03 February 2009

Arriving in India

Riley and I arrived safely in Delhi yesterday around 1pm. Our flight was long and uneventful...mostly slept. We arrived in the airport, exchanged some money, booked some train tickets, and then met the driver that our host, here in Delhi, sent for us. The driver's name is Shampoo (I don't know how to spell it, but that's how it sounds). It was about a 30 minute drive from the airport to the bed and breakfast we are staying at. It was exciting. The roads are everything you hear about. They drive on the left and have no concern for the lines on the road. Our driver was well skilled. The cars drive so close, you could reach your arm out the window and stick it into the car or rickshaw next to you. We did rear end one motorcycle at one point, but no one really seemed to notice. I used the imaginary brakes a few times, but really felt very safe.
When we arrived, the owner of the house, Pervez, showed us to our room and invited us for tea. We sat with him a while and then retired to our room to get settled and have a shower. Then had dinner in the home around 8:30pm. We were joined at dinner by 4 other guests. Two ladies; one from Sacramento and one from San Rafael! The lady from San Rafael works in downtown Santa Rosa, which we thought was pretty amazing. The other couple was from Colorado. It was a very nice meal and it was interesting to hear about the other folks travels and experiences around Delhi and other parts of India.
We went to bed right after dinner, I was so excited to find a king sized memory foam bed in our room. The honking cars from the street went on all night. Shampoo said that rush hour here is from 5pm-9pm!
We slept late and took our time getting ready. We headed out around 12pm. We hired Shampoo again, because we weren't comfortable enough yet to venture out too much on our own. We ate lunch at a place we looked up in our guide book...I have no idea what I was eating, but it was very good and Riley warned me about anything spicy.
Then we went sight seeing. I'm not sure what its called, but we went to the main mosque of the city. It was huge and the architecture was beautiful. Then Shampoo set us up with a bicycle rickshaw who took us into Old Delhi. It was really amazing. I was happy that we hired the guides because there is no way we would have found our way through on our own. We made our way through the narrow streets crammed with vender's and shops and then stopped. We got off the rickshaw and followed the driver through strange side streets and up some dark narrow stairs until we made it to the spice market. We couldn't catch all of what the driver was telling us, but basically they were selling bulk spices. It was very fragrant and hard to breathe with all of the bags of chili's and other spices.
Eventually, the rickshaw driver drove us by several temples of every religion and then dropped us in front of the Red Fort. We wondered through the forts elaborate architecture for an hour or so and then Shampoo picked us up outside.
We do stick out and get a lot of stares, but we aren't uncomfortable. I am becoming very good at ignoring people and not smiling when I make eye contact, like I normally do at home.
Tomorrow, I want to shop a bit for some India appropriate clothing and we are going to Gandhi's memorial museum. Oh, yeah, we saw where he was assassinated and cremated today also.
More later.


  1. This is awesome, I love hearing all these details about your trip...take photos of your new Indian clothes/Shampoo!

  2. We are reading along! How exciting! xoxo melissa