I connected with my homestay – a woman who runs a school for 58 orphans aged 2-16. She gave me a cup of extremely sweet tea, which I discovered was the Indian style – they boil the sugar, leaves, and milk. She was a new breed of Indian woman, trying to bring understanding to break old traditions – like the fact that it is the man’s input that decides the gender of a child, not the woman’s. Wives become the slaves of their in-laws at marriage, and one of her friends had been forced to have four abortions when she conceived girls. Her mother-in-law held her hand to a burning stove to punish her for giving birth to girls. Of course, my hostess was considered a troublemaker for trying to change this situation. From her house I went to Old Delhi.
The fort is R10 for locals and R250 for foreigners. There are 10 soldiers between the ticket booth and the entrance.
Once inside there is a mall of tourist shops. This is original, because the royalty wanted their own private shopping malls for carpets, jewellery, etc. Apart from this there are no hawkers, which makes a nice change from China.
There’s a museum about the Freedom Struggle, if you want to do a lot of panel reading.
The whole thing takes about an hour to walk around. I went back outside, in to the heat, to be confronted by 3 men trying to sell me packs of postcards.
Sweaty men with strained faces were hand-carting loads, yelling at people to get out of the way before they lost their grip. The streets were covered in fruit sellers, animals, dung, beggars, corn, and policemen with bamboo staffs. I found the Jama mosque, but it was closed to women after 5pm.
From here I hired a cycle rickshaw to the spice market for R50 – “Even look in the book that is lonely, it is a good price!” There was a mega traffic jam for the last 10min, with every rickshaw, car, motorcycle and goat trying to gain an advantage. I got off.
I bought some cashews, and had everyone looking the whole time.
I took the Metro back to my homestay. A German chap was also there for dinner, and we had a pleasant vegetarian meal. That evening her husband explained a bit about the Sikh philosophy to me (it is not a religion). I retired to my basement bedroom, and slept like an Indian, on a wooden bed.