This is the first of several posts I am going to do about our trip to India. This was the trip I wanted to make when we decided we were moving to Singapore. I told him the night we decided "Okay, we will go, but you have to take me to India". I have been dying to go since I saw Bend it Like Beckham, when I was 15 (yes, you can all laugh, but hey it got me interested in a different and new culture so two thumbs up for that movie). India has been at the top of my travel list for forever. At first it was just that would be so cool, but as the years past I and I learned more about this place, I knew that I would one day make it there. And we did!!!
We left Singapore in the morning and had a direct flight to the Indira Ghandi International Airport in Delhi. It was about six hours. We almost didn't make it. We slept through our alarm, and had to jump out of bed, book a cab, then get dressed, run down to the cab and pray all the way to the airport that we would make it. The check in desk said our gate was closed and was working on getting us onto later flight that day, but then magic happened (Harry Potter is real!) and let us through. We still had thirty minutes till our flight took off when we made it to the gate, but that set the tone for our trip. We hit the ground running.
Once we got to Delhi, we had booked a tour with Melissa Tours. We met our tour guide, Praveen, and our driver, Raj, dropped our stuff off at the hotel and started touring Delhi!
We were starving, so we first had lunch at a restaurant I cannot remember the name too, but it was on the road with a bunch of the embassies, so it is where a lot of diplomats eat. The food was amazing. We got sweet lassis, tandoori chicken, mutton rogan josh, rice, and so much naan bread. I could eat naan bread everyday. That got our blood sugar back up and we were ready to start sightseeing.
The best way to describe India is ordered chaos, at least traffic. Raj said that "Americans drive on the left side of the road, the English drive on the right, and Indians drive down the middle". He was totally right. There really weren't any traffic lanes. Everyone just went for it, and it works.
|Raj sent me this selfie. Had to share it since I will be talking about him a lot. He was with us the whole time we were there.|
There were a lot of tourists there, mostly Indian. Lyndon was surprised at how few Western tourists we saw the whole trip. A little girl asked me to take a picture with her. I obliged, but then these two grandpas jumped right next to me (like right next to me. No personal space whatsoever) and had their friend start snapping photos, then the little girl's family wanted some photos, then some other grandpas wanted some photos, and I finally had to say no more, and walk away. Like I said, most of these tourists were from India, and I was the first white blonde person they were seeing in real life. Raj told us that. Makes sense, since India has almost as many people as China does. They were nice, but I was on vacation too. One of our later tour guides told us that we should start charging money and they would run away. We did not try that, but said "no" when we were not feeling up to it. I didn't mind the photo here and there, but this was a little much. I am used to being started at and people taking pictures of me and the kids (someone actually took a video of us on the train today), and it really doesn't bother me. I just keep my head held high and look forward, but in India it was a different story. Those Indian men are very friendly. Lyndon was feeling very protective of me as the outing went on.
When we got into the old city, our driver started taking us down these tiny lanes. People were walking, pulling wagons, riding motorcycles. It was busy and bumpy. I really liked it. Seriously best way to see Delhi, and really the only way to the spice market. I would jump on a tuk tuk and do it again in a heartbeat. It was really an adventure. Most things we do I do not think of as really adventurous, but this one was an adventure. Above the streets the electric cables were just layered on top of each other. It was like a roof of cables over the streets. It was really busy, we passed a lot of shops that were for weddings in one area, and so on. It took us a while to make it to the spice market. On our way we saw, dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, camel, ox, and monkeys. All those living in one of the busiest places probably in the world. Seriously like Shibuya busy, but in India.
Like you can imagine the spices were in sacks displayed out in front of shops. The shops were selling nuts, dried fruits, all sorts of teas. The smells were very strong. As our guide took us to the top of the spice market building everyone was coughing because the smells were so strong. We were coughing, because we are not used to it, but the people who were hauling the spices around that are used to it were coughing as well. It made me want to laugh because we were all coughing novices and professionals alike. Lyndon asked me how my grandma (Baba) would take to the smell. I started laughing out loud because she would have died from how strong the smell was. She cannot handle strong smells. The spice market would have killed her it was so strong (I love you so much Baba. It is a running joke about smells in our family because Baba cannot handle them. Gotta air out the kitchen, Baba's coming over. Nothing mean. We love her to so much.). Anyway, our guide took us to the rooftop of the spice market and we had incredible views. Saw a monkey going into someone's home, that stinks, also saw a courtyard to a mosque. It was just incredible.
We took the tuk tuk back to Raj and the van. Went back to the hotel, and went to bed. India day one was incredible.
I was worried that the trip might be a little much. I was not focusing on the trip until the day before, because kids. I had to retrain my brain a little bit because India is the most foreign country we have visited. People do wear western clothes, but most still wear the traditional Indian clothes like the panjabi and sari. Men wear dress pants and button up shirts. And it is poor, and dirty, and people asking you for money because you are Western, and just very very different. I had to remember that this was not a tropical paradise vacation. And that was totally fine. We wanted to experience India, and we did. It was incredible! I wish we could have stayed a lot longer than we did. I just do not want to paint a picture like it was this paradise. For our mouths it was, Indian food is amazing. There is a lot to take in. We just sat back, took it all in, and enjoyed ourselves. India is incredible and we started on a high and it just kept getting better and better.