India is hard. This is my thesis du jour. Or perhaps it's that tourist Delhi is hard. Ruth and I had a lovely morning/midday in old Delhi, one of my favorite places, where we explored the spice market (pretty, coughing from the chillies, piles of dates and cashews, bumping into men carrying huge bags of marigolds on their heads...), the wedding market (Kinari Bazaar, for those following along), the Jain temple (see pics at flickr site), and then walking to the Jami Masjid, which happened to be closed (oops, Friday, noonish, what am I thinking...), lovely kebabs at a local joint recommended in the Lonely Planet and thus easy to find as everyone in the neighborhood knows we're looking for it, as we are white and thus LP readers, and then we decide to check out some hotels in Ramnagar/Paharganj.
Again, for those following on a map or living Delhi with us through that ESPN thing (as Tim says), you will recall that Paharganj is the touristy backpacker area in walking distance from the train station. It's a ghetto of hotels, traffic, rickshaw touts, and various other things, and so if you ask to go there from anywhere in Delhi you can expect tourist treatment. So let's just say I had a bit of a "moment" with the rickshaw guy who wouldn't bargain with me and then wouldn't let me find another rickshaw and then once I grudgingly agreed to his price/rickshaw went to have some chai with his friends and made us wait. So, I got Ruth and I out of his rickshaw and walked down the street to find something else while he was having his tea. This got him upset for some reason, and he chased us down, insisted on taking us, and I ended up yelling at him that he was rude and we weren't standing for it. All over about a $2 ride. So bad behaviour on all sides, and it is clear that my limit had been reached.
Ah well. How many stories like this or worse from India? I suppose it's about traveling, about patience levels, about the dust and the sun and the dirt. And frankly about overstimulation--too much amazing stuff to see, so much assaulting your senses (positive and negative), and just a lot of wonderous things. So it can push you over the edge. In the end we retreated to our retreat and are trying to wind down. I am posting pics to the flickr site as we speak from the last few days.