After breakfast we met up again with Mukesh, the driver who had waited patiently for us at Delhi airport.
Although Delhi was just our stop-over and we have both been there before, as with any vast and ancient city there is always plenty more to see. We had decided to spend the first day of our holiday just enjoying the pleasures of exploring the capital.
Our plan was to begin by visiting Chandni Chowk, the centuries-old market area, based around a very narrow and bustling street from which countless shop-lined alleyways and bazaars emerge.
But as Mukesh explained, during market hours the road was practically impassable by car. It was better that he take us to the Red Fort from where we could hire a bicycle-rickshaw, which could more easily navigate this byzantine maze of shopping opportunities.
Our first task was to find a suitable rickshaw cyclist and negotiate the rate.
Between us, Robin and I must weigh a combined total of about 150 kg (330 lbs). Many of the drivers looked far too old or frail to pedal such a load.
Mukesh carefully selected a younger cyclist: slight in build but with extremely hefty thighs which, despite his being very modestly dressed, visibly bulged through the legs of his trousers.
Just as carefully, to avoid distressing any reader of a sensitive disposition, I have cropped this picture to save you from the unnerving sight of such rippling leg muscles..
Our cyclist-driver also acted as a guide, pointing out buildings of interest, while gently guiding his rickshaw through the narrow streets, passing shop-keepers, tea-rooms and a small army of fellow cycle-rickshaws
It’s an amazing and exhilarating way to take a closer look at the city.
Having decided to head for the extreme north of India, our journey from Kerala entailed an inevitable stop-over in Delhi.
Due to bad weather, the plane from Cochin was running two hours late: we landed at Delhi airport after midnight.
Fortunately, the driver appointed to meet us was still standing patiently outside the arrivals hall. Rather touchingly, he held a placard bearing just my first and middle names .
Shortly after one o’clock in the morning, we were delivered to our hotel.
Formalities such as showing passports and signing-in were mercifully postponed until morning. We were guided to our room, asked when we would breakfast, then left to sleep,
“perchance to dream…”
Picture of a bicycle-rickshaw and its rider taken in Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi.