Everybody is hoping for the Capital to become a World Class City by October 3, when the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games come to town.
There are some who believe that Delhi already is a world class city, thanks to a range of swanky shopping arcades, multi-cuisine restaurants, a thriving theatre scene and an exciting nightlife.
Well, we will find out the truth. Each week, HT City will compare Delhi to one foreign city, to find out where we score and where we lose points.
Today, we see how we stack up against South Korea’s capital, Seoul.
Waterways: Thumbs down
What new can one say about the Yamuna river, other than that it
is so filthy and needs a thorough cleaning? Far from being a tourist zone, it actually
divides the city into two social camps — south Delhi and Trans-Yamuna.
Waterways: Thumbs up
The six km-long Cheonggyecheon stream is the most popular
hangout zone for lovers in Seoul. It flows into the Han River, where a popular ferry ride gives you a magnificent view of the glitzy South Korean capital.
Food: Thumbs Down
There’re several Korean restaurants, such as De Seoul in Khel Gaon Marg, Kumgang’s Gonie at The Ashok hotel, Dokebi Nara in Paharganj and Gung the Palace at Green Park. They make it as authentic as they can, but it comes at a high prices. Otherwise, Delhi’s usual street food is mostly vegetarian, mostly unhygienic and mostly delicious.
Food: Thumbs up
There are lots of restaurants serving good Indian food. But don’t expect the curries to be hot. Even the samosas are bland. Street food is hygienic and vendors wear plastic gloves. If you are a non-vegetarian, there’re many delightful street food options. Take your pick from several dishes of pork, prawns, fish and beef.
Airport: Thumbs down
Indira Gandhi International Airport has a long way to go before it reaches the level of Seoul’s Incheon. The duty free shops are not impressive. There are not many computer terminals to kill waiting time by browsing in the net. But we must say that the staff here is friendlier.
Airport: Thumbs up
Incheon Airport was named the world’s best airport in 2009 for the fifth consecutive year. The airport has a spa, a garden, a mini golf course and many duty-free shops. Think of a brand and you will get it. The best part: Once you get out of the arrival lounge, taxi drivers don’t mob you.
Monuments: Thumbs up
The problem with Delhi is that it has too many ruins, tombs and forts, and most of them are shabbily maintained. But if you have a taste for the past, you will never stop loving this city.
Monuments: Thumbs down
This is a city of skyscrapers, with very few monuments. Those that do exist are well-maintained, and the walls of palaces and shrines haven’t been disfigured by lovers’ scrawls.
Public hygiene: Thumbs down
Apart from men peeing anywhere and everywhere, washrooms are separate for ladies and gentlemen. Delhi has more public toilets than Seoul, though they are filthier.
Public hygiene: Thumbs up
Men don’t pee in public, but here you have common toilets for men and women. For some girls, it may be a strange experience to enter a loo and walk past a row of peeing men.