First Day in Delhi
After 2 long flights and 10 time zones, we arrived in New Delhi just past midnight on Tuesday, on a journey that started Sunday. After collecting our luggage and passing through immigration, which included a silly, malfunctioning fingerprint reader, we exited into a chaotic hubub of people waiting for passengers. One guy had a sign with Maria’s name on it, so that part worked! We had arranged a ride from the airport with our AirBnB. The guy took us on the 45 minute drive to the apartment in the center of New Delhi. Third floor and mercifully, air conditioned. We conked out.
Up at 6:45 to get into Old Delhi where we had booked an adapt-to-the-time-change-or-
die-trying 8:00am tour of the old city. We took a tuktuk (3 wheeled motorized death taxi) and got ripped off, paying $10 for a $1 ride. We learned the rates from the tour guide, so now check before we go anywhere.
The tour was not a tour, it was an experience. Our guide was not a guide, he was a friend. 5 friends, all with good jobs, take tourists through Old Delhi for fun, and a little money. Varun, our host, works in tech product development. “So please, don’t insult your friend by offering me a tip.” And it was the best experience, wandering the back alleys of the city watching people at work and seeing the environment up close. There were 5 of us, a middle aged couple from Scotland, a young woman from China, and us. We had a delicious Indian breakfast, freshly fried light bread with chick peas and a spicy sauce. We went to a wholesale flower market, climbed up to a rooftop to get a birdseye view, visited a wholsale spice market where everyone sneezed their brains out, went into a Hindu temple, rode a bicycle rickshaw through mobs of people starting out their day.
The highlight was visiting the haveli of Dhruv, the guy who started this business. His haveli, or mansion, has been in his family for generations. He restored it over 15 years. It’s furnished with beautiful antiques, most from his family, who are quite prominent. His grandfather was in the first Indian cabinet after independence. He served us a home cooked lunch which was fantastic. Indian flavors are unique and very tasty, and this was perfect.
Here’s a link:
Back at the apartment, we took a nap then walked to a little grocery shop. This was about 1/2 mile round trip, but seemed much longer in the 103 degree heat. The shop was about 8ft square, where we got a liter of yogurt and 2 liters of water for $2.50. We boiled a couple of eggs for dinner (the landlady had stocked the fridge with some basics) and went to bed. We had a 4:15 wake up for the next day.