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!