My hostel offers a street food crawl around the back streets of Old Delhi – called their ‘Delhi Belly Tour’… I sign up immediately, literally before I check in. For me, explosive diarrhoea is a small price to pay for getting to gorge on delicious, local cuisine.
We are taken to different street-side vendors and compact restaurants, in tiny, winding backstreets that you probably wouldn’t stumble upon yourself.. or have the balls to buy food from. It’s the best thing in the world: the food blows my mind. Who knew that there is more to Indian food than curry sauce from Best Kebab on Brixton Hill?
I also make some friends, which is comforting – a few I stay in touch with and one I may meet up with in Sydney. Lots of people on the tour remind me of different people from home, so I just pretend they are those people which helps with the creeping sense of loneliness. It’s also a nicer, more natural way to meet people than approaching them in common areas of hostels where, no matter how you begin a conversation, you might as well be shouting ‘WILL YOU BE MY FRIEND?’ -And the thought of that just brings me out in a cold sweat and makes me wanna puke – (Yvette 3:1)
Delhi can be a sobering place; the poverty and squalor I witness is uncomfortable to put it lightly. By this I mean that Old Delhi (the poorest part of the city) is filthy, dusty and chaotic and the poorest people can be seen in rags and sitting literally in rubbish and dirt. Another backpacker on the tour relays something he’s heard – that ‘the way to tell if a homeless man in Delhi is dead or just sleeping is whether or not he’s wearing shoes’. About an hour after he’s said this, we come across a man lying still, on his side and barefoot on the central reservation of a busy road.