India: Oct 9: Connaught Place and Old Delhi

Today we took a rickshaw to Connaught Place, the heart of New Delhi, had lunch, then took the metro to Old Delhi. The metro was very clean and very crowded. Everyone had to pass through metal detectors. (I think it's because India had been having some problems with separatist terrorists.)

Sometime during this time J and N told me a story about having to negotiate a tip in Mombasa. I was beginning to get the idea of what regularly negotiating would be like.

Anyway, to continue the story, Old Delhi was really crowded. I can't believe the amount of business being done there. It's insane. The market is enormous. It's hard to absorb everything; the whole experience was overwhelming. We saw only a fraction of it, walking past the paper/book section, and seeing and smelling the spice section. N was awesome and explained many of the spices to us.

I managed to take a reasonable number of pictures in Old Delhi, though the crowd and how much we stood out made me uncomfortable doing so. I'm sure I would've taken more if I could've done so in a more subtle fashion. One thing I noticed while walking around Old Delhi was the different ways women wore burkas. Some covered only lips; others lips and noses; still others covered everything, including a veil over the eyes.

After exploring Old Delhi, we decided to take a rickshaw back to the Metro. The bicycle rickshaw guy ripped us off! He rode for a little while, then stopped and said the Metro's right around the corner. We paid him. It turns out we went practically in a circle and ended up about two blocks from where we started and no closer to the Metro. Still, it wasn't a horrible deal because we rode past Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India, and I got to take some pictures en route.

Furthermore, it wasn't so bad because he dropped us off by a food stand that just finished making a batch of jalebi. Jalebi are a fried doughnut shaped like a pretzel. It was good but almost gaggingly sweet.

We walked to the Metro. This time they didn't bother to scan my bag or pat me down. I guess there's some benefit from the special attention/treatment a white person gets in India.

We disembarked at Connaught Place again, and wandered around a little. I noticed Delhi, with few tall buildings, has no skyline to speak of. We grabbed a snack, then headed back to our friend's house.

After relaxing for a bit, we picked up one of his friends and he bought us to dinner at Veda, which happened to be near Connaught Place (funny!). On the drive to the restaurant, we passed the Prime Minister's residence, the part of town with all the embassies, and the parliament buildings. Of course, it being dark, I couldn't see much.

Veda was yet another excellent meal in an incredibly stylishly design space. If, when people visit me, I could be a host half as good as our friend, I'd be elated. In addition, he's introduced us guests to great restaurants.

As always, the pictures describe the day in much more detail and better convey the experience.

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