After another long bus journey down from the mountains, we end up getting dropped on the opposite side of the city to the place I have booked so I take a rickshaw across town early in the morning. Its really cold, even here in the city so I’m glad I didn’t send back all my cold weather clothes from the mountains before I left.
Some of the sites you see driving around a city like Delhi sometimes take a while to sink in. when you have been here for a while many things just become normal such as families living on the street, extreme poverty and herds of cows wandering around in traffic. However, after 4 weeks in the mountains where I haven’t seen any begging or obvious suffering through lack of money or housing, being back in Delhi brings me back to reality with a bump.
I’ve booked into a fairly nice place called the ‘Hotel Diplomat’ for my last night as a treat. It’s a famous place that has played host to many visiting dignitaries over the years and at $25 I thought it was a bit of a bargain. Its located right in the centre of the diplomatic enclave which means there are plenty of police wandering around and make smoking my last spliff of cream from the mountains a little awkward!!
It’s as I check-in that I notice the desk clerk is wearing a Father Christmas hat and It suddenly dawns on me that its Christmas day!!! So, after a hot shower, I head back into the centre of town in search of a decent meal. I ended up wandering into the imperial hotel which is an institution in Delhi. I didn’t stay long after I saw the prices, but it was fascinating to see the wealth on display while just outside the gate there were families begging for enough money just to eat. In the end, I settle for a nice curry and a glass of beer to celebrate Christmas away from family and friends.
It’s one of the most difficult things about travelling alone a lot and I know my family finds it difficult on days like today, so I make sure to call them later on before going to bed.
Soon its time to head to the airport and take the short flight to Bangkok, a city I have visited more than any other over the years, so I feel like I’m going home.