Monday, February 10th. Our first job of the morning was to apply for visas at the Embassy of Nepal, about a 20-minute walk from Ringo’s. There was a long queue of applicants there, and the visas were extortionately expensive: 630 rupees each.
From the Nepali Embassy, we caught a rickshaw to the New Delhi poste restante office, where the only letter was one from for me from Chloe Hayward [wife of my former employer at Knoll Farm, where I’d spent the previous harvest driving tractors]. We shared another rickshaw with two Japanese girls over to the Old Delhi post office where there was a letter from Michael and Nancy [relations of mine from New Zealand].
We walked up to the Old Delhi Fort for a look around and despite some intricately carved marble work and mosaics, there wasn’t much of interest to see so we walked across the road to the Jama Masjid mosque. The mosque, built between 1644 and 1658, was impressive. It was also quite shabby and ill-kept. We climbed to the top of the 40 metre south minaret where there is an amazing view of Delhi and the mosque itself, which seemed much more impressive when viewed from above. It was quite eerie sitting up there in the marble cupola with the wind whistling around and the sounds of Old Delhi resounding up from the streets below.
From the mosque, we caught a rickshaw back to Connaught Place and had a snack at one of the Chinese restaurants, then walked around then sat around on the patio at Ringo’s talking to other travellers and writing letters until 7 p.m. when we went down to the posh United Coffee House for tea.