Whenever I travel to cities I seek out green space for the familiarity of trees and the relative quiet.
While Day 1 in Delhi was a lesson on how it’s true, everyone is trying to scam us, and the best artists make you feel like they’ve done you a favour, on Day 2 we gamely set out for a park near a bazaar in the old city to recalibrate. Thirty hours of flying plus transit in four airports had taken its toll.
We grabbed a tuk tuk from our hotel and headed for a park. We actually felt like we could breathe easier after passing the armed guard checking bags at the entry to the park.
School groups and families, couples and even the occasional tourist were meandering on the geometrically laid out pathways. As two white women in conservative western dress we drew stares, as usual, but much less constant questioning than out on the street. We wandered for a while feeling more relaxed than we had since arriving – until we realised we were being followed.
We sat on a bench, and a young Indian couple loitered nearby.
We abruptly changed direction, and so did they.
Eventually we sat next to a military fellow to discuss our course of action, and when they paused nearby we snapped our only pictures of the day, getting some good shots of them over my shoulder.
Eventually they made some phone calls and left. As we headed out of the park we found we had a new pair of shadows – two young men this time – and grabbed the first cab we saw. Shaken and a bit stirred we returned to a busy tourist enclave and the safety of a well populated restaurant.
Lets just say that even donning Indian dress we were quite happy to leave the city… Next missive from Darjeeling tea country!