Wed, Feb 25

We slept in a bit this morning because there wasn’t anywhere to be right away. Things here don’t seem to open until ten or eleven in the morning, which makes the entire day happen that much later. Thank goodness breakfast is good…I am counting on it staying like that for survival purposes!
Mom and dad hired a rickshaw driver for the day and they came to pick me up around 8:30 in order to go to our cooking class. It was pretty interesting – not like their class in Thailand, apparently, but I thought it was still okay. The most interesting part was the fact that it was located in this ladies’ home. It was an experience to see how the wealthy live. The home reminded me of a flat in France, actually – and was quite large and well decorated. She had several different hired helpers around, too.
The food itself wasn’t awesome. I am really not a fan of the Indian food. I always will try the dishes served at the meals, but it is difficult to do much more than one bite of each thing. Funnily enough, mom doesn’t seem to be a huge fan, either – I am just much more rude about it, I think! It isn’t worth it to eat something I can’t stand!! In any case…lots of the things we cooked were dishes we’d had over the past week at Sangam, so it was really interesting to see how they were made. An absurd amount of spices and butter is used in each dish. I think we went through an entire dish of salt in the process. They tend to deep fry a lot of their foods as well. I guess that works for fast cooking, as they seem to be eating all of the time. The women tend to do all of the housework, cooking, and childrearing, so they use pressure cookers to make the cooking process go that much faster.
We made a spinach soup – which actually taste like eating a spinach salad in liquid form. We made some if those potatoes with spices, deep fried spinach leaves, chicken, and a few other deep fried things. I pushed around the food on my plate for a good while, but didn’t really eat anything.
Afterwards, our rickshaw dude was waiting outside for us, and he took us to another emporium-like place. It was a little better than the CIE because the prices were cheaper and the people weren’t quite as smooth talking, so it was easier to get out of buying stuff! Mom and I spent a long time looking around at Punjabi suits and tunics and scarves. I had picked out a blue ‘silk’ scarf for 200 Rs when dad came and found me – and we went to go look at carpets. After a brief demonstration and all that jazz, I more or less decided that I needed to buy one! I can’t leave India without buying a carpet!!! And, the pattern that I liked was there, and it was much cheaper than what mom and dad paid for theirs…so I bought one! Definitely an expensive purchase, and the quality is always questionable, but I do like it – and I think it will be great at home in my family room area!! J
Because we were now carrying this expensive purchase around in the tuc-tuc, we asked our driver guy (still the same one from this morning) to head back to the hotel. We tried to find a supermarket, but he didn’t quite understand and took us to a couple of other random stalls in market areas instead. We were all tired and hungry by that point, so we just went back to the Park. We had a snack/lunch of pepsi and a Cadbury chocolate bar before heading out on our next Delhi adventure.
We decided to take the metro to Chandi Chowk – the area that we visited by cycle rickshaw yesterday. The metro was cheap and efficient and easy! It was only two stops to get to the centre of the market and it was pure madness when we got up to the street. The lanes were so narrow and yet managed to squeeze in about 4 lanes of rickshaw and pedestrian traffic. The area where we started off was the Home Depot section – and mom wasn’t too impressed. I suggested getting a cycle rickshaw to the shoe area, which I recalled to be near the entrance to the entire mess and close to the Red Fort. All three of us managed to pile into one rickshaw – I more or less did a wall-sit on the edge of the seat while mom held onto me from the middle. It was just a tad tight!! When we got out (near the shoe area) I could barely stand up!! My quads haven’t been that challenged in a while.
We looked up and down a couple of the more main streets as it was getting dark and we didn’t really want to get lost. It was a nice change from Connaught Place where there are touts and pushy salespeople in your face the entire time. Here, although there were tonnes of people, they all had places to go and people to see – and didn’t care too much that you were there! It was a nice break. The prices were better too, as the average Indian person shops in these stores, so the prices weren’t nuts for tourists. Mom found a Punjabi suit (material only) for PK that is really nice and I think we got a relatively good deal on it after I bargained for a bit. As well, there were jewellery stores that had nice, well crafted pieces that we stopped to look at a few times. Mom bought a chain that is quite intricate and was a very good price. Here, the gold is much yellower than at home because it is 22 KT!
Ummmm….I don’t know if I should admit this or not…but we went to McDonalds for dinner tonight! It is actually probably one of the safer places to eat, however, because beef products are not allowed!! Dad had a Tikki burger thing – a “burger” made out of potatoes with other veggies on the inside. (He isn’t sick today, either, which is a bonus!!) Mom and I weren’t really all up for the crazy, so we split fries and each had a chocolate Sunday. It was quite nice, really. (If you can call that dinner, at all)
We made our way to the Red Fort for the evening sound and light show. It was really well done, and provided a nice synopsis of the history of the fort and Delhi in general. The sound effects were done on speakers all around and the lights lit up the interesting architecture of the remaining palaces near where we were sitting. Dad had texted Scott, but Scott doesn’t seem able to get dad’s texts, so we didn’t connect with them before the show. However, as we were sitting there in the dark, both mom and I spotted the group. Definitely a benefit because then I was able to go back to the hotel with them instead of having mom and dad go all the way down to my place before heading back up to their hotel. I think this will be one of the few times (hopefully) where we are staying so far away from each other. A couple of times we are in the same hotel, which will definitely simplify things.
Tomorrow we are driving to Agra! Should be an interesting drive. I am definitely happy that we spread out the tour, however, so that we are not driving every day. It would be quite painful that way, I think!
-AJ

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