2010-11-05 28 77
In south-eastern New Delhi, India.
In was already 5pm when Steve and I, just back that morning from an epic cycle tour through the Himalayan Spitti Valley up north, discovered an accessible geohash in New Delhi's south-east. We quickly recorded the co-ords, got some snacks, ran back to the internet cafe to re-record the accidentally lost co-ords, then jumped onto Delhi's new metro system towards the hash.
After two train-switches we were on our way. Alighting from the carriage we found ourselves embroiled in the pyrotechnic chaos of the Hindu celebration of Diwali. The randomly exploding fireworks so excited us on our two kilometre walk to the hash-proper that we even accosted a group of kids so as to buy some for our own purposes. These guys readily handed us a few for free and invited us to light some of theirs ourselves, generating violent explosions that had us fearing for our hearing and skins.
During the ensuing long walk to the sacred Yamuna River and into the 'slummish area' of the geohash we were surrounded by the air-pummeling sounds of distant fireworks from all over town - in abandoned grasslands, from shanty-towns and through gleaming industrial estates.
At last we were within a few metres of the hash, ironically located in the only area not affected by Diwali - a Muslim suburb. It was with great disappointment that we realised that it was 70m beyond a large concrete wall. Approaching the geohash from the rear we soon found that our disappointment was premature - a demolished building gave us access to the hash vicinity.
Now, there was some debate at this point as to whether we really achieved the geohash: we got to within 7m of the hash on Stevage's GPS, which is within the precision of the device - especially as the signal was being relayed through the narrow gaps between the tall buildings. However, the rough centre of the vague circle the GPS pointed to as the hash location sat within a house which we were forbidden to enter by the suspicious inhabitants, so success was not conclusive. On the other hand, we were well within the usual precision of my own GPS, so I think we can call it a success until we get a shellacking on the discussion page.
On the return we got lost within the randomly twisting streets of the subdued Muslim community, stopped for dinner at a confusing local eatery, ate meat for the first time in quite a while, and finally re-entered the Diwali war-zone.
Unfortunately, the metro had closed-down for the holiday and we were forced to wait for a bus... which we foolishly abandoned after learning it was not heading to the exact location we wanted to get to. After waiting for a while on the side of the road and being refused entry onto other buses as they went offline for the holiday we finally begged our way onto a bus that took us somewhere from which we could get an auto-rickshaw into town.
Which was an incredible post-apocalyptic dystopia. Even the police were giddily setting off fiery bombs as they ran behind their patrol cars to giggle at the displays. There really was no other activity in the whole city as we slunk our way through classical colonnades with ripped-out paving stones and electrical wires, through the descending gloom and haze of the gunpowder and into the sporadic light of the citizenry's aimless attack on their own community.
Having a late-night tea at a rooftop cafe we engorged ourselves on the sheer scale of our explosive surroundings and admired the cracks, bangs and whooshes of dozens of different designs before finally heading home to set off our own pair of fireworks form our hotel balcony. A crazy night for Stevage's Diwali finale in New Delhi.
Time of hash: 7:35pm
Total time for geohash: 4.5 hours, including the crazy return journey.
More coming soon: I let Stevage get on a plane with all the best photos still on his camera.
| Felix Dance and Stevage earned the Land geohash achievement
|Felix Dance and Stevage earned the Virgin Graticule Achievement|
| Felix Dance and Stevage earned the Public transport geohash achievement