21st October 2014 – New Delhi, India
The cyle-rickshaws rule this stretch, glowing in a multitude of lights,Governing over a street full of urchins, tauts and everything else sundry.Bollywood may as well have lived on these neon-frenzied streets,Because there are ample lights, awaiting cameras, and action in plenty.
I have been 5 days in New Delhi now. Time passes so quickly here, and I had that realisation only when my hotel receptionist gently asked me, if I would ever be actually leaving.
I have been staying the last 5 days in a shady hotel in the backpacker area of Paharganj, filled with its ditzy neon-boards and cycle rickshaws. Similar to Khaosan Road in Bangkok, this area of Delhi does have quite a reputation, with a bad history of drugs and prostitution. But despite the many seedy looking characters you see there, Paharganj is perfectly safe for a tourist. And if you are wondering how, a local gave me the inside info.
The whole area of Paharganj is supposedly controlled by a Mafia group, who regulates everything from prostitution and drug peddling to contraband sales. And they have a very strict mandate out on the street. Bring no harm to the tourists, because they bring in our revenue. Yes, there are the usual scams that will be tried on you, but it will be no different than any other part of India. But regarding safety, you could go out even at 1 AM with a camera and click pictures, like I did. Nobody gives a damn.
But some of them will try to sell you a night with an escort, or a few grams of hash, or worse, some viagra. I was offended only about the viagra. Did I really look like I needed that?