Connaught Place & New Delhi Railway Station

Outside our hotel window was a large garden belonging to a neighbouring house. During Wednesday we had noticed quite a lot of activity in the garden, with construction of a stage and decorations taking place.

Off to Connaught Place by autorickshaw to find an ATM, a mission accomplished fairly quickly. We then found a mobile phone shop in order to sort out a pay-as-you-go SIM card. The call costs from Indian mobiles seem to be considerably lower than in the UK, with most calls being less that Rs5 per minute and calls to the UK being much cheaper than using our Virgin Mobile accounts.

We wandered round the circular roads around Connaught Place, both of us a little disappappointed by how run down the area was. Back to the hotel for a rest and to pay our deposit for the train tickets, and then out for a walk to the railway station to familiarise ourselves with it before our 6.05am train the next day.

Both on the way to the station and at Connaught Sq. Vic was the victim of so called ‘Eve Teasing’, where men seem to think that it’s fine to grope a woman who is walking down the street. Vic was conservatively dressed (trousers & shirt) and obviously with me. Unfortunately, it was always done when Vic was behind me and she didn’t mention it until we got back to the hotel. The attitude towards women in general and Western women in particular is very bad, with the latter being seen as easy prey.

Back at the hotel, we went to pick up our train tickets. They had our ticket to Jaipur, and a “waiting list” ticket to Nawalgarh, but said that the train to Bikaner was “full”. By “full” they actually meant non-existant. The only way from Nawalgarh to Bikaner by train was to get a train back to Jaipur, and then go to Bikaner from there, but we now had a pretty useless one-way ticket to Nawalgarh. Oh, and they charged us twice the previously agreed commission rate of Rs50 per ticket. Not best pleased , but a useful learning experience.

As we settled back in our room, the stage outside erupted into action, initially with a group of people worshipping, followed by what seemed to be an over-amplified play with much cheering from the crowd which had gathered. Fortunately this only lasted three hours so we were able to get a decent night’s sleep before our early start on Friday.

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