On the whole Delhi has been an experience to remember! Our first impressions were squashed quickly and I think they key thing for is was our walking tour. It made us much more comfortable and confident walking around Delhi. People will stare at you if you're 'not from around here' but this is mainly down to curiosity. Laura and I are somewhat of a novelty out here and our adoring fans wave at us from everywhere. As Anju says: be friendly, but don't get too friendly.
Also, just because someone is dressed in a poor manner it does not mean they are without wealth. The beauty of old Delhi is that people look poor but are actually very wealthy. They care for the simple things. We met professional beggars yesterday, people who have a home, but who spend their days begging. Vendors who take home £80 a day because they do not have to pay rent or tax on their street cart. It's an eye opener!
People have asked me about the cost in India. It is cheap! To get anywhere around town by Tuktuk is about 100rs-and I think that's only because they know we are westerners. We've been on journeys by tuktuk that have lasted about 20-30minutes and have been charged between 100 and 300rs (£1-£3) not bad when it's door to door service! Taxis are about double the cost of a tuktuk. Rickshaws (bike and attachment) seem a bit cheaper. The cost of food is good too a 2l bottle of water would be about 18p! We've just paid for a meal in the Lodi Garden (2 meals, 2 soft drinks and 4 beers) which came to about £37, including tip. The ambience we had in the garden would beat and English restaurant who would charge the same amount! We had waiters falling over themselves to help us. Electric fans were moved nearer to us so that we stayed cool. Wherever you go you are treated well and for a fraction of the cost in England, if you do end up paying the same/more than in England then it must be down to the quality of food and service.
Expect anyone who does anything for you to hang about for a tip. Room service was delivered in two separate sittings so that we had to give two tips!
When you change your money (at airport) try and request smaller notes. They gave me lots of 500rs which when you think of it as £5 is not a lot, however most things cost 100rs or less and you only get change if you're very lucky!
Only book a hotel with AC and it's important to go 4* and above as you know what you are getting then!
I researched all the places I went before travelling, using trip advisor. This helped me to plan a schedule where we could fit most things in.
Tuesday-Humayun Tombs, India Gate
Wednesday-Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Baby Taj, Marble workshop
Thursday-Old Delhi walking tour, Askhardham
We were supposed to see the Red Fort, but we saw the Agra Fort and they are pretty much the same (it's called the red fort in Agra too). We were also supposed to see Purnuna Quila, but ran out if time.
We didn't really shop and so didn't get involved with the haggling side of things. We spent our time seeing the beauty that India has to offer.
What I have learnt from India:
-Britain is so expensive
-we are too polite
-don't judge a book by it's cover
-breathe in intervals of 20 seconds when riding a tuktuk (the passing fumes might kill you off!)
-beer is hard to come by
-how to walk like an Indian (crossing a busy road)
-ramram (May God be with you)
-how to make part of a traditional Old Delhi breakfast
-check the seals on bottled drink
-use hand sanitiser frequently
-ancient structures should be looked after and not left to crumble
-people are friendly (we now have added another 'friend' to our collection-our cab driver to the airport. 'Friend like brother' he was keen to add!
Questions India has given me:
-is it ok to wee up a wall at the side of a busy road?
-Did India really invent/discover all the things it said she did?
-Will walking like an Indian get me seriously injured on England's roads...?