Your first, best way to cope with Delhi is to avoid it altogether. This is a special place…
I mean – how many cities need to bulk order “No Defecating” signs? Who knew that in 2010 shitting yourself in public was anything other than very naughty? You can taste this place, in a bad, bad way.
It is not exactly “travelling” but after a night sharing a small hotel room with 2 other people, no a/c and a nighttime temperature in the 30’s I broke and developed my coping strategy : Move from a/c mall to a/c restaurant to a/c cinema. Screw the expense, get me an iced coffee.
The part of town we stayed in is cheap and at the moment far from cheerful. It’s under renovation for the commonwealth games. Imagine Blighty in the blitz. Tearing buildings down by hand at the same time as rebuilding them. Not a hard hat in sight…and people lobbing rubble into the street below. You can’t help but admire the guys doing that sort of work in this sort of heat for no kind of money.
Anyway, I did see the real Delhi, a city of contrasts. Shops that no one I know could afford to visit next door to open sewers and child beggars. Plus forty five outside, a balmy 24 inside. A brilliant metro system, a terrible poverty problem. It’s about the most exhausting place I’ve been. If you’re on of those people who likes to shop in London but are glad to get back out by the end of the day, then you wouldn’t last 5 minutes in Delhi – I didn’t.