Flower Girl Dress by Whimsy Wendy

Flower Girl Dress by Whimsy Wendy
dropping petals... one by one.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dehli Journal Entry 10-21-08

On board the famous India Railway system, taking a train to Agra. We are officially on our tour. Yesterday we met together with our group for the first time. We are a well rounded group representing Australia, Switzerland, Canada and the U.S. We cover a wide range of ages, some of us are married, some single.
The first item was to hold our group meeting at our Delhi hotel. Our guide, Mayur is wonderful and very good with us neophyte Westerners. Following that, we (eight plus Mayur) hopped onto a public city bus with the locals. Wasn't too hot or crowded, but a long drive to Old Delhi, but the Red Fort. The bus "caller" and ticket taker, insisted we girls take seats and yelled at the guys that wouldn't get up for us. We were stared at constantly. I am perpetually surprised at how few Westerners the general must see (excluding TV of course)... but everyone is very kind and friendly. They want to practice their English with you. After arriving at Old Delhi, we ventured to Delhi's oldest and largest mosque. It was impressive in size but slightly overshadowed by the hustling of sellers outside. Very dirty and dusty entrance, but must have been a true splendor in its day. We removed our shoes and had some time to explore. Not too much to see but would be cool to see it during prayer time. IT can hold up to 20,000 people... men only.

Next we made our way to my favorite place as of yet - the Old Delhi Market. If I only would have known I would have planned to go there with more time. It is a series of very long and narrow alleys completely splattered in colorful garland shops, jewelry shops, sari fabric shops and food stalls. All in a matter of five feet across, people are walking against each other, scooters try to pass you at critical speeds and rickshaws try to run over your toes. The lights were coming on as it was getting late - a magical experience - an overload of sensory stimulation. I could have spent much more time there and would love to have bought bobbles for Whimsy Wendy.
From there we headed to a revered Siek temple and their kitchen run solely by donations and volunteers.

To cap our night off, we ventured into the newer metro service. Security check points, bag scans and body checks just to get onto the subway. The India government is try to protect any installation the Pakistanis might target. But what made this part of our journey so memorable was that at one point we had to shove our selves (virtually hurl our bodies) into a train clearly not meant to hold the sheer volume that was trying to fit in. That and a lack of sleep set me into a fit of hysterics with the rest of the group.
p.s. Had to watch closely for Pick Pockets!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Journal Entry: Dehli 10-19 and 10-20

(Picture of Our Hotel: Clark Heights in Delhi)

10/19 5 a.m.
Arrived at our hotel last night around 8 p.m. and am writing at 5 a.m. We've been up since 3:00 a.m. and very thankful for the English channels we're getting on cable TV.... we even have HBO.
If getting to our hotel last night is any indication of what our trip will be like, we are in for an adventure with a capital "A".
First think we thought when we stepped outside of the airport was "What is on fire"? The smell and smoke was seemed to be coming from close by. Our welcoming committee of one said, very casually, it was just the pollution... "smog". I'm thankful we don't have asthma.
Thank God I had a seat belt. We had just ventured out of the airport express lanes, when I felt our taxi veering sharply to the right. We were passing an elephant. And that was in the first ten minutes. Within the next forty-five minutes we drove by goats, cows, horses and a camel.
The street our hotel is on, does look like Beirut in the dark, but the hotel "Clark Heights" is clean, quiet and comfortable.
We'll be off soon to start our adventures for the day. Will try to hit Cannaught Place - an old vestige of the British rule with shops...etc.

Woke up this morning around 4:15 a.m. again. We're having a tough time adjusting to the time change!
Have been watching a lot of late night/ early morning HBO - movies I never watched at home are looking really good.
Yesterday was our own day to spend in Delhi before we meeting up with our group. We started out just trying to figure out if we wanted to risk the breakfast buffet. We ended up gambling and were pleasantly surprised. We had toast (white bread like Wonder) with jam (really sweet), really flat scrambled eggs with small chopped onions... and for our caffeine kick, we had a really sweet coffee that tastes like these is chocolate in it. After breakfast, we ran back to our room for what was to be a "little nap" and woke up at lunch time - uggh! Missed half the day.
A little fuzzy headed, we hired a car and headed into Cannaught Place and the Intercontinental Hotel. We must be feeling a little culture shocked, because we just sat in this very Western hotel and ordered Cokes with fish and chips.... used their internet cafe to send a note home to the girls. I miss them so much!
(Picture Taken Near the Entrace of the Red Fort in Dehli)

After, we had our driver head to the Red Fort. I can't believe how big it is! And true to it's name it is red.. out of red sandstone. Took some good pictures that should turn out of some perspective on scale. Lots of Indian toursists - got a lot of stares. Had to go through a secruity system and was thoroughly frisked by a female security guard. Tons people milling around, and shocked at the garbage dropped by everyone INSIDE the fort and palace.
When we left, our new friend and driver tried to scam us into an Old Delhi rickshaw ride with one of his best friend. We were very adamant "NO!" After that fiasco we decided we'd had enough and headed back to our rooms. Had really good food through room service (chicken curry and chicken friend rice). They seem to be big on Chinese food here. Made ourselves stay awake til 9 p.m. Today we meet our Intrepid group. Excited to see where everyone is from.