We landed in India at 11:30 Sunday morning. The last flight was a tightly packed plane with one bathroom, not so great lunch, and the United Nations of passengers. We again took China South airlines. With the first stop in China, I would estimate 80 percent were Chinese and they were connecting to other larger metropolitan in China. Our six hour connection to Delhi the passengers were Australians, a family from Mexico, a lady from Peru, a man from Delhi, some college students from Southern California, and me…at least those were the people immediately around me. Many were staying and traveling around India. I was fascinated with the Mexican family. The traveling family was Grandpa, Grandma, three siblings and their spouse, with five grandkids, all teenager age. They were headed to Nepal! I didn’t ask too many questions, but they were bubbling in my brain. My friend and traveling buddy, Jason, always gets mad when I ask questions. He says its like an assault rifle, rapid fire one after the other, and sometimes you can’t recover before the next one is aimed at you. What can I say, I am curious by default.
Anyway the never ending plane ride was horrible for my rear end again! I am not sure how to physically prepare for sitting, but I needed something and extra pillow? Some memory foam? Something! We again were traveling against the time zone, so what felt like an hour was like two! But we made it!!!
The Delhi airport looks like the CNN center with glass windows and offices spaces everywhere looking into the rotunda where flight information can be located. At least what I could observe as we were flying through the corridors because Jason wanted to be first at immigration. We were first but Jason and Rebecca choose the wrong officer’s line. I was in and out, finger prints, mug shot, and signature in about five minutes. I waited in the post passport stamp area for a solid fifteen minutes. No worries, I stood trying to connect to WiFi and also sales people were already haggling me to purchase alcohol, duty-free! I have no earthly idea what that means, I am assuming duty-free is no tax. I guess I looked like a Johnny Walker red girl. At least the sales person thought so, I politely said no thank you at least four times. They hustle hard in India to make a sale.
Diego met us at baggage claim. We exchanged money. I exchanged $300 USD for $18000 rupees (not rubies, right mom?!) Inside story, still in adulthood my learning disability surfaces. Seeing and saying rupees was not matching. My mom set me straight!
After money we headed to a pre-paid taxi service. For four people and our luggage, it was 500 rupees which is about $8 USD. Of course you risk your life with the crazy traffic. Many of the doors of this old volkwagen style van were dented and difficult to open. Being Sunday traffic was light, says Diego. A thirty minute ride and we arrived at our hotel, HOME@F37. Not sure why it is name that, but it will suffice. It is clean, has private bathroom, and breakfast service.
After settling in, we adventured just down the block to Storm Bar and Grill. When you walked into the space it was like the movie Night at the Roxbury with Will Ferrel and his sidekick where they dance with just head bobs. Black and grey velvet upholstery everywhere, metallic mosaic tiles on the columns, ceiling, and floors, a wall with backlighting and shelves with colorful bottles. It appeared to be a confused night club. With sports posters in random places, flags of India and other countries, and hooka pipes on each table. The menu was loaded down with Mexican classics like nachos and fajitas, and American style wings, but the reviews Diego saw on TripAdvisor was that “it was weird, but great Indian food”. The review was correct. The weird atmosphere was worth the delicious garlic naan (thin crust bread), spicy pesto chicken, curry chicken, and some other pork dishes that everyone was raving about, but don’t eat pigs! It was SOOOOO good! Per person the cost was 800r (rupees), converted to about $11 USD! The quality and quality of that food in America would have been nearly $25. And some of the boys drank a beer or two. That’s included in the price! Insanity how inexpensive everything is!
After dinner we took a tuk-tuk ride to the Lotus Temple. Small kids outside the gates were hustling brackets, snacks, and toys. I am the easiest target in India: tall, light brown hair, fair skin, and green eyes. It’s like the simplist Where’s Waldo game ever!
The temple is free. They only allow about 100 people in at a time. There is a series of reflection pools. You have to take you shoes off and they can’t be visible must be placed in a bag covered up, no outside food, and no photos inside the temple. I have a link to some information on the temple don’t want to spend too much of your time. http://www.bahaihouseofworship.in
And I have to go to sleep for another full day of exploring. Tomorrow is dedicated to Gandhi and Old Delhi.