Okay, if I haven’t mentioned yet, I joined a tour for India. The only one on my whole trip. It’s through Intrepid which tries to stay local and balance tours with free time. Now it begins.
We head toward the metro and our tour leader points out the ladies only car at the front of the train. The trains are crowded so we split up, ladies in the ladies car. The guys right next door.
Our first stop is Jama Masjid, One of India’s largest mosques. I’m excited for this as the mosques in Instanbul were so amazing. The mosque uses the red sandstone that I’ll see a lot of in the next two weeks. We have to take off our shoes which I’m not keen on but just go with it. (Hot ground, kind of dirty) Despite being dress appropriately, I’m given a one size fits all robe. They don’t care if your head is covered. The mosque is different from the ones I’ve seen. It’s a large courtyard without an interior. Can’t imagine praying with the sun beaming down on you. It was a quick stop and I only got one bad photo. You pay extra to take photos inside.
Walking through some areas of Delhi, there’s definitely culture shock. You’ve read about it but it’s another thing to be in it. The crowds, constant honking, dirt, garbage and colorful clothing. There’s a lot to take in.
It’s also a nice place to take in the madness that is typical of Delhi traffic.
We exit the metro and already tuktuks are waiting. Some guy comes up to us to “help” as he’s “waiting for his wife.” I’m sure he’s been waiting all day, all week. We try to lose him. We start talking to a driver and are getting in when the guy shows up again and some short guy joins the driver. No, no, it’s closed now he says. He wants to take us to a nice market then the site will be open later. Ugh.
We spend most of the ride arguing, threatening not to pay. I have google open to see where we’re going and eventually the driver takes us the right way. Good grief! Delhi is quickly becoming my least favorite place.
So we’re at the India Gate. People stare and they want a photo with you. Or ignore what you say and stand near enough to get a photo with you as though you don’t notice this at all. Ugh. One woman nearly squeezes hena onto my my arm. Geez. I would have no issue with wiping that off on her clothes if it got that far. Back off people.
We take a few photos and walk down to the parliament buildings. It’s too hot for this yet the grass is muddy? How can it be? We take some more photos but not really into exploring more. It’s hot and neither of us wants to try our luck with a tuktuk. There’s a nearby metro station that we take back to the hotel. Why couldn’t our tour leader suggest the metro?
Back at the hotel, I’m still in the same room as before. I asked the receptionist if I need to change rooms but he says no. (Looking back on this, he probably let me stay in the sad room in hopes of up selling the better room.) A guy comes by asking to clean the room. The new sheets are cleaner than the first and I have towels now. The towels don’t look great but they’re there. I have no luck in Delhi. Here’s hoping for hot water!
I relax and enjoy the AC. I have dinner at the hotel and watch Dance India Dance. It’s strange because they randomly switch betwen English and Hindi which requires a lot of concentration… So I just focus on the dancing.