Saturday, August 27, 2011

Things I Learned in India - Day 1

- Lanes appear to be optional and not required....there were maybe four to five rows of cars and mopeds in a three lane road. One could reach out and touch the passenger of a neighboring car, we were that close. "Pardon me, but do you have any Grey Poupon"
- Merging, regardless if cars are there or not, is common...hence the optional lanes.
- Traffic in the states is nothing compared to here...I could never drive in this city because I would be too tense.
- Women tend to side saddle on the back of mopeds...not safe in my opinoin (Kate witnessed an accident last time she was here because a woman's sari got caught and she was thrown off the moped)
- When stopped at lights, children go in the middle of the street to beg for money, tapping on your window and performing with back flips and twirling hats with nuts (reminded me of slum dog millionaire)
- Apparently hats that have twirling nuts are entertaining.
- Leave the bargaining to our ringleader, Kate!
- I really like chai tea in India (have never liked it in the states)
- Apparently I'm famous...I was stopped early on to have my picture taken with randoms. Then noticed several Indians filming us as we were exploring.
- No is optional to the street vendors...they don't leave you alone!
- Cassette tapes are still in...Henry, our driver, (whose name is really Rakeesh, or something like that. For whatever reason I kept thinking it was Henry) pulled one out and had to
manually wind it up with his finger to provide us with some punjabi tunes.
- I am definitely still afraid of snakes, as I ran off when a street performer whipped out a cobra behind me. Still quivering over that cobra!
- Loud farts in public are no big deal...walking up to Lotus Temple, an old man ripped the loudest fart so nonchalantly.
- It's okay to reverse about a mile back on a highway at night....this definitely happened when our taxi driver missed the turn for our hotel....

Today's events included:
- Breakfast an all American diner, where they played some classics from Johnny Cash and other old big hits. I know, I all American diner in India, but we wanted a good breakfast to start the day and it was by where we were going. We had to ease in our first day.
- Wandering the beautifully landscaped Lodi Gardens. We saw a butterfly garden, some bonsai trees, and crumbling tombs from the 15th & 16th century of Sayyid and Lodi.
- Walking through markets.
- Henry picked us up in a rickshaw and took us to the India Gate, where there is a war memorial and tomb from the unknown soldier. We could see the president's house through the statue/towers.
- We visited Safdarjang's tomb; a beautiful Mughal architecture from the 18th century
- Henry took us to some Indian shops for pashminas, saris, rugs, jewels, teas. I was a bit overwhelmed by the sales people. Kelley and I left the bargaining to our ring leader, Kate. She was a pro.
- Finally had some traditional Indian food for lunch/dinner. Delicious and not too spicy.
- Stopped at a temple, called the lotus temple, which is a Baha'i house of worship. This was a really beautiful structure of white Greek marble panels on the pedals. There were 27 pedals with nine pools surrounding.

All in all a good first day and looking forward to exploring old Delhi tomorrow. Today was spent exploring New Delhi.

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