Dinner, bed and breakfast ..
Having arisen so late, we didn’t get any breakfast yesterday. It was all far too late. We decided, instead, to go back to Connaught Place (CP to us as we’re almost local now!) with a view to revisiting the Palika Bazar for another wander around. We duly walked to IFFCO Chowk and got onto our metro. Whilst waiting for our train (never more than 3 minutes) Captain Clarke took a photograph of the offences that might be committed on the Delhi Metro and the penalties for committing them. Whilst sitting on the floor or quarrelling may incur a fine of up to 200 rupees, sitting on the roof is considered a less serious offence with a maximum fine of 50 rupees (around 50 pence!). If you obstruct the doors you could be fined 5,000 rupees! Somehow the penalties don’t seem to be quite proportionate to the offence. Some of the signage is interesting too. Some trains have seats that are dedicated to ladies, others have seats reserved for the ‘Elderly or Physically Challenged’ or for ‘Senior Citizens or Differently Abled’!
Our journey into Delhi and to Rajeev Chowk station was, as ever, uneventful and enjoyable. We alighted the train and decided to try and procure a spot of lunch. This has proved to be a bit more problematic than we initially thought. The nearer one is to a tourist type of place, the less easy it is to procure food. However, we did eventually find something and, having eaten, we proceeded to the Palika Bazar. This time it was I who made a purchase. We just happened across a stall that was selling shoes and I found a pair that I rather liked so, after a little negotiation (I really am rather good at this – I knocked off a whole 5% this time!), said shoes were purchased. Jolly comfortable they are too! We wandered around browsing the stalls for a little longer and, I must admit to another purchase of a wallet – I am not convinced about the wiseness of this purchase since, having got back to the hotel and looked at it, it is almost impossible to get a credit card into the slots provided and the section for notes is so narrow that I think English currency will stick out of the top. The only saving grace is that it only cost £4!
We realised time was getting on and we were due to meet Great Uncle Bulgaria and Madam Cholet for dinner in the evening so we began to make our way back to our hotel. We got our metro and, when we got to IFFCO Chowk we took a couple of photos just to remember what it’s like – busy, noisy, a little bit dirty and full of people. Great Uncle Bulgaria and Madam Cholet had been somewhat delayed on their journey from Dubai to Delhi, so it was agreed that we would go to their hotel and meet them for dinner. There is no easy route from the hotel to the airport (they were staying overnight in one of the airport hotels) so we asked the concierge if a taxi could be procured. They, of course, organised a hotel car to take us. This was not cheap at almost 3,000 rupees for the car and then the driver very cleverly only had 1,000 rupees to offer in change for a 2,000 rupee note so he ended up with a 1,000 rupee tip. All the way on the journey, which took about 50 minutes in the traffic, he kept going on about how he liked people from the UK because they tip well. We had no choice!!!
Great Uncle Bulgaria and Madam Cholet’s hotel was fine. It is an airport hotel. Service at the bar was a little slow but when the drinks eventually arrived they were perfectly good. We transferred to the restaurant where, instead of menus, we were given iPads to browse and choose our meal. The concept is really quite good. The execution was not so good. It seemed that, instead of adding benefit through functionality, the menu had simply been transferred from a paper version to an electronic one. It was clunky and not very well done. One had to scroll through photographs of meals with just a name and a picture. If you clicked on the picture you got a video of the dish being cooked which, in some cases served a deterrent rather than an enticement. It was possible to find a very brief description of each dish if one chose the ‘ABC’ menu but this wasn’t obvious. With an electronic version of a menu they could have offered much more instead of what seemed to less. What about a list of ingredients? A description of the cooking style or how the dish had been derived? They had missed a trick there we think!
Once the meal was ordered and served, things didn’t seem so bad. We had been a bit disappointed with the whole menu experience so our expectations were not high. As it transpired the meals were actually fine and Madam Cholet’s Butter Chicken turned out to be the best of all of the dishes. We finished our meal, generously paid for by Great Uncle Bulgaria and made our way to the bar for a nightcap. Drinks procured and drank, Captain Clarke and I did something that neither of us have ever done before … we ordered an Uber! Uber tells you in advance what the price will be and the app keeps you informed of who your driver will be, how far they are away and precise information about when they will arrive. In our case, Anup our driver, was 6 minutes away when we ordered the cab and he arrived in exactly 6 minutes! The car was clean and tidy and the journey back to our hotel was much better than the journey there. The best thing about it though, was the price. Having spent 4,000 rupees on the hotel car getting there, we spent 400 rupees on the Uber going back! What a difference!!!
We got back to our room and decided on one last nightcap and we had a bit of fun with a VPN client where we set up a VPN tunnel so that we could break out in London which mean that we were appearing from a UK IP address and that meant we could use iPlayer to watch BBC even though we were not actually in England. All great fun but for those who aren’t into technology the majority of this paragraph has been totally unnecessary – as Great Uncle Bulgaria would say … it’s dog’s bottom stuff … you know what it does but have no need to know how it works!! Suffice to say we found a way to watch BBC from outside of the UK! We eventually retired to bed just before 2am. This morning we did get up on time and enjoyed a very acceptable breakfast in our Executive Lounge ready for another day of (anything but) fresh air and fun! So, we really can say we have had dinner, bed and breakfast! The one downside of Delhi this week has been the smog which has really never cleared. The air can be almost thick enough to chew but this has never once detracted from our enjoyment here!