Me, Idun, Kanika, and Dan at a posh hotel, the nicest I'd seen in India so far.
Delhi was a required stop for 2 reasons.
1, it was our launching pad to south India.
2. I wanted to pick up the bags that Dan and I had left at the Bhasin's.
I purchased the plane ticket to Goa the night in Jodhpur,
and know I had a very short time for our stay. At around , we checked into Vivek Hotel,
dropped off our bags, and headed into town. The first place we looked
Gems, was nice, but loud, bright, and full of rock and roll music, beer, and
westerners. It was too much to swallow so quickly. Dan and I walked
to the other end of the strip and tried Malhotra and Metropolis, but both were
closed or in the process of closing. We tried Connaught
Place, but found only overpriced restaurants in
the range of RS1000 for 2.
Way nicer than our usual accomodations.
In actuality, dinner for 2 in the US
at a fancy restaurant for $25 would be a steal, but I was settled into my RS 30
to 100 meals. The over inflated price was unpalatable.
hopped into another rickshaw and arrived back at Gems, just as it was
closing. They sat us and we ate. Opting for street eating can sometimes
be diarrhea roulette. Again, we ended up just where we
started. It’s a running theme. :)
to Delhi was both exciting and
revolting. Paharganj is situated by the New Delhi
railway station. It is home to unsavory drug dealing residents and a
plethora of backpacking travelers taking advantage of Delhi’s
budget accommodations. Walking down the bazaar, I felt invigorated by the
buzz of energy, absent in the Rajasthan desert. The neon fluorescent
lights, the kaleidoscope colors of merchant shops passing by, the white face
tourists starkly contrasting the soot covered walls, the horns sounding as
un-mufflered cars, rickshaws, motorcycles, and trucks chugged down the narrow
street whisperingly close to me, nappy street dogs, and cows. All the
while, shopkeepers yelling out for attention to their wares, the peppered
sounds of foreign languages ~ German, English, Dutch, Swedish, French,
Hebrew. The streets smelled of putrid sweetness, roasted peanuts from the
peanut stand, urine, and rotting garbage from the gutter, cow crap from
everywhere, curry from within restaurants, exhaust from passing vehicles ~ all
mixing with the sour body odor of the street’s residents. India
constantly pulls you between extremes, oscillating between pleasure and
unpleasantness until it all mixes into a beautiful collage of smells,
sensations, and tastes.
next morning at breakfast at Sam’s (on our hotel roof), over a masala omelet
and coffee, we met Idun. An attractive 21 year-old Swedish girl traveling
India for 2
weeks alone. She was glad to join us after the travails of journeying
alone. I ran off to meet the Bhasins. Over a quick and unexpected
lunch, I retold my travels in Rajasthan and McLeod. Mr. Bhasin was off to
play golf, and Mrs. Bhasin had to care for her granddaughter. I was
blessed that they made time for me. I was disappointed to leave in the
middle of Mrs. Bhasin explaining the power of love and before I could show pictures.
But I promised to spend more time when I returned in February.
Back at Paharganj, I reunited with Dan and Idun. We hopped aboard a
Rickshaw and booked to Connaught Place
to meet Kanika for coffee. Kanika is a sweet and warm Indian woman we met
in passing in the Jaisalmer desert. A Delhi
native, who lived in LA and was thinking of retuning to SF, we instantly
bonded. We laughed over our coffee and poured chocolate cakes down our
throats. We explored the subterranean bazaar and I hopped a rickshaw to
Aqua, a beautifully decadent hotel with a proper bar, service, and American
prices. I eagerly awaited my AJWS initial conference call that never
occurred. I had not received the cancellation email... we drank the
night away over beers, food, and poolside chique ambience.
the night of 12/4/05, Idun
decided to join us in Goa, and we talked her out a 36
hour train ride from Delhi to Goa.
That night, Dan retired early and I helped Idun book a next-day flight.
We left at for an flight aboard Indigo.
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