India and Mother Dearest - Here I come!

Trip Start Jan 12, 2008
Trip End Oct 01, 2008

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Flag of India  ,
Sunday, February 17, 2008

I'm not allowed up to the first class cabin to try and spark a conversation with the PM... I resort to sleeping, only to be awakened by the jerk sitting next to me every 30 minutes.  I would have been okay if he had only just tried to steal my aisle seat, even though he was like 5'5", but he made a point to nudge me or excuse himself to get up literally twice an hour for the 7 hour flight... I was sooo pissed at him that I offered to switch seats half way through and he said no just to spite me!  And he smelled like a wet sock that's been stuck in a wet shoe which was in a plastic bag in a hot and stuffy car for four days or more.

I see my Mother Dearest!!!  She is waiting for me and our guide has a sign with my name on it and everything.  I've always wanted to have someone waiting for me at the airport with a sign for me.  (I guess it's happened before in Vegas, but that never counts, plus it wasn't my full name!)  Forget the fact that I always imagined my name to be spelled correctly, and maybe with some flare around the edges, and saying something like "You did it!" or "Welcome Home!"  We proceed to meet our driver and guide for Delhi, Rawat and Pawal. 

The four of us spend the day driving around and visiting such tourist sites as Jami Masjid (largest congregational mosque in Asia), Red Fort (Palace built by Shah Jahan as the center of the Mughal empire), India Gate (World War I memorial like the Arc de Triumph), Chandi Chowk (vivrant street market where we took a rickshaw ride), and Rajghat (Mahatma Gandhi's cremation site).  Coming from the overwhelming poverty of Madagascar and the townships of South Africa, I was prepared for the beggars and poverty that was evident throughout the city.  What I wasn't expecting was the sheer masses of people that were EVERYWHERE!!!  I don't think I've seen more people in one day except for when I went to see a Nascar race down in Charlotte.  My favorite part about all the people were the vibrant colors of the drapes/dresses that the women wore.

We end the day with an early dinner at a traditional Mughal restaurant, Pirdi.  Making sure that our guide specifies that we don't want any spice, or to make it extremely mild, I prepare mentally for my first Indian meal.  Maybe I built it up a bit too much, or maybe they are used to having wimps like me, but it didn't live up to heat expectations.  Don't get me wrong, it was spicy as all hell and I sweat so much that I actually had to wipe my hair down as well as my brow... but if all the food is like that, I definitely won't eat like a bear storing up for a long hibernation before I ever make it back here again.  Only time will tell if my stomach can handle it really though, wish me luck!
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