Walk to the secret lakes of Delhi

Free time is something Delhi’s elite (which calls itself middle class) normally spends at home with family, in restaurants, in malls, in homes of relatives, in bars, in more malls, in homes of friends, in cafés. You get the picture.

Usually unheard of: Sitting on a bicycle and ride to a jungle. Walk through the Aravalli hills just south of the city. Spend a day at the river Yamuna.

This has many reasons, but foremost people are not feeling safe out there. This is not some unsubstantiated fear, but very real. The chances to get raped, robbed, threatened, pushed around, asked for money, told to go away , or all at once, are very real.

So if people from Delhi do venture out into the wild, they only go in big groups. With someone, who has been there before. Who has talked to the village elders as a backup, and got someone along from the village as a guide.

I joined the group “Delhi by Foot” to explore five secret lakes in the Wild Life Sanctuary Asola Bhatti.

We found: sandy beaches, pristine blue water in the valleys that were rock quarries some 15 years ago, sun that made it through the less dense smog out there. Along the way, we met locals going about their everyday lives, which included the chopping of shrub, walking somewhere with camels, and tending cows.

It was more a stroll than a hike, as the elite in Delhi, even if they are interested in outdoor activities, is so not used to walk on unpaved surfaces. So any climb up a dirt trek with two roots sticking out, or a step higher than 15 centimeters takes it’s own sweet time.

 

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What a sad hospital

What a sad hospital, where flowers are not allowed.

What a sad hospital, where flowers are not allowed.

But other than that, the Appollo Hospital in South Delhi is pretty impressive. Staircases are spot clean, the receptionist knew what she was doing, and I didn’t have to wait for a minute. The central hall feels like a mixture of shopping mall and the waiting area in front of gates at an airport.

Except for the huge pharmacy, of course, which had a perfectly organised system, where one gives the prescription at one of five counters, gets a token, and can collect the medicine some minutes later when the number is announced electronically at the cash counter.

When a man on the counter next to me didn’t stand in the two-people-long line, but walked up front and made some space for himself at the window next to the first one in line (as most people would do anywhere else in Delhi), the guy who’s turn it was told him to stand in queue! And the bold one apologised!!

For all lovers of flowers

flower's day

… because not only women are happy to get flowers on this women’s day.

Even the birds run for cover

All is set for the trilateral rooftop terrace fitness therapy to take place this evening. But the weather doesn’t fit our party schedule.

bird taking cover

Snowboarding in Gulmarg

We were greeted by incredible powder, when my cousin, her boyfriend and I reached Gulmarg, which is considered to be one of the best ski resorts in the Himalayas.

We plunged into the deep snow, skidded around, walked through the small village, looked up into the sky for a sign of weather change – and had innumerable snowflakes fallen on our faces.

The second day, we rented snowboards. Because there actually was too much snow – 1,5 meter of fresh powder, I would say – the gondola remained closed. So we hired a guide and a pick-up and ran down through the foggy forest to Babareshi and Tangmarg several times, to be brought up in fun, skiddy rides again. But the whole day, it kept on snowing.

And then, finally, the morning we left, the sun came out. Sigh.

Art in the Park

One person in the house likes mud more than the others

dirty shoes

After crawling through dirty gras, spinning on trees, jumping over benches and clinging onto walls – in short: getting dirty in the parkour lesson – I wanted to get back home. But half of Lodhi Gardens got closed during the training for the Japanese Emperor, who leisurly strolled through the park.

And this being India, not one of the dozens, if not hundreds, of security guys could tell me which gates were open to exit. So I had to take a loooong walk around half of the park.

Hopefully at least the new lawns and flowers, planted the night before for the royal visit, will remain after the Emperor left – to delight others as well.

Results of the Climate

One morning I woke up with an oozing wound on my upper arm. Im fact, a series of small weird pustules. It turned out my sour spot was small in comparison to the longish wounds my flatmate had on her legs. Not especially nice to look at.

An Indian friend told us this could be spiders or little worms crawling underneath our skin. Or ants peeing on us. Super! But it wouldn’t surprise me, as it is so tropical humid and warm at the moment that every little creature for sure can thrive here wonderfully.

For humans on the contrary the climate doesn’t seem to be so favourable. Whenever I have a small cut or a pimple or an abrasion from the training or a mosquito bite scratched open, it seems to take forever to heal.

insect

I won’s shock anybody with pictures of wounds, so here’s only a little insect on my rear balcony.

Find along the way

flowers

There seems to be hardly any season when nothing is blossoming.

A thing to do before you die

Never did I manage to come up with a list of 101 things I want to do before I die (or let alone 10 things). The problem wasn’t so much as to think of 101 gorgeous things – but none of the silly, crazy, or fantastic ideas ever made it onto the paper. Either I was too scared to actually have to pursue that goal, or I thought I would do it anyway. I always try to live life to the fullest, no matter what a list is proposing.

But: If you have such a list, you definitely should add the flight from Delhi/Kathmandu to Paro in Bhutan to it. And then sit on the left handside when facing the cockpit. Watche eight-thousenders pass by. And enjoy.

eight-thousenders

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