The second day started out with a fantastic breakfast at the roof-toop restaurant at our hotel. It was still overcast and there was a threat of drizzles. We first set out by metro to Chandni Chowk. Central Delhi isn’t really a place that will appeal to a foreigner who’s expecting Delhi to be a shining demonstration of India’s emergency as an economic superpower. After getting out the metro station, we walked around the maze of Chandni Chowk. We found an interesting chaiwallah who allowed us to photograph him after some initial reluctance. His chai was amazing and we would recommend him if you ever visit Chandni Chowk by using the metro as he is on your way out from the metro station to the main street.
We walked through some of the bylanes in Chandni Chowk looking for some items for him to buy, but we didn’t find anything interesting. Then we headed out to the Red Fort where we were greeted by the great Indian racist propoganda – Rs. 250 entry for a foreigner and Rs. 10 for an Indian or those from the SAARC countries. After getting our passes, we went in the majestic red fort which wasn’t look all that red.
Inside, we found an interesting row of stalls selling antiques, jewelery etc. He was suggesting that we should visit all the shops with cute Indian men and as soon as we said that, we walked by a shop which had a couple of handsome Indian men up front. We walked into the shop and we were greeted by a third handsome man who took us to the interior of the shop to demonstrate his wares.
We got into a friendly conversation with him. Soon enough, the vendor recognized us as being a gay couple and outed himself as a bisexual guy. He showed us fantastic paintings of the gay Kama Sutra – apparently, that shop is the only place which sells such paintings in Delhi. We had such a wonderful, flirtatious chat with this vendor and we decided that we would come back and buy some paintings if my friend’s client would answer positively to the e-mail that we would send later that evening.
We then visited the interior of the fort, which was a pleasant experience. On our way back out, we checked out some more stalls and my friend bought a few bracelets at a reasonable price using all of his charm on the vendors. I can’t believe how all these vendors love him so much. He’s such a charmer, I say! We then headed back to the metro station. We grabbed some cheap vegetarian fast food on our way for lunch.
We bought our tickets to the Central Secretariat and got into a packed train at Chandni Chowk. We were almost crushed to death three times during our trip – funny, it wasn’t even rush hour. I consider that as an experience even worse than the rush hour in Mumbai suburban railway system. Somehow, we managed to get down at the Central Secretariat and walked on the Rajpath to the India Gate. This part of Delhi, the South Delhi part is incredibly beautiful – despite some puddles and mud on our way because of the rain.
We hung out for a few minutes at the India Gate where some vendors came up to my friend and started talking to him in English. Suddenly, my friend started talking in Japanese. The jaws of the vendors dropped and they asked me in English if my friend was Japanese. After a furious minute or two of conversation in fluent Japanese, during which my friend indicated his lack of interest in the items the vendors were selling, we took a autorickshaw to Rashtrapathi Bhavan at the other end of Rajpath.
We spent a few minutes taking pictures and my friend posed for pictures with an extended family from Uttar Pradesh. Then we took the same autorickshaw back to Pahar Ganj. We were really tired for the second day in running and relaxed for a couple of hours while drinking beer – I watched the World Cup warm up match between India and New Zealand while my friend got busy with e-mails and photographs.
We headed out to find another restaurant for having dinner. We ended up at a cheap roadside dhabha at Arakasan road which had a tandoor. After having rather disappointing dinner comprising Tandoori Chicken, rumaali roti, and half chicken tikka biriyani, we took a walk around the disappointing neighborhood. I played with a few of the stray dogs – the stray dogs in Delhi are so much more friendly than those in Mumbai – and after that, we returned back home for the night.