|The Hotel management guy at the front desk was very helpful in flagging down an autorickshaw to get us to the bus station...7:30 we arrived and went directly from the 'taxi' to the bus which left almost immediately. The 4 lane divided toll road into Delhi was smooth, fast, and straight as an arrow for the 250+ km less the last 20. Eucaliptus trees lined the way most of the rural distance - agric being on both sides in this irrigated plain of India. The only slowdowns took place when we encountered construction/diversions requiring us to share the other 2 lanes w/ oncoming traffic. I notice once again the build up of trash/garbage along the roadway, and especially where we see rivers/ditches/water canals where people seem to think throwing their trash along/down the sides of these waterways will magically cause it to disappear. This is not just true here in India but most other 3rd world countries as well, it's just somehow more abundant and noticeable here.
Arriving in 3 hours we head via taxi (yes we got taken for 450 r.= $9 US) to Major's Den, recom by friend Ralph(met in Karimabad,Pakistan) who the desk fellow acknowledged as their best customer - known as 'Davis' here! They had 2 rooms and once we ckd email and found that A & T wanted to stay here as well he very nicely accomodated them as well. We had a great reunion albeit a bit worse for wear on their part since it was 8 am for them(2 pm here)...after A & T rested, off we went to Sam's Restaurant for dinner...great LP choice, real food and not expensive, unless you buy a lot, which we did.
Got up and met the real Major of the place. Nice old guy who went to school in Lahore in 1947, said he had a great conversation w/ Ralph when he was thru here after Pakistan! Then to brkfst at Sam's Cafe(where we ate dinner last nite)...great muesli/granola and omelettes. Then to the new Metro (only a little over a yr old), really nice...it was under construction the two prev times here(since 2002!) so it was really good to be able to ride via the Metro. Went to the Red Fort, waited 15 min for the 2 pm opening but then we heard that the Turkish ambassidor was inside and it might not be open to the public til 3! With literally hundreds of people stacked up outside and the thought of an hour just to get into a line to buy tickets which might take another hour...well, we gave up!
Andrew and Tracy are recovering from their round trip to England where Andrew's mom had passed away and they had to care for the funeral details. Got colds in the meantime so w/ a long flight and no sleep they were glad to have an excuse(seeing us) not to head out on their bikes right away...we were glad as well to catch up on their travels as well...check it out at:
Visit Andrew & Tracy's travel blog
We bid Andrew & Tracy adeau and a safe journey after brkfst...Mari took off for her SRF guru services, Bon & I headed back to Major's - Bon not feeling well & I to do much needed laundry. At noon we headed to internet where I labelled more pics getting back as far as Kashgar(I'm working backwards instead of trying to catch up - an impossible task as I see it, ha!). At least the most recent photo entries will have some meaning.
By 2 we were both tired of sitting in front of a screen & Mari