Thursday, April 1, 2010


Spring break just happened and I had a chance to go to India. It was suggested that I post lots of pictures and so here they are.

My first night. A street in Karol Bagh, a popular shopping area. Noise, lights, cars, noise. I was directed to a restaurant and had a tasty meal of spiced shrimp and drink(s) and somehow found my way back to the hotel.

The hotel - Delhi Delight of all things - was an unfortunate experience and I'm happy to say that there are better hotels in Delhi than this one. I was told the next day that there was a cinema group in town - Bollywood and all that is a big deal - and somehow the management thought that fact excused the activity - noisy activity -- that went on all night. I thought at one point that furniture was being moved along the hallways without benefit of a furniture dolly.

Here's the street. The next day the management moved me next door to their 'better' hotel and to the 'best room.' This one had a rat-sized hole in the outside wall around the air conditioner that didn't exactly work. It still was a teensy bit better than the previous room and I was trying to be a big girl about the 'situation.'

I hired a tour guide through the hotel - I suspect he was related to the manager - and he promised to take be 80 kilometers for 8 hours - or something like that and he showed me a brochure of what sights we would be seeing. And off we went...

The streets:

and the critters.

A sacred cow? By his equipment, I'd guess a sacred bull.
Delhi's version of a tent city.

I think the road workers live in the tents.

Another critter. Both monkeys and bulls are protected and are allowed to hang out wherever.

The Sikh Temple.

My guide was concerned because I didn't have a covering for my head. A male 'gate keeper' offered me a kerchief and even tied it on for me. That would not have happened in Afghanistan.

Inside the temple. A great door to the temple.
India Gate - a World War I memorial.

On the grounds around the India Gate.

The honking is incessant. Some for good reason - the minicabs have no rear view mirrors so vehicles honk to let them know where they are. That and honking is apparently the manly thing to do!
Driving in traffic is not quite the blood sport that it is in Kabul, but at times it did remind me of the automobile video games where one had to avoid falling boxes and people and cars and beat some ill-defined time. My driver did all this while talking on his mobile - in a foreign language. It was an amazing and terrifying experience.

The Baha'i Lotus Temple. I went inside - an open space where everyone sits for a while and is quiet.
It was hot when I was in India - I think it mostly always is - and full of color.

The little girl's parents kept trying to get her to pose amidst the flowers - no way!

A willing poser.

Shoes are not worn at any of the shrines or temples I visited. Somehow everyone gets their own shoes back!

A view from the temple grounds.

Raj Ghat - where Mahatma Gandi's body was cremated.

These two girls wanted to take a picture of me, so... I was probably the only westerner at the shrine that day. In fact , except for at the Taj Majal, I didn't see a lot of westerners when I was in India.

This woman sold me the flowers to put on the site.
Many of the streets are torn up. The city is in the process of putting power lines underground.

About time, too.

It was explained that the smaller bucket was to fill the larger bucket for my bath. It still looked too small to me.

This fellow was pouring what looks like milk from container to container. Don't know why.

A fun ride. But I felt guilty when going up an incline: the pedaler gets off and pushes the cart. I thought I should get off and push, too. 50 rupees is the going rate - about $1.

I hired another taxi to take me to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. It's about a 3 hour road trip from Delhi and I planned to spend the night.

At a rest stop along the way.

Dancing cobras.


Sometimes the bulls are seen working; other times they're out looking for trouble.

This is part of the community that lives near the back side of the Taj Majah.

Here's the Taj at sunset from across the Yamuna river. As we waited for the 'perfect picture' of the Taj: a local goatherd and her flock.
Here's where the westerners were - mostly Americans.

One of the two other buildings on the Taj site. Said to anchor the Taj in case of an earthquake (???)
A parrot with a home in the wall.

At sunrise. And from the front of the building.

The 4 minarets are all angled away from the building - again in case of an earthquake. The guide told me there's never been an earthquake in this area.


On the streets of Agra.

The hotel in Agra was nice - mostly. The internet was not accessible that evening and the elevator didn't work. (I was only two flights up.)
And there was a parade or some kind of street affair outside the hotel that started at 10 PM. Most of the hotel guests (me, too) hung around in the lobby (unable to sleep, I'm guessing) until the celebration was over. (Nawroz or New Years)When I got back to Delhi the next day - I moved in here. Brand new - opened in February - and Expedia offered a 1/2 price deal. I booked in for 2 nights - it was heaven.

Here's a view from the hotel. The Delhi Metro. Doesn't go many places, yet, but many new stations are being constructed -- hopefully in time for the Commonwealth Games.

I visited Delhi's zoo the next day. walked from the Metro station to the zoo - quite a hike and it was hot.

Here's a painted stork.

They were in the process of building a facility for the monkeys. Here the men are digging up the rocks and putting them on 'plates' which the women then balance on their heads and haul off.

A group of kids enjoying the shade.

So bored.

This fellow was just wandering around the grounds. Looks a little lost, doesn't he?

This lion kept roaring - the crowd loved it.

A sloth bear? This animal was not in a cage. I just happened to glance up into the trees and - wow!


And here's a white tiger that just didn't care.

Everything seemed to be blooming.

The next night I stayed at a hotel near the airport in anticipation of getting up at 4:30 am to make an early morning flight.

I'm glad I went to India.There was color and light and noise and people everywhere - and heat. But in parts, it was as sad and poor as Afghanstan. As one person said 'India is amped up to 11.'

I could walk around without escort or scarf. But I didn't find Delhi to be a pleasant city to walk in. For one thing it's almost too hot to walk far. Secondly the beggars also walk. And they walked (with me) until I finally told one that he needed to go away.
One young man helped me out when I asked him where the nearest restroom was: walked me across the street and pointed one out. How nice, I thought. He was waiting for me when I came out of the toilet.

The Taj Majal is really as beautiful as its pictures - it made my heart sing.
I would go back to India, but not to Delhi - a huge city with all the problems of huge cities. But, the good news is that it wasn't bombed while I was there.
Back to Afghanistan.

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