A local newspaper “ The Hindustan Times” was delivered to our room this morning and it told us that the schools had shut until 10th Jan as the current cold snap was unacceptable. Presumably because the schools are equipped with air con, not heaters.
We had a very good buffet breakfast, which set us up for the day. We were officially “off” the Golden triangle tour today, and free to do what we wanted so decided to go for a walk around the locality. Wherever we walked we were accompanied by tuc tuc owners who were willing to take us anywhere for 10 Rupees…. (About 14pence or 16 centimos) We declined their offer, needing a walk to get our bearings. We were then accompanied by the foot version of unsolicited guide, always very polite and interested in who we were and where we had come from. When told “England” the reply was often…. “lubbly jubbly” or “what part of London?” We managed to see a few sights of the hidden areas, off the tourist trail. We found several photo opportunities here… for photo set (view slideshow) and particularly liked the chicken biryani shop and advice to motorists, as well as asking us to keep Delhi green in what has to be the most polluted city we have ever visited. After being guided away from where we wanted to go, we eventually were taken to the tourist office (looking for all the world like a seedy minicab office) where we were told to retrace our steps, three blocks. Here we found the Jantar Mantar…… which means Instrument of Mathematics. This is a collection of constructions that sets out the movement of the sun, moon and polar star and was completed in about 1724. Allegedly the first of its kind world wide…… Stonehenge methinks!! We decided to take a tuc tuc ride back to the hotel and had two drivers bidding for our ride. We chose the one we asked first…. This was a mistake, for it was the second driver who actually knew where our hotel was… or so he said. Our driver always looked lost and when we found ourselves going the wrong way yet again, I told him the name of the road (which we had passed the end of twice) and he took an interesting detour across a pot hole ridden back alley to get us to the front of our hotel. He left with a big grin on his face….. either because we had paid him over the odds (about 60p), or because he had just learnt another hotel to add to his list. They seem very skilled at getting you from where you are now, to where they want to take you, rather than where you actually want to go. We will see. We finished our day out with tea and cakes in the hotel lobby. Very nice and safe at last. We still have the camera and all of our money intact.