 300 rupees per entry) and the India Gate (as pictured below). 

A war memorial for those who died in World War I. Their names can be read on the walls.
I love referring to Wikipedia on the places I've visited because I'm not quite a reader before I go to these places. hehe.

The India Gate is the national monument of India. Situated in the heart of New Delhi, it was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. The monument is inspired by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, which in turn is inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus. It was built in 1931. Originally known as the All India War Memorial, it is a prominent landmark in Delhi and commemorates the 90,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who lost their lives in World War I and the Third Anglo-Afghan War. It is composed of red and pale sandstone and granite. [Wikipedia]

My friends and I did a lot of walking that day. And it was nice to come back to the STI Hostel. The place we stayed at for 10 nights. =)

STI Hostel short for Staff Training Institute and only trainees and staff are permitted to stay here.
Guess I was considered as a staff for the Government of India? Hehehe.

Our official transport, in and around Delhi. Nice!
Here were my training mates for the past 11 days. I was the only female trainee. Haha.

The others were blurred to protect their identity. Aisehh!! Cam haremm! wakakaka!
For the rest of our training days, we didn't go out much. We did eventually experience the night market which is held every Thursday night on Kingsway Road. This is where we saw all sorts of things being sold at unbelievable prices! The guys did a lot of shopping that night! 

Me? I bought a very cheap, fake Converse shoes for 200 rupees (equivalent to RM12.00). Haha!

Sweaters, shoes and bags. You name it! They got it all!
And so that pretty summed my first week in Delhi. Our next weekend was more fruitful. The organizers had us ride on a tourist bus into Agra for Taj Mahal on Saturday. And on Sunday we went on a Hop on Hop Off bus to tour around Delhi.

Well... I'll blog about that in another post.

Cheers and travel safe guys! ^__^

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Scams in India that you should know about.

I spent two amazing weeks in India early this month and I can't seem to get over it. I feel that two weeks is NEVER ENOUGH! Now I'm sitting in my office, back in Kuala Lumpur, reminiscing the wondrous time I've spent there and thinking, "wow, I have actually been to India?" I am still dumbfounded until this day. =)

So India.. what do Malaysians expect when they travel there?

A view from Naharghah Fort in Jaipur, Rajasthan India.
1, Overcharged taxis. 

Be charged more than the usual price when you use the local road transportation vehicles there such as the Autos, Tuk-tuks, and taxis. Usually it costs only 5 rupees on an Auto to get from one part to another but for a foreigner they can charge you up to 30 rupees. Haha. The best bet is using a tourist bus provided by the local tourism center or via Metro (if you're in Delhi of course). Else be happy to spend more money!

2. Car Rental Scams 

Bought a train ticket? Was told that your train has left, delayed or canceled? These are all SCAMS! You'll be approached by men in the train stations and you'll think that they are working there. They'll help check your ticket, reads the train number and says your train has been canceled due to some track problems. If you go along with this scam, they'll ask you to go to a ticketing center to refund your ticket or find another way into the city you're heading to. And when you ask for other train tickets, they'll say the tickets are sold out and the only way is renting a CAR. 

Yes... they are actually car rental operators. Trying to scam you into renting a car into the places you want to go. Sadly though, these SCAMS are legit. The only thing you'll lose is your money and an AMAZING train ride experience. (Thank god, I didn't fall for this. hehe)

The Indian Gate at Delhi, India
3. Tour guides at major tourist attractions. 

They'll tell you that you can't buy a ticket using the local fare (which is way cheaper than foreign tourist fare).  For example, a local ticket into Qutub Minar in Delhi costs 10 rupees and for foreigners it will cost 200 rupees. Actually you can by having a local buying it for you. The officers at the gate hardly checks your tickets!!! The tour guides will ask for some payment to just bring you into the tourist attraction, explain some things, bring you to some local shops (which in the end will get some commission for bringing you there if you buy) and then out. Huhhh... really a waste of time and money. It is always better to explore yourself (for me at least). And you could always depend on the hearing aids the counters provide for a small fee. =)

4. Photographers. 

I dislike these people the most!!! They help take pictures of you in the places you visit with their cameras. Prints it out and asks you to pay for the pictures when you actually have no intention in buying! Worst still is when you requested a smaller, cheaper photo prints and they come to you with larger prints and expecting you to pay for them! Pffftt!!

Taj Mahal, Agra India. 
5. Overpriced Souvenirs. 

Postcards in particularly actually costs 15 rupees per set that has 12 postcards. They can cheat you in selling 150 rupees each though. And that applies to all the other touristy stuff they sell such as the fridge magnets (cheapest - 50 rupees each), colorful pens and key-chains (can get 5 rupees each!) . Be prepared to bargain. And bargain HARD!

6. Sold out train tickets.

Train tickets are always sold out if you buy at the counters of the train stations??? SO NOT TRUE! This is maybe the biggest WRONG information they feed to unknowing travelers like us. There are ALWAYS train tickets at the counters. You just have to fill up a form after knowing which train and class you want and queue at the counter. Buying tickets online and at other operator's counters are OK but there'll be EXTRA charges and the seat availability are always inaccurate. =)

OK.. that's all I can think of for now. Hope this info helps future travelers when they visit India. Hehehe...

Best regards,

Jard the cheapskate. =)