02.02.2013 - 05.02.2013
I had always wanted to visit India so was very quick to book a place for us on Scenic Tours Spirit of North India commencing in Delhi on Monday, 4 February 2013. Our friends from New Zealand were keen to come too.
I immersed myself in books on India, some fiction, some fact. Some of my favourites were: White Tiger, Coronation Talkies, Third Class Ticket and A Princess Remembers. They prepared me for our journey and whetted my appetite and the months rolled by and finally February arrived.
On Saturday,2 February we drove to Sydney in our hire car, stayed overnight in an airport hotel and on Sunday, 3 February we were on our way. Overnighted at the Copthorne in Singapore and the next afternoon flew to Delhi.
Prior to leaving Singapore, we visited the Changi War Museum which was very moving, especially for me as my Uncle Roy had been a prisoner there during World War Two.
We left Sydney in the rain, arrived in Singapore in a torrential downpour and yes, you guessed it, our first day in Delhi it rained and rained.
We drove to Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque, took our shoes off and puddled around on the wet marble floor. VERY DANGEROUS! It was so slippery but we were very careful. Next we hopped into rickshaws and were taken on a hair raising ride through the streets to Chandni Chowk Bazaar and the Khari Baoli wholesale spice market. What an introduction to India. The street life is amazing. We got soaked but didn't care because we were experiencing another totally different culture from our own. Pot holes everywhere, rubbish piled up all over the place, but strangely enough, it doesn't smell. I don't know why because it should! There are people everywhere.
Then another experience. We caught the Metro to our luncheon venue. To enter the station we had to go through quite rigid security and were patted down before we were allowed on the platform. We all squashed onto the train, 23 of us, plus our guide Claire and her Indian offsider Yogesh, or Yogi for short. There is no such thing as a full train in India, everyone waiting for the train just squashes on regardless!
Our first taste of Indian food was at a lovely restaurant at Connaught Place called Veda. It was lovely.
After lunch we visited Humayun's Tomb which reminded me of Cambodia and Siem Reap. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the India Arch for a photo opportunity. Our Samsung Tablet is creating a lot of attention when I take photos with it.
Had a couple of hours rest prior to our Welcome Dinner in the San Giminano restaurant at the Imperial Hotel. Very nice evening. We are starting to get to know our fellow travellers and they all seem to be very nice.
I have a feeling this is going to be a very nice time.