Day 10 (first day in Delhi)
So Delhi is busy!!! Really busy. There’s more space than Aizawl but every inch of that space is packed. We had an early breakfast at the restaurant next door, but man do I crave some American breakfast! Some nice cereal with cold milk would be amazing right now, my mouth is done with spiciness! But there are so many random workers in India. For example there was someone at this small café whose job it was to toast your toast! You went up to a window, pointed to the bread you wanted and then he toasted it. Even though the toaster was on the counter you couldn’t toast it yourself! But hey at least he is employed. I ended up just eating toast with honey on it for breakfast.
Then we headed to the tour bus after presenting the hotel with our passports. At the hotels in India you have to present your passport upon checking in and checking out so they can keep track of you I guess. There was a beggar boy by our bus and I asked him if he would accept a pack of peanut butter crackers and he did. I brought a box of them here to give out to anyone I saw but so far he’s been the first to get some. We toured around old and New Delhi and yep I saw a McDonalds! What’s cool here is that a lot of people are vegetarians so anywhere you eat there will always be tons of options, yay for me!
We went to one of the biggest mosques in India and that was pretty interesting. Men if they were wearing shorts had to be given a long skirt like thing to wear and women were given a complete dress like garment, completely covering legs and arms. The mosque was nice but what was interesting was that a lot of men were just in there hanging out, sleeping on the grounds. I guess they were waiting for the next call to prayer, some people pray five times a day in the mosque! My dad was surprised that it wasn’t cleaner, but I imagine it must be amazing when it is all packed with people praying. I wish I would have been able to hear the call to prayer, I think it’s beautiful. During actual prayer times, women can only be on the perimeter, they are not allowed on the main floor where the men prayer. However since it was not prayer time, we women were free to roam and explore. You’re not allowed to wear shoes inside and I didn’t feel like buying the slippers so barefoot I went. And it’s completely open air so that was ground was hot- baked by the sun! But all my beach days and running to the car from the boardwalks prepared my feet for that. There was a woman outside begging by our bus, and she had the cutest baby with her and she kept pointing to it and asking for money. That was enough to make me want to reach in my wallet but our tour guide said we mustn’t give money to them because it just continues the problem and they will continue begging if they will continue to get money when they do it. I wish I could have done something though. However if you so much as looked at this woman she would jog with you the entire way to wherever you were going, trying to get money. She even ran next to someone’s rickshaw for quite a distance, with baby and all, trying to get them to give her money.
Next we had a rickshaw ride around the city! Our driver Kumal was really nice and it was cool to see the city from the vantage point that many of its inhabitants see it from daily. It was overload of the senses though! Horns honking, shopkeepers shouting out, the scent of incense from an incense store filling your nostrils, passing shops filled with all sorts of things-silver, marigold garlands, gorgeous swathes of cloth, hunks of meat open to the air with flies buzzing around. I felt bad for our driver though because what hard work this is! Pulling two people behind you on a bike UP a hill in the same lane as semi-trucks, taxis and motorcycles?! Heaven knows I couldn’t do it.
Next stop? Shopping! J Oh yeah I was a happy camper. WE went to this market/mall and our first stop was to see a traditional carpet weaver. That was awesome, you have no idea the amount of work that goes into the beautiful Persian style rugs in your home. Each design is drawn onto a graph and from there the design comes into shape ONE KNOT AT A TIME. Each flower is probably about 1,000 knots? And what’s awesome is that just by looking at a carpet and the design and dye colors, our carpet salesman a native of Kashmir, can tell from what family it came. He said that each design and color is like a copyright. You just do not copy another family’s design, just like how a random author wouldn’t try to write Hunger Games again.
And then after that my dream came true. We went to a sari shop and my eyes were immediately assuaged with a million glittering colors lining the walls. Immediately a fabric jumped out at me, it was a deep turquoise and magenta with detailed gold embroidery. I asked to try it on (I definitely could not do all the folds, someone had to do it for me every time) and it was absolutely gorgeous! I felt gorgeous in it, probably the second prettiest I’ve felt in my life- the first probably being Prom night. I just loved everything about it. It was a gorgeous gorgeous fabric. However it was a super fancy sari, one meant for weddings or parties, and hence it had a price tag that went with it- almost $500- American dollars! Even with haggling, there was no way that Sari was going to go down to an affordable price. (not to mention I suck at haggling) So I Just took some pictures in it and looked longingly at it in the mirror. I think the helper was thinking of marriage! Haha He asked me if I had a boyfriend back home, I said no, and then he asked how old I was. I said 20, and he replied “aw, too young.” Ha I was thinking you bet right I’m too young! After that I tried to find a cheap shirt in the sari store for $10 but none of them were jumping out at me and the saris still were! So back to the saris I went, and the workers were so patient wrapping me up in sari after sari, trying to find one that matched my budget and my taste. And dear dad stayed in that shop with me for 2 hours! Giving opinions and keeping an eye on me haha. These shop keepers are really persistent and I didn’t know how to say no and I felt bad, especially after they had just spent hours and taken a ton of fabrics off the shelves for me. So I was counting on Dad to break the news to them about me not wanting anything. But then a red fabric caught my eye and I really liked it on. I’ve always wanted something red and the colors are just really rich and beautiful, red with gold throughout and a gold border. I’d narrowed it to down between this red one and a pink/gold one. By now, everyone has given their opinions and even the tour guide has come upstairs and was giving his two cents! I went with my gut though and went with the red and I’m really excited to wear it! So if anyone has an event or knows of one that I can wear a sari to please let me know! Luckily they gave me a booklet on how to put on a sari so hopefully with the booklet’s help and YouTube I’ll be able to figure it out! I’ve always wanted to try on a sari so this experience was amazing, and the shop workers were so kind and attentive.
