MEETING DAD IN DELHI 12/5/12-12/6/12
It was so great to see my Dad when I got picked up upon my arrival at the airport in Delhi. I had a great time with Joe and Nicole but I was looking forward to enjoying a father-son bonding adventure. We had the concierge recommend us a local place to eat and we decided to walk there. We came to regret that decision. After our first few steps outside the hotel gate, we were being chased by auto-rickshaw drivers offering us a ride. Then we soon realized we were rather lost in a city that had streets quite different from those we were used to back home. The area called Connaught Place was organized in giant circles around a central park and the blocks were named with letters. Also, there was a lot of construction that prevented us from walking directly to where we needed to go and in some cases, forced us to walk in the street next to the speeding cars. Between the dust in the air from all the construction and the smog that lay over the city like a suffocating blanket, we finally made it to the restaurant with sore throats. Joe had told me that getting around in India is very different than getting around in Europe, and that walk made me realized he was right. Without having a friend to take me around, I felt lost and uncomfortable, and we took a taxi back to the hotel.
First we went to the Jama Masjid Mosque, which was a beautiful building along with a fascinating cultural experience. It was the first time I had ever been to a mosque, and it felt a little awkward at first. But soon we had our shoes off and we were walking around the big courtyard area where everyone prays. The guide gave us a lot of great information about the building and the royal family’s prayer rituals. We climbed the narrow stairs to the top of the minaret and had a magnificent and expansive view of Old Delhi. Our drive around the old part of the city showed us just how much poverty there is here, and also how busy and crowded the streets are. I don’t know how I thought I was going to be able to just walk around the old streets here by myself. We realized, however, that Delhi is full of nice pockets of peace and quiet, like the gardens around Humayun’s tomb. While inside, it is hard to imagine that just outside the walls is a wild city of millions trying to survive day to day.