NEW DELHI, India // We landed at midnight in Delhi. By the time we made it to the hotel it was closer to 2:30 am. Needless to say we slept in until 1:30 pm the next day. We lost a night of sleep traveling so I think the sleep was best for us. We decided to go out for lunch to a place we found in the Lonely Planet book and had good reviews online that was only a 15 minute walk away. It also only required one 90 degree turn on two main streets. It was lightly drizzling but we decided to brave it. How bad could it be? We didn't get more than 10 steps outside the hotel when a man approached us, deep bowed and said, "Namaste, where are you from?". Which is all nice and good but all we've read about on blogs and in books is to be skeptical of anyone who approaches you on the street. We pulled out all our NYC skills continuing down the street: tune out, smile nod without making eye contact, keep moving, look at the ground, never acknowledge understanding. The first man dissuaded by our tactics dropped back but another took his place within seconds. Our new friend parallels us as we walk. Then a man laying in his underwear blocks the path, I say path as there is no sidewalk, there is only an edge of the gravel dirt road where you can try to dodge the incoming tuk tuks. A dog nearby also seems to smell our shininess and fear. I blend in a bit more than Adam but we both seem to elude $$$ signs above our heads that draw attention to people who either want to scam or rob us. You can feel the eyes on us more than I have felt anywhere else on our travels. I duck in behind a local woman navigating the streets in a bright green and gold sarong. I use her as my blocker for a few minutes until she turns down an alley.
The light drizzle becomes large aggressive drops. I'd say they foreshadow what's to come if we continue down this path. We look at each other and immediately turn on our heels and head back to the hotel in a light dash trying to avoid muddy puddles, traffic, and eye contact. We see two more men in soiled underwear. One has a scrape down his face and elbows which are open and festering. We make it back from our 100 yard dash and the receptionist smiles and waggles his head at us as if to say, "I told you so". He had sternly warned us before we left the lobby, "Be careful, there are lots of 'skepticals' out there". I think that was a valiant effort of adventure for one day. We head to the cafe attached to our hotel for hot masala tea, butter tikka paneer, and naan lunch. We also book a trip to the Taj Mahal for tomorrow, hopefully our next great adventure lasts longer than 10 minutes.