Delhi has approximately a third of the entire population of Canada living in it.
Imagine the size and busyness of the Toronto Metropolitan area...and then add over 3 million extra people, the city has a population of nearly 10 million. The congestion of Delhi became pretty blatant as soon as I left the hostel.
After only having slept for a few hours at best, the day started off with a spicy soup, deep fried bread, and a banana for breakfast on a tiny roof top lounge with a girl from Germany who was also staying in the hostel.
Travelling is such an adrenaline rush and I think a persons body just pushes so much harder when there are places to go and things to see and people to meet.
I grabbed a map from the tourist office at the hostel and then proceeded to try and find to main city square, I was told it was within walking distance, if you know me you know I get lost extremely easily and would now say it was definitely not within walking distance. Anyways, map in hand trekking toward what I thought might be the right direction, the streets this morning now smelling more like burning incense than anything else and already feeling hot and hazy at 10am, I notice there are a lot more people than I could see last night, people starting to hassle me a little bit as I must've looked obviously confused. A young man, probably around my age begins walking alongside me, I try to brush him off as I've done for the last few blocks with everyone else, but instead of hassling me, he instead gives me tips like "switch your backpack to your front so its safe" and "put your map away, you look like a tourist" so finally I gave in and learned a smile and open mind are universal. He led me to the main street and suggested I take a tuk-tuk to the transportation and tourist office, he talked to the driver so he wouldn't over charge me, and so there I was at the tourist office, thanks to the generosity of a complete stranger, where I was welcomed with open arms, really starting to wonder about all the scary things I've heard about India.
My travel guy was amazing, booked all my train travel until I start my yoga teacher training in a couple weeks and included a couple days with a driver while I'm on my own. I spent the morning at the beautiful Laxminarayan Hindu Temple where I walked barefoot on the marble, got blessed in the presence of Shiva and mediated for a few minutes, soaking it all in. Ram (short for a very hard to pronounce name - we mutually decided to use each others short names), then showed me the presidents house and parliament buildings of India. For lunch I joined a super cool Aussie Guy and had amazing korma, rice and garlic naan. Next was the Indira Gandhi Memorial, and Lotus Temple.
By this point the jet lag had started kicking in and I was very ready to get off the streets of Delhi.
While driving through rush hour, I started to comprehend the beggars and poverty in Delhi, and while it seems fairly immense, I realize it's no worse than any other city I've been, just a larger scale. The pleasant smells of incense and curry were no longer, and instead the pungent smell of sulphur and waste began to fill the car.
Delhi, you have been an excellent host and starting point, I hope this is just a taste of what is yet to come.
Tomorrow, Agra and the Taj Mahal...