April ’97 saw me in India on a small group tour of India. Everything was laid out on a plate for us for the Golden Triangle route of Delhi, Jaipur & Agra.
Although the tour company were independently minded, I still had the urge to wander off the beaten track and pleasingly a rather attractive young lady in the group had similar wanderlust.
This saw us skip a couple of temples part way through the trip so we could take the train between Agra & Delhi (quite a feat to procure the tickets) and after dinner on our first night we decided to take a tuk tuk that sat outside our four star hotel.
“Where do you want to go?” our would be driver enquired through his white beard. We responded by negotiating a $5 tour of Central Delhi and chugged straight off.
After stopping en-route for a swift beer, we were treated to night shots of Delhi Fort, followed by a memorable detour along Chandni Chowk, a narrow street alive with trade in all sorts of goods, foods and substances. It was a manic sea of people & colourful merchandise and your typical Indian melange of pedestrians, bicycles, handcarts, motorbikes and cyclos.
We crawled along at walking pace, in touch with the locals, several of whom touched my pretty companion, happily on her arm only.
Afterwards we really felt we had arrived in India and returned to our hotel to recount our experience to the rest of the group who were still all in cocktail mode.
Starting as we meant to go on, the whole tour was an absolute belter, despite the predictable onset of Delhi Belly half-way through.