14 March 03 - New Delhi
New Delhi - 14 March 2003
Namaste! We made it!!
Our flights were fine, although Aeroflot Russian Airlines will NEVER be ranked as one of the Top Ten Airlines! Asking the Flight Attendant for a drink which they don't have, b/c you couldn't understand her broken English will not get you 'service with a smile'!
Delhi is absolute SENSORY OVERLOAD!! we were advised of this in advance by many friends who have had the pleasure of experiencing this country (or one like it!)... but hearing about it and living it just aren't the same!
Everyone is very friendly, but there is NO such thing as "personal space"! Especially when u r from the West. Add being woman and one with blond hair to that personal description and you might as well be walking down the street naked with the many long stares and "accidental" gropes you get in crowded areas! Eric has certainly gotten his share of stares, but think he is a little upset that he hasnt been groped yet!!
We have been traveling by 'Indian Helicopter' all over Delhi. What is an 'Indian Helicopter' u might ask... it's an Auto-Rickshaw - a very tiny vehicle that is a cross btwn a rickshaw/scooter/bumper car! Just when you think you missed one, there are 10 more behind the last one all willing to give you a ride for "good price". They are quite fun to travel in, but as they say in Disney... "please keep all arms & legs in the vehicle" and if you had eyes in the back of your head, they would come in handy too!
While trying to recover from jet lag, we have managed to see quite a few things. We have gone to Old Delhi to see Lal Qila (Red Fort) the largest of Delhi's monuments built by the Moghul's. The fort originally housed public & private buildings used by the emperor and his court, as well apartments for his many wives & mistresses! Next was the Jami Masjid, India's largest mosque which has a beautiful ritual pool in the center. Our second day brought us to Humayun's Tomb, the first Mogul mausoleum. The mausoleum and other surrounding tombs are spectacular not to mention the beautiful gardens and motes that surround them. We hit the National Museum an hour before it closed and did the 'express' tour which was just fine and then made our way to Connaught Place, the cities hub for some eats!
It's off to Agra to see the Taj Mahal tomorrow... that's if we can figure out the train schedule! The train station is complete chaos and everyone's buddy has price information for you, but funnily enough none of the prices have seemed to match up! I have faith in my chief negotiator Eric, that he will make it all come together, but I have a funny feeling Ill be riding with the cows all the way there!!