Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Day 6 - New Delhi

I slept pretty well last night ... in my sleep sack. :) We woke up around 3:30 to go to the bathroom and I had a really hard time going to back to sleep after that. Bad sore throat! I have had no fruits or vitamin c since being here I don't think, and I eat a lot of that back home. My body is probably going through withdrawal!

Then I woke up to the sound of the kids just a few minutes before the alarm was set to go off. At 5:30. They go to bed and 10:30 and up by 5:30! That's crazy! They were singing and praying. So studious! 

We haven't been able to get the toilet to flush in our room. You aren't supposed to put the toilet paper in the toilets here, but there wasn't a trash can in the bathroom, so we had been. Lifted the lid on the tank and there wasn't any water in there. That was the problem. So I filled up a bucket (three buckets and pitchers right by it) and dumped the water in the tank and flushes. Repeat three times. All the tp except one piece eventually went down. Success. So now I'm thinking maybe that is why the toilet seat and floor is all wet all the time? Maybe the toilets here don't have water plumbed to them so you have to dump it in? It definitely gets all over when you do it, or me tell you. 

The power went out for a few minutes while we were trying to get packed up. I almost got out my headlamp (!!!) but it came back on. My backpack didn't get any smaller or any lighter today. Unfortunately.  But I did leave everything here that I had on yesterday. The stuff just smells so bad after you sweat in it all day! Plus I think the girls here will really love our pretty glittery skirts!

We walked outside and all of the kids were lined up. Some studying, some singing and praying. It's just so beautiful here. The kids, the children's home, the way it's ran, the lush green hills. Neither of us wanted to leave. Especially to go back to a big dirty crazy honking city!

We were supposed to be out there ready to go at 6am, and we were. On the dot. But Raja, Neelema and Glitty weren't quite ready yet, so we had time to use the wifi. I face timed with Matt and got the blog updated, and then it was time to go. They brought a sleeping Glitty out and plopped her in the car next to me. I still have a chance to kidnap her at the airport... ;)

It was an easy 45 minute drive back to the Visak airport. I had a couple of granola bars and Glitty woke up and got dressed. 

We pulled up to the airport at 7:30 for our 8:40 flight and I was a little nervous about time. We hadn't checked in yet and I didn't know how it all worked here. Thankfully the Visak airport is tiny. I tried to kidnap Glitty but was unsuccessful. She's a daddy's girl.  

We had to wait in line for a few minutes to get our boarding passes, and then again to go through the "Ladies Frisking Booth." Plenty of time to spare by the time we made it to the four whole gates they have here. 

We said our goodbyes to Raja and Neelema and sat up front waiting to find out our gate number. We were supposed to board at 8:15 and it was 8:30. All of a sudden, a lady just hollered, "Delhi!" and everyone literally got up and ran towards her, haha! Since we were up front, we went right with the flow and beat most of them. It was a pretty funny experience though!

It was monsooning again when we took off around 9am. 
Shortly in flight, they served food. I can't believe they do that on such short flights! I have absolutely no idea what I ate. Like, at all. But it wasn't bad. Kind of spicy. The fruit looked so good. But not good enough to spend the rest of the day squatting over a hole. :)

Instead is sleeping, we got out our India books and tried to by a grip on Delhi and where we want to go / what we want to do.  The city is big and confusing and full of scam artists (from what we read). And with such a short amount of time there, we have to do our research and be on our A game! 

Buuuut that didn't last the whole flight.  I crashed. 

Really don't want to carry around our giant backpacks all I think we're going to try and find someplace (a hotel maybe?) to drop them off for the day. Plan is to get a pre-paid taxi to take us to York Hotel in Connaught place. Check that out for awhile and then hit up the famous spice markets! Loti Gardens and Old Fort if we have time. Train station by 6:30 for our 6:40 train ride to Agra! We'll see how this goes...

Landed in Delhi around 11am and took a bus to the airport. Hit the nice clean bathroom and checked out the airport for when I fly in on Sunday from Kathmandu and have to make a connection to Newark. Should be possible. :) We were both surprised how nice and big and CLEAN the airport was. 

Got a pre-paid taxi from inside and hopped in with our guy. Pretty easy and cheap process and better than getting worked over bartering on our own. Driver was cool and turned on some music for us when we asked. Cruised through Delhi with the windows down (it's so freaking hot everywhere in India!) and some good Indian music. 

