What do you do when it’s 3.30am and you can’t sleep ? Well 1) you call Optus and tell them you have no service and 2) you blog!
I’ve been having one of those ‘why can’t I access my messages’ and ‘why can’t I upload my pics to the website’ moments, a technology guru I’m not but after talking to my new friend Paige at Optus ( in Mumbai) who proceeded to tell me what a beautiful country India is, my phone is now fixed and I’m working on the uploaded photos.
India is one of the most energetic amazing experiences I’ve ever had and It’s only day 2.
To start at the beginning arriving at Sydney airport and waiting for the rest of our tour to get here so we could check in together, the last person I expected to see was our friend Di. Surprise …. we all laughed and cried and were even more excited to be doing this together.
It’s a 13 hour flight to Delhi and after a long day, we arrived in India.
We are staying at the Imperial Hotel, allegedly the best hotel in Delhi where you can choose your pillow style from a menu, if you like. ? It’s a beautiful old worldly Hotel that is very dreamy ~ just like Raffles in Singapore.
After a leisurely breakfast yesterday, where the buffet went for days and was filled with anything and everything you could possibly want to eat, we hopped on our tour bus and headed into old Delhi….or as the locals call it Chadni Chowk. What’s the difference between the old and the new ?? Space, beautiful parks with big trees and big hotels!
Old Delhi is a compact rabbit warren of spice dens, nut and fruit vendors with of course typical areas like the book market where it’s a street filled with books, text books, readers and second hand. Then around the corner is the trade area~ car parts and workers lining the street with their tools in a bucket, ready to be your worker !
We arrived and immediately hit the ground all most running as Raj our guide stopped traffic and we all crossed a 6 lane road that the locals try to make into 7 or 8 lanes.
Raj showed us some amazing sights, as we stopped along the streets enjoying experiences of chai tea~ freshly made on a small gas stove, seeing the worship halls of various religions where they take beautiful offerings of flowers and fruit.
Well holy cow, we saw cows horses and donkeys carrying carts filled with produce, rubble from job sites, gas bottles to name a few. There were men sitting in doorways chopping ginger and chilli’s for the restaurant they worked at.
With 18 million people living in Delhi no space is unused, steep stairs take you up to 3 more levels of shops etc, where people sit in the stairs selling trinkets or chopping the chilies as I said before.
Raj had us up and down side streets eating Paratha a street eat that can be sour with lemon or lime or spice with some Dahl. The milk is doing delivered on a bicycle.
We were there in the 9-11 am kinda time slot, so most women were still at home doing domestics, we mostly saw men chewing tobacco, drinking tea and reading the papers whilst others set up their stalls for the day or as Raj said staying out of the wife’s way until he was needed.
After a rickshaw race to part of the old Delhi red fort we hopped back on the bus for our next eye opening experience the Sikh Temple Bangla Sahib.
We arrived just before lunch, on purpose so that we could experience their community kitchen. The temple was standing room only so we just walked through listening to the chanting and singing their hymns for me a blend of the young ( all on mobile phones) and the old coming together for their faith . To enter we had to wear a scarf and be bare foot.
After leaving the temple, we all walked next door to the community kitchen where we walked through the biggest commercial kitchen to see pots of Dahl the size of blow up swimming pools, groups of people cooking Roti’s over fire and a group of women making the roti’s. We joined the group making the roti dough ready for cooking, and learned the correct way to roll the dough . Did we wash our hands first ? Don’t be silly Did we eat ? Ahhh that would also be a no.
This very humbling experience brought tears to our eyes as we sat rolling dough to make roti’s as the next massive group of people came to eat in a non judgemental anyone is welcome way sharing a meal or helping to prepare it, all were welcome. ??
We drove to our next destination a shopping precinct and then lunch for us. After lunch we had time for a little shopping before some of us headed off to see a jeweler and have some bits and pieces made. A quick stop in our rooms, and we were treated to an amazing dinner at a restaurant in our hotel ~ The SPice Route ! An emotional evening for all and it was so special It needs its own blog post Nameste ❤️ xx