Monday, November 23, 2015


The flight was long, tedious, but went off without any hitches. We arrived in New Delhi, the capital,of India, a bit jetlagged , grumpy, and just wanting to lie down in a proper bed. We were met by Indian guide, Nuveen Bhatt and whisked away our hotel. Upon arriving were greeted with traditional Indian greeting of fresh chilled mango juice and a colorful chrysanthemum lei. The day was topsy turvy and we went to our rooms and tried to sleep and start sightseeing in the am. Delhi is really 2 very big cities...the "old Delhi, which was the capital of Muslim India for almost 3 centuries, and the "New Delhi", and Imperial City, which was created by the the British Raj. It is a beautiful city with trees everywhere, and millions of people and cars. So so much history!
We got up late and had a leisurely breakfast and left in the afternoon to make sense of a small taste of India. The bus system is for thrill seekers. And those with mass time on their hands. The buses are hopelessly overcrowded and driven by maniacs. In fact, everyone driving must be a maniac. They drive on the "other side", honk incessantly, and only stop when something is literally blocking them. I rarely saw women driving. We saw the Raj Ghat, which is the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, and very very simple. Indians flock to this tree lined park to pay homage and today was a school visit day by many many "boy schools". For some reason they got real pleasure out of following us and saying "Hi", and wanting one of us in a picture...with our own camera. Once started, it became a snowball affect, and not a good idea!
The city has many mosques and we went to tour the largest, the Jama Masjid, which has a courtyard which can easily hold 25,000 people. It is the largest Mosque in India. They were having Friday "prayers" so we decided to do something else while we waited for about 7,000 people to disperse. This something else was a ride on a three wheeled tricycle through many small shopping alleys lined with every kind of tiny shop. It really is hard to describe the incredible push of humanity in this human sea. There was a rhythm of movement, but I could not digest how we were actually moving against the tide of people. We were on rickety gerry rigged tricycle managed by a tiny frail man in flip flops, and somehow we got back the Mosque. It was a BIG taste of India full force!

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