Delhi is infinity times nicer than Mumbai. It's bigger but so much cleaner and just a more well organized city. There are actual trees and grass here. Not just cement. Honking is at a min in and people semi-follow road rules. I wasn't really looking forward to a repeat of Mumbai. So this was SO much better. 

Our driver stopped along the way for us at a park to see the monkeys just sitting around and then again at a statue and a temple. He didn't have much English but he was great! It was like a free little mini tour of Delhi on our way to Connaught place. 

Our driver wasn't sure where York hotel was, so when we got to Connaught place, we were all hanging out the windows looking for it. It wasn't that hard to find. Walked up the stairs and asked if they could keep our bags for us. No dice. A couple of doors down was a touring shop where you could book a car for all day. We couldn't decide if that was what we wanted to do because they informed us it was a holiday there - I don't remember the name - and the spice market was closed! That was like the number one thing we wanted to do in Delhi!

So we decided to go grab some lunch and talk about it. I'm getting so over all the fried Indian food. We've hardly been able to find anything "healthy" or fresh and it's taking a toll on my body! There was a little restaurant nearby and I ordered tomato soup, vegetable soup, and naan. Safe enough, right? Angie was more adventurous and ordered something crazy that came with like 12 different sauces, only two of which were actually edible!

Wait, I dip what, where?

We decided to go ahead and book a nice ac car for the day and just let him take us around Delhi. Mainly because we don't want to carry our bags around. It's hot and they're heavy. And we're worn out! So we went back, paid the guy 1,200 rupees and hopped in with our guide for the day. 

He was a cool guy and liked to do it like we so. Get in, get the picture, and get out. First stop, lotus temple. Five minute. You go take picture and come right back. Haha!

Second stop, Delhi Haat. A market for shopping since spice market was t an option. No worries for me.  I found plenty to buy there. Some pillow coverings for my couch and an awesome table runner. (I have some funny stories about this whole process but I'm keeping today short. No time!)

Next stop, Fabindia again! We love that place! And I had to get a top to go under my new sari. They did t have the size I needed at the other store in Mumbai. We walked around that area for awhile and then he drove us all over Delhi it seemed like. Reserve bank of India, World Trade Center, famous hotels, the presidential palace and government buildings and the Gate to India...


The coolest thing he took us to was a Sikh Temple. I don't think I even knew that was a religion? It originated in Pakistan. We had to take off out shoes and cover our heads before going in. Walked through water to clean our feet...

No pictures were allowed inside, but of course that didn't stop us from sneaking a few. Everyone else was doing it too!

I have a lot more to say about this but will have to update tomorrow for the sake of time...

Angie has most of the pictures because somewhere along the way I started not feeling well. My stomach was not happy. I totally jinxed myself yesterday! Of course the one safe thing I think to order - soup - did me in. So pissed...

We drove to a supermarket where I bought some banana chips and almonds (that I haven't tried yet), got some water and looked in two restaurants for anything that looked edible. Found nothing. 

We found the train station and after crossing all of the tracks multipel times, we found our train...and then our car.  I did NOT feel good so I filled up my water bottle with some re-hydration packet and laid down.  (I don't even want to think about how many germs I have on me after that...)

Well, somewhere along the ride, Angie fell asleep, too.  Thank GOD some nice European couple shook us awake in Agra.  They must have heard us talking and knew we were getting off there, too.  If they hadn't woke us up, who knows where we would have ended up.  Somewhere in southern India I suppose.  Ugh.  Makes me sick to even think about it.  No announcements or anything.   You just have to be awake and look out the window when you pull up to a train station to see if it's your stop or not.  NOT COOL, INDIA!


Okay - I'll pick up here tomorrow. We made it to Hotel Sheela after a very sketchy cab ride (pre-paid cab station was closed since it's too late -- or at leas that's what some gross guy told us so we got in the car with him.)  Oh, and he could only drive so close to our hotel so we had to WALK the last few blocks in the dark - next to cows - trying to find our hotel.  Oh India.  Always an advetnure.  Anyways,  it's 11:30 pm, I still don't feel good, and we're getting up at 5am to see the Taj. Sorry this update sucks. We have a 4 hour car ride tomorrow to Jaipur so I should have time to update it then. Hopefully I'll be feeling better too..

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