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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Two Worlds @ New Delhi

During my short stay at New Delhi of India, the difference in lifestyles that the rich and the poor live was evident. With money, one could easily enjoy life at or above the living standards of most Western countries. Without or with not enough money, one might need to seek ways to survive.


I was fortunate enough to live in an extremely decent hotel during my stay. The living conditions inside and outside of the hotel were very different. It almost felt like hotel guests were entering into different worlds as they walked in and out of the hotel.

Due to a bombing attacked that aimed at Western tourist in Mumbai at 2008, securities at hotels in New Delhi are still tight. It is "tight" in a sense that the measures are there, but they way how staff enforces may hint otherwise. All vehicles that drove into the hotel premises were scanned by a "big rod" that looked like a landmine scanner. Furthermore, the front hood of the car needed to be visually inspected, even in the middle of a dark night.
Prior to entering to hotel lobby, guests were required to walk through body scans and bag search (just like the metal detectors your can find at airport immigrations). What impresses me was that female guests were scanned by female staff inside a semi-private booth. This practice was also conducted at the New Delhi airport. This is definitely a considerate practice that other countries should follow.

Once passed the security checks, guests enters into the luxury world of air conditioned hotel facilities powered by back up power generators in case of power failure (which happens on a daily basis). Hotel staff carries a good spirit to work. They would smile at and greet guests, some would even join their palms together to make a special greeting gesture. While some of us may take this for granted, smiles and greetings ds not always come from hotel staff in "Western" cities such as Hong Kong and New York.

The world outside is very different. Buses, trucks, passenger vehicles, tuk-tuk, motorcycles and pedestrians fight for their spot on bumpy roads. There are so many, and I mean so many, people walking on the streets or crouching at street corners. The scenes is even more graphical after heavy rain; when the holes on bumpy road are filled with mud and water. Pedestrians climbed up and down fences and hopped on pieces of randomly scattered bricks, while vehicles drove passed with horns enabled.

Buildings on the side of many main streets are unevenly distributed, occasionally with bits and pieces fallen off. The conditions of some buildings are at surprising standards even in some business and industrial districts. Having said that, buildings and roads tend to improve in conditions near town center.

It has certainly been an eye opening and learning experience for a simple dreamer like me. I would loved to spend more time in this fascinating town to explore the "real" New Delhi. For those of us who are fortunate enough to live a comfortable lifestyles in modern cities, perhaps we should be thankful of what we have.

See also:
New Delhi in a Flash

Food @ New Delhi