Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Delhi, India.

I am just back from an amazing trip to India. WOOOHOOOO! I am still on a bit of a travel high. It was five sense overloaded weeks, mostly in Rajasthan, with two friends both named Alex. The trip ended up being ridiculous fun, which was only enhanced by the fact that both my travel companions have the same name (see side note below). Here are some photos of our first few days in Delhi. We spent daylight hours outside and retreated to our hotel in the evening. You might think we a little cautious to begin with, not to worry, as the trip wore on we became more relaxed, silly and daring. In the coming posts you will see that we stayed up until 6am at an Indian wedding, bathed in the Ganges, covered ourselves in henna and by the last day of the trip we were riding around the streets of Delhi with fake moustaches and beards.

Some observations about New Delhi, India.
- The streets don't have nearly as many people on them as I expected.
- The poverty is in your face. As we drove from the airport, I was amazed by all the people sleeping on the side of the road, especially a family with a baby huddled around a small fire in the median strip.
- The metro is modern and super efficient. The rest of Delhi not so much, but the fact that things are inefficient and maybe a little backwards only adds to the charm.
- Customer service is gold. We were always offered a comfortable seat and a cup of tea when visiting shops. 
- Indian tea (chai) is super sweet and delicious.
- The people are genuinely friendly, eager to learn and have the best sense of humour! We loved that people didn't take life too seriously and were willing to take a few minutes out of their day to have a good belly laugh with us.
- The people probably have diabetes from all that sweet sweet chai. I don't blame them. If I was Indian, I would happily inflict diabetes upon myself. It's that good.

*Side note-  Sometimes I would also pretend to be named Alex. It was highly entertaining to watch the wide eyed reactions of the Indian shopkeepers and street food vendors. It was even more entertain when people didn't notice that we all had the same name.

India Gate

An Indian gypsy at India gate. She tried to scam us, it didn't really work. 

One of the first times I saw a baby with eyeliner on.
The beautiful Loutus Temple
Ok, so the streets might have been a little busy. 
Almost every Indian outside the Red Fort wanted a photo with Alex, even the army guys.