New Delhi, India
Today would be our first full day in India.
I guess we were both still tired as we fell asleep pretty quickly last night. Maybe it was the jet lag or maybe it was the wine. Whichever, we both slept until about 6:30. We got up and showered before checking to see if our friends had arrived at the hotel.
Since I’m a rank amateur at using my phone internationally, I finally figured out how to get calls without roaming data. Once I figured it out, we saw that we had a message – thinking our friends were still in Dubai. We headed down to the restaurant and had a wonderful breakfast. It is an international buffet with foods from India, Asia, Britain and then some continental items. Just like the evening before, the staff were great. Seeing to our needs, describing the various foods and chatting a little bit about our trip and things to see.
After we were both full, our server pushed us to try a dosa – he promised it would be a small one. It was and it was delicious. It’s a very thin, steamed dough (made from lentils and chick peas) that you dip in a semi spicy vegetable stew. You can add various chutneys to it for a very flavorful treat. Enough – we’ll burst. 🙂
Walking out of the restaurant, we came across our friends in the lobby. Seems that their messages were not sent this morning, but rather they just came through this morning when I adjusted my phone settings. It was a happy re-acquaintance and made even better by the addition of our friend’s sister and brother-in-law. It looks like it should be a good traveling group for the week ahead.
They had made arrangements for a van to take us into some of the shopping markets for the day starting at 11:00 am. It arrived on time so off we went. The ride over was a real eye-opener. Traffic was heavy with cars, motorcycles, tuk tuks, rickshaws, bicycles and trucks all vying for the same space. Horns were beeping constantly with people cutting into and out of traffic, zig zagging their way down the roads.
We arrived at the market and came upon a hectic scene. Lots of people, lots of stores and street stalls and vendors walking down the street persistently pushing their wares. If you wanted it, you could find it. The women were geared up for shopping, with Sue only slightly interested. Again, it was a real eye-opener. It is probably like that in many places, but we tend not to visit them when we travel unless we need something – like pastries or wine!
After some shopping, we stopped for something cool to drink. The place we stopped had sweets, light food and ice cream. Sue and I were still digesting that big breakfast so we just grabbed some soda pop to drink. Our friends indulged in some sweets besides beverages.Afterwards, we were headed to another market, but instead our friends had the driver go to the Lotus Temple. It was one of the places I had mentioned that I wanted to see. Despite us saying we would go when we returned from the train trip, they insisted that we go. It was very nice of them.
The Lotus Temple is a structure built by the Baha’i Faith as a place for meditation and prayer. It’s called the lotus temple because of its architecture. As with all temples in India, we were required to remove our shoes before going to the temple. There is a shoe check spot along the way to the temple. The temple was quite large with rows of benches for you to sit and pray. It really was a beautiful structure – one of many that we will see along our journey.
After the temple, we headed back to the hotel. Lots of traffic, but we returned safely to relax and rest up before dinner. When we arrived back, my new friend from the night before Aradhna was there and waved as we arrived. We thanked her for the wine and told her how much we enjoyed it. She is just so nice. I’m going to see if she will take a picture with me before we leave.
Up to the room for a little rest before dinner. We’ll be eating in the hotel restaurant this evening. Much like breakfast, they have an international dinner buffet. The selections included Indian, English, Asian and Italian food. Everything was delicious and we all were full from the meal.
My friend Aradhna gave us another gift, a 25% food discount coupon that the restaurant used for all six of our meals. We made sure to stop by the lobby and thank her again and to say good bye until we return next Sunday.
Upstairs to get some rest. We meet for breakfast in the morning before the start of our train journey.