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Day 24: New Delhi

Mom watches son showing off that he's ready for the family business

I arrived at Hazrat Nizamuddin station, one of three major stations in New Delhi around noon. The temperature was slightly cooler than in Goa. I had the better part of a day to kill, as my next train, to Kalka would not leave until late evening.

I took the Metro to Old Delhi station to have them stow my heavy bag. I also need to actually book the next trains. The Metro train was insanely packed, and pushing and shoving was the norm. After an attempt to board the first train, I politely withdrew to wait for the next one. When the next one arrived, I followed the locals, pushing, shoving, and elbowing my way aboard. So un-Canadian it hurt, literally.

En route to Old Delhi station, I noticed that a map showed a National Train Museum in the city. A day to kill, and a train museum! I gave up, however, when the train museum's website yielded no response, and both provided phone numbers seemed to be disconnected.

I spent some time in the station waiting room charging devices and trying to get an internet signal, with very little success.

As the sun began to set, I decided to check out the outdoor market that is right across from the train station. Most of the goods were the standard fare: shirts, shorts, watches, and headphones. The food on the other hand was plentiful, varied, and made on site.

After nearly a month in India, I found my first homemade masala chai: tea, fresh spices, milk and sugar, all just like Aunty used to make. Sadly, most chai in india is made from a powder, like Ovaltine, or a prefab baggie.

For supper I had a veggie thali dinner: two curries, daal, 4 chapatis, raita, naan, pickle; This street food was probably the best I had in India, and the whole dinner cost me a whopping 40 rupees. "Drink clean water", one of the owners demanded as he poured me a glass. "You promise clean?", I challenged. "Drink clean water", he insisted. I drank many glasses, dry from the day's heat and sun, and crossing my fingers that my Hepatitis A and Cholera vaccines had kicked in.

I met a young rickshaw enthusist playing on his uncle's vehicle. I asked his mother if I could take their picture and she agreed excitedly. Once I did, another family member, his grandfather I think, barked, "Money! 100 rupees!". I scoffed and placed 5 rupees in the little boys hand and closed it. "Not for him", I explained, pointing. The rest of the family thought this was hilarious.

I boarded the train for the 265km journey from New Delhi to Kalka, at the base of the Himilayas. I had the upper bunk in sleeper class. It was a cold night.

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