We’ve finally arrived after months of anticipation and a 14 hour flight. I had planned parts of the trip months ago and thought little more about it. Recently, I had been so busy with work that Â that I didn’t have a minute to spare and barely thought about the trip at all.
Our driver was waiting to take us to our home stay Sai Villa in the GK-2 area of South Delhi. Â The airport was huge and modern and air conditioned. But once we left it for the long walk to the car park the hot humid air was thick. The traffic is notorious in Delhi and did not disappoint! It is chaotic, a wild ballet of movement and noise.
We were both wondering how much had changed in India over the past 21 years. An errand in the morning gave us the chance to find out. We needed a universal adaptor (the one we packed didn’t work) so we asked Shankar at the office where we might find one. He said “it’s a 15 minute walk, up the hill, very near the China garden restaurant” and gave us a little hand drawn map. We decided to walk, to take some pictures and explore the neighborhood. Second left, second street to the right… easy. But not so clear once you are there! And hot and sweaty. After asking 3 times for directions we were lost so we hired an auto rickshaw to go to the market. That was just half the battle. Asking again we finally found the store but it was closed, opening in 15 minutes. Â We needed to wait and went to a coffee bar to cool down, drink some water and wait. There were 2 coffee bars on the street as well as trendy restaurants and shops. It was clear that Delhi had changed.
Afterwards we decided to visit the National Museum. The museum is open but under construction and was fascinating. The guidebook said that there was an attractive cafe on the top floor. Not the words that I would choose, but we were hungry and ate there anyway. The dal and curries were Â simple and delicious.
Next up was a quick stop at the Khan Market to visit the store The Good Earth. We arrived just as it started to rain so we ducked into the store and went upstairs to their restaurant for a quick drink to wait out the storm. It’s a lovely store but very expensive. I have always loved looking at soap and I was amazed to see a bar of soap selling for 800 Rs. or about $18.00! I wouldn’t have been shocked at those prices in Tokyo or New York, but Delhi?
Next we went to Humayun’s Tomb, a gigantic masoleum built about 100 years before the Taj Mahal. The gardens were peaceful after the chaos and noise of delhi and the light was beautiful after the rain at dusk.
The following morning we arranged a walk at the Qutb Minar Complex with Surekha Narain, http://www.delhimetrowalks.com/home.htm. We would be picked up Surekha at 6:30am to drive to Qutb Minar, see the complex and another site then go out for a south Indian breakfast. The experience was amazing. We saw things we would not have seen without going with Surekha, especially the flower market. The south Indian breakfast was divine. She went out of her way to show us Delhi.