Taking it Easy in Delhi

Well, after more hours traveling than I care to remember, I made it to my hotel in Delhi last night [this morning, rather] at 2:00 am! I don't think I have ever been so happy to see any human being as I was to see the gentleman from the hotel holding a sign with my name on it, waiting for me after customs in the Delhi airport. A little Hindu angel from heaven, as far as I was concerned!

So, by the time I got settled and took a MUCH needed shower, I didn't get to bed until 2:30. I decided I would just sleep until I woke up, which was right around 11:00 am [not even in my college days did I sleep until 11:00 am!]--it felt great. After a trip to the gym, another shower, and a bit of breakfast, I was ready to go. However, I decided to take it easy today: I hired a car to take me to Agra tomorrow [the Taj!], and it is 4 hours one way! That means we will be leaving at 6:00 am and probably not be back until 8:00 or 9:00 pm; then, I leave Delhi the following day. So, rather than cram today full, I just gave up the idea that I will be able to see much of Delhi at all, and used this afternoon to acclimate to being in India--that takes some doing.

First, I found out it is pretty hard to walk around, primarily because India has the most outrageous traffic I have ever seen. Every possible mode of conveyance is on the road at all times: pedestrians on the margins, bicycles, bicycle rickshaws, touks [see below], motorcycles, cars, etc. And, the lane-lines are little more than widely disregarded suggestions, rather than normative rules. All this makes for utter, utter chaos--plus, they drive on the left side of the road here, which means I am constantly looking in the wrong direction. I'm hoping I get the hang of that sooner rather than later, just so there will be a "later"! Did I mention that everyone honks their horn all the time, too? Luckily the touks are cheap--I road the one in the picture below out to the Sri Laxmi Narayan Temple--those are the next three pictures. It is one of the most popular Hindu temples in Delhi: it was inaugurated by Gandhi on the condition that the temple be open to everyone, particularly dalits [those outside the caste system, sometimes referred to as "untouchables"], for prayer. I really enjoyed walking around both the Temple itself, and the larger park complex of which it is a part.

Before that, however, I went to the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib--a beautiful Sikh shrine. Those are the next pictures--the big white building. I was really glad I was wearing my shalwar kameez, a traditional form of Indian dress. I brought five of them, and they are all I plan to wear: they are great, because you don't have to worry about modesty, and when you go to a temple, you can use the scarf as a head covering. [I needed to do that at the Gurdwara--both men and women wear head coverings there.] I feel less conspicuous, too, which is nice--although I certainly can't hide the fact that I am a foreigner!

Now I am back at the hotel, getting ready for supper, and preparing for a long--but fun--day tomorrow!