Delhi... but no belly far...

Trip Start Sep 25, 2003
Trip End Apr 23, 2005

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Sunday, January 9, 2005

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Leaving wonderful forts and palaces of Rajasthan behind us we headed to Delhi for the second time for a spot of sightseeing (Qtab Minar - 11C ornately carved ancient mosque minaret, Bahai Temple - lit up at night like Sydney Opera House, Red Fort - a disappointment after Rajasthan), shopping and to get our vias for Rwanda.

Nitty Gritty:
Udaipur to Delhi involved another overnight train. We were very sad to be leaving Rajasthan and certainly would have liked to have stayed in Udaipur for time...After munching on our breakfast of bread and cheese spread, we were treated to puri and veggie curry from an army general in the next compartment.At one point the train stopped at a platform and a man on a bicycle dashed past clutching his signal man's flags. Once the correct signals had been displayed, he cycled back again to his office on the platform. Maybe electonic signals aren't the best method.

We arrived in Delhi to find a rickshaw strike and were just about to be faced with a very expensive taxi ride when a local bus found us and we were sped towards our lodgings. We returned to the place we had stayed the last time we were in Delhi, and were greeted like long lost relatives, which was really nice and we were able to forget the fact that it was actually pretty noisy there. It was so nice to get someone else to was our clothes!

Funny as it may sound, we found the best south indian food we'd eaten in India, in Delhi, and the next few nights we were regulars for the amazing Masala Dosa (lentil flour pancakes stuffed with spicy spuds).

Our first full day back in Delhi was spent visiting the Rwandan Embassy in a quest for a tourist visa. It was an amazing embassy experience as we were served a cup of tea and as we were the only ones there, we had the comfy sofa to ourselves, and after a bit of form filling, we had the visa in 24hours, for free!!!! Being in the embassy area of Delhi we treated ourselves to some grilled sandwiches for lunch, with not an indian spice in sight, picked out some new glasses for R at the local optician and rang the tourist office in Kigali, Rwanda, to double and triple check our booking to visit the mountain gorillas.

The rest of our 3 days in town were split between sight seeing and shopping. Qtab Minar is a really old, ?11C minaret for an ancient mosque, which is beautifully carved and intact and looked fantastic in the fading light; next was the Bahai Temple which looked a bit like Sydney Opera House and was colourfully lit at night and although it wasn't open when illuminated, the iron railings around its perimeter were a great place for a photo - one slip and you would be very uncomfortable indeed!

The Red Fort was a disappointment after the wonderful forts of Rajasthan and we discovered the muslim part of town whilst visiting Jama Majid, Delhi's largest mosque (that we were too tight walleted to go into together as there was an extortionate camera charge, so we went in seperately each R looking after the camera whilst G went in and vise versa). What a shame we would be leaving shortly as the restaurants in the area were cooking up some great meat dishes, something we'd been deprived of recently.

Delhi is one big bazaar and is thus assault on the senses with every shop selling colourful saris, fabric, clothing, bags, jewellery...but mingled in amongst all the hubub we discovered aloo tikka of distinction - a streeet vendor selling the most wonderfully tasty stuffed potato patties covered in various relishes - it took some time to elbow through the hordes at his stall and whilst we were scoffing we saw his food award on the wall behind him - the Delhi equivalent of a Michelin star!

When your used to shopping malls with everything under one roof, shopping in Delhi takes some getting used to. Rows of shops, or markets, seemed to be tucked behind posh houses in residential areas and it was at one of these places that we discovered FAB India, a wonderful garment and household shop where G got some great cotton shirts and sadly R discovered too late that they could alter the clothes to fit as the smallest tops were all too large. Our time in Delhi at an end, we were off on yet another overnight train to the holy Punjabi city of Amritsar with its golden temple so important to the Seikh religion.
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