Street

Greater Kailash

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GK01Or GK, as referred to by locals, is a popular residential neighborhood located in South Delhi home to some of the most affluent families in town. Divided into GK 1 & GK 2, the area’s most popular clothing stores, restaurants, and specialty shops are found here. Highly recommended by a colleague of the AIG, the liveliness of the markets and wide variety of shops certainly lived up to the hype. Many thanks Tanu!

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Bargains on the Streets

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Street VendorsIndonesia’s street vendors are a very large and profitable sector of the country’s economy.  Some estimates have the sector at about 90 million people or around 40% of the total population.   Aside from food carts and fruit stands on every corner there are independent vendors selling everything you can imagine, much of which you wont even have to get out of your car to buy.  The government has encouraged these entrepreneurs and has designated areas for street vendors throughout Jakarta, some indications are that poverty across the city has dropped by 8% due to this policy alone.  Spotted being sold car door to car door today included; books and atlases, a squirrel, rice cakes and a fully inflated swimming pool chair.

The Smallest Market in the World

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img_8485Throughout Delhi, wherever you look capitalism reigns. The most notable evidence of this to western eyes is easily the street stall markets that seem to be everywhere you look.  A combination of small sheds, tables and wheeled trolleys using the sidewalk (or road) for their shop space. What really surprises you  is the diversity of shop that is represented in these markets; hairdressers, stationers, electronics and even small manufacturers. AIG have been using a local market printer who’s shed is taken up almost entirely with a large floor standing colour laser printer.  To give you some context of the size of his shop, when he has to replace the paper in Tray 1, he has to step outside.

India Gate

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India Gate, in the heart of New Delhi is the national monument of India and by the observations of the AIG one of the most popular public spaces in the city.  Wherever you look there were people, people, people. Families enjoying the outdoors and paddling boats in the canals.  Children swimming in the pools and eating ice cream, all of India seemed to have sent a representative.

As is normal for India, along with the crowds came the hawkers selling everything from whistles to corn, water to sunglasses.  The AIG got its first “up close” with a snake charmer who obviously saw us as a group who would appreciate a show and quickly threw a couple of sacks onto the ground in front of him.  The rapid emergence of two rather large and possibly(probably?) grumpy cobras surprised and enthralled the team and reminded us, if we really needed it, that we weren’t in New Jersey this weekend.

Bengali Sweets

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Indian desserts are uniquely delicious little bits. Unlike desserts in the USA, they’re a reasonable size portion for a person that just ate a heavy curry. But like all food in India, they don’t come up short on flavor. Puddings, fudge like squares and fried delicacies come together in New Delhi at Bengali Sweets, a famous, and very crowded bakery.

One treat stood out: the Jalebi. All cultures have their fried dough but this one takes it one step further. After the thin noodle of batter is deep fried (to order of course), it’s dipped in a lightly spiced sugar syrup. The result is a very lightly crunchy swirl of shiny dough. Each bite releases a bit of the complex syrup that has soaked into the bubbles in the dough.

Chandni Chowk

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ChandniChowkChandni Chowk in Old Delhi was once the grandest of markets in all of India. In 2012 it remains impressive if simply for the density of humanity that push through its narrow side streets and stores.  The AIG, on a mission to Lal Quil’ah (the 17th century Red Fort) for some Sunday culture threw themselves into the human tides and emerged enlightened.

Observation of the day:  a man walking the streets carrying a spear…a real one.  He didn’t get jostled as much as we did.

Off to Work

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Connaught Place - DelhiConnaught Place, or CP as referred to by the locals, is Delhi’s commercial center. It also happens to be the location of the AIG’s pop-up office for the month. Located conveniently near the Rajiv Chowak metro stop at the intersection of the 2 & 3, it’s a short ride up in the tube from the Defence Colony. CP’s  streets radiate outward from the central hub dividing the area into blocks dense with shops, offices, upmarket hotels, and at the moment, plenty of construction.