Saturday, 28 April 2007

Shopping in Delhi

We don't have anything planned for our first afternoon in Delhi so we arrange for our driver to take us shopping, mainly to have a suit made for J. The driver takes us first to a tourists' bazaar. Through the main entrance there is a warren of shops spread over 3 floors. Each shop keeper tries to entice you into his store "just for a look". The goods they have to show us are beautiful; wood carvings, marble ornaments, paintings on silk, carpets and embroidered wall hangings. I would love to browse but I don't feel comfortable looking at things I've no intention of buying. A carpet salesman was especially persistent, his silk chain-stitched rugs were beautiful and he keep bringing more and more to show us. I would have loved one but they are out of our budget and not what we have come for. It takes a long time to escape him and he will try again later to sell us something. Upstairs, in the tailors we come under the same pressure to purchase but at least this is what we have come for. First we select the fabric, then the style from the samples that they bring out. After negotiating a price Jon is measured from head to toe. His suits will be ready in 2 days but we will be in Chandigarh, so we arrange to collect them when we return to Delhi in 5 days.

Next we want to buy a hat for J (he left his at home). After trying a couple of shops without success our driver takes us to an underground market. To enter we have to pass through a bomb detector. This is a real maze, I quickly become disorientated and I am very pleased that the driver is there to guide us through. Inside it is hot that the air is filled with smoky incense - insect repellent, I think. It is as if a small boy is running ahead of J and I calling out "the tourists are coming". Before us men step out of each tiny shop and call out, "Ma'am, Sir. Come in. Look here". I don't like to simply ignore them, that feels rude, but any words, even "No, thank you" seem to encourage them and they call to us more. It was both exciting and intimidating at the same time. I was very nervous about pick-pockets, the narrow alley ways are crowded. I am a little ashamed to think of them all as untrustworthy but I remind myself that I feel the same way in my home town when the shops are crowded.

Finally we find a baseball cap for J and a skirt and top for me. We were please that we had negotiated a good price but later we realised that we had paid 1,000 rupees more than we agreed because they took payment from both J and me without us realising it!

1 comment:

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