Next stop was upstairs where I picked up two small wall paintings of elephants for my apartment room next year and two small silver incense holders, shaped like a bear and a rhino. By then basically all the guys had been in the bus for a while, and myself and another lady were the last ones to the bus. Shameful I know. But what can I say? I’m the daughter of a recovering shopaholic so like mother like daughter. 😉
After shopping we ate at literally the most amazing Indian restaurant, I kid you not it was phenomenal! And of course I had a mango lassi. Outside there was a snake charmer and one of our group was brave enough to sit down, have a snake draped around her neck, and a COBRA placed onto her lap in a basket! I wish I had the guts, it would have made a co0l picture, but nah I just couldn’t do it. The guys in our group were really disappointed because they’d heard there was a Starbucks in Delhi and they really wanted to go but we just didn’t have the time. The film guys have been in Thailand and Vietnam and now India so they are ready for some American coffee! One more day and it shall be theirs. They also want to fly their drone camera up over the Taj Mahal but our guess was that it would be shot down from the sky pretty quickly. The area around the Taj is extremely secure and is a no fly zone. Who knows though, maybe if they tried it it would survive!
Next stop was to get on the bus and a three hour ride to Agra! Unfortunately I had packed nothing for the bus and I was pretty bored, so I ended up knocking out at some point. Our bus driver is a SEIK, and wears a turban at all times. He is an AMAZING driver because when we arrived in Agra it was insane. Even though it was after dark there were shops open and the streets were packed. There was even a little dance party going on. People had strobe lights, trumpets, and even a horse dressed up and it looked like a blast- wish I could have joined. My dad was certain many people were bound to be killed by our bus at the speed we were racing through the city and all the hustle and bustle but nope our driver honked and weaved his way through town like an absolute champ. Poverty is evident though.
We reached our hotel- The Raj Mahal, and it was the nicest we’ve stayed in our whole trip! We were greeted with mini glasses of rose water, which I guess is a customary drink for guests here and in Middle East countries, but I’ll be honest- it tasted terrible. But it looked great, a deep rosy pink. Our doorman had a turban and we were shown to our rooms. The only thing was it was pretty hot in the hotel. And all the hotels we’ve stayed in so far, when you put your room key in a special hole in the wall, only then does your room have power and lights. The downside of that? When your key is not in there, such as when you leave the room, there is no AC running. The upside? Hey it must keep bills down! I was thrilled to see an actual good shower, it even had a waterfall faucet! However, the water wasn’t really hot. I’d say it was a little colder than lukewarm- but hey this girl must have finally gotten used to it because it felt refreshing to me! Now that is a noteworthy milestone for me.
Off to bed, ‘cause it’s an early morning to make it to the Taj Mahal in time for sunrise!
1-2 I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
3-4 He won’t let you stumble,
your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s
Guardian will never doze or sleep.
5-6 God’s your Guardian,
right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke,
sheltering you from moonstroke.
7-8 God guards you from every evil,
he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
he guards you now, he guards you always.
One of my fave verses that I just rediscovered a few days ago. I was pretty nervous to sing for a church in Aizawl and I was flipping through my Bible during the service and found this section I had underlined. It made me feel more at peace because hey, God won’t let us stumble- He’s got our back through everything! He wants to protect us. If you ever feel afraid read these verses and think about the promises, the Bible doesn’t lie. God sees the bigger picture that we can’t and as one of the contractors said a few weeks ago to us after our house flooded- “He won’t give you more than you can handle.” Some of us are probably thinking, “well dang God sure must think I can handle a lot!” but try to lean on Him, there’s not a better support system.
Much love and stay irie, Bri ❤
my dream sari, sighhh
Hotel in Agra
the rose water, looks a lot better than it tasted!
our doorman, he always had a nice smile
i love bindis!
The India Gate
learning about the ancient tradition of carpet weaving
the carpets were so soft and detailed
a member of the group was so brave!
at one of the biggest mosques in India, it was really hot out there
one of the most amazing lunches I’ve had