Thursday, 3 October 2013

Dipping the toes In Delhi

4 hours by Volvo bus and I was in Delhi ISBT bus station from Agra. My hotel a rather extravagant (for me) stylish property called Hotel Blueberry. That evening Rohit from Pink Vibgyor met me to take me around Cannaught Place and check out a popular hang out for gay people - the aptly named Bar King Street just below Cruise Bar. However it was pretty empty AND this was Friday. 

Saturday morning I hopped on the metro - opened only in 2002 and expanding fast - it's modern and well designed. Within 40 minutes I was at my first tourist sight, just 21R and no haggling with the rickshaws drivers. It was a 15-minute walk to Qatab Minar but worth it, incredible architecture that had been well preserved.

Back on the metro and up to Parliament building then to walk along Raj Ghat to India Gate. Parliament is impressively large, the walk to India Gate is reminiscent of Champs Elysées from which it was time for an easy KFC lunch at Connaught Place where I met a fellow gay traveller who was from Costa Rica - we shared stories and experiences over fried chicken legs before going our separate ways. 

For dinner I took myself to experience the Main Bazaar, a shopping street but also a tourist hub of small Indian restaurants and hotels. From here I again met Rohit to make our way to Noida for the gay party at M Lounge - the only way of finding out about gay nightlife in Delhi is to be on an invite list. It's worth contacting local guys through Planet Romeo/ Gay Romeo.  Noida is another city connected to Delhi about 45 minutes by metro from the centre. 
 
Sunday brought a slight hangover but I headed to explore the Red Fort and Old Delhi. It was hectic, hot and noisy - it became too much for me. The hassle from touts was ruining the experience and lack of visible restaurants was also making my stomach scream. So I decided to head back to Main Bazaar for food.

I took a helicopter taxi from Red Fort who agreed to a 30-minute journey to Main Bazaar with a small tour along the way, unfortunately 60 minutes later I was still sat on a bumpy road. He did though take me to a local area where they dry flowers herbs and chilies for trading - watching the local lads pull large truck loads of goods. 

Delhi shuts shop early on Sunday, so by 4.30pm many stores had closed. I was dropped at my point of request and ended in an argument with the driver for over-payment, I refused to pay much more than we agreed. We agreed 70R for 30 minutes, he quoted me 100 rupees for an hour, he tried charging 140R - the tourist police got involved listening to both sides of the story and then told the driver to move on, I too left in a hurry. It didn't feel good trying to be conned


TOP TIP - always shake and agree a deal with set parameters, but honestly I would avoid all cycle rickshaw/helicopter drivers in future.

After dinner on Main Bazaar I headed to Connaught Place to meet local Indian gay lads in thw local cruising park. I spent a few hours walking around and speaking to different groups of gay lads to find out about gay life here in Delhi. (Read my blog post – Gay Delhi) It was their weekly chance to get together and feel comfortable in public, the park was really quite busy and the lads welcoming and friendly. There were also a few groups of trans people and some openly available escorts. At the sunset the park began to empty.

Read more in my feature Gay Delhi.

Next day it was off to Jaipur.

HOTEL
Blueberry Hotel, Delhi
8/12-13, W.E.A. Abdul Aziz Road,
Near  Metro Pillar No. 92 & 93
Karol Bagh, New Delhi-110005,
Ph.: 011-42542073/74/75/76/77
28751717,28751717,28752020