Day 1 and First Impressions for the 2nd Time.

So many people have asked both Emmanuela – my dear friend and travel companion – and I, why we would travel to India. I typically smile and say, “it’s not for everyone but if you like it, it gets into your soul.

Today was our first full day in here and we spent it touring around the city. One never gets anywhere very quickly is Delhi. The streets are packed with buses, cars, trucks and tuk-yuks – or auto rickshaws as they’re sometimes called. All collectively jockeying for position along with endless scooters, motorbikes and the occasional cow. Everyone beeps to announce their presence and intention to squeeze through any opening they can find. The lines on the road indicating lanes constantly ignored. Why the roads department even bothers to apply them is a mystery.

For me, this is among the multitude of things about coming here that I love. Our driver Bunti – ever the gentleman – never appeared to be even the slightest bit ruffled by any of it. Grinning widely when we praised his driving skills.

I’ll talk more about why I love this country in further entries as I become further reacquainted.  For now, some short updates about the trip here. 

All went exactly as planned. Flights departed and arrived as scheduled. To our surprise the 14 hour flight was far more pleasant than either of us had expected.  No luggage was lost, and our trusty driver was waiting for us outside the Delhi airport to transfer us to our hotel, as arranged. Greeting us with a smile, handshake and cool bottle of water.

As is apparently customary here and much like going through security at any airport, upon arrival at the hotel we were required to have our luggage scanned and clear a metal detector. All repeated every time we return to our hotel after an outing. The trunk and under the hood of the car also checked while a mirror scans underneath. While a little jarring, I hope this leaves everyone back home reassured of our safety. The area our hotel is in is only accessible by those permitted. So a stroll around the neighborhood is perfectly safe.

This morning we took a little walk to explore and found the most wonderful little place called the Fab Café serving fresh juices, almond milk sweetened with dates and other delicacies. We returned for fantastic Indian dinner tonight. We highly recommend it.

This afternoon we hired a taxi to take us to Qutab Minar, minaret dating back to 1192. It, the gardens surrounding and the remains of the mosque are all a World Heritage site. All interesting to see in spite of the 35 degree heat and blazing sun. Nothing that can’t be remedied with a cold glass of beer or two back at the hotel. And to think this isn’t even the hot season.

Off to bed now, in an effort to beat this jet lag. More updates to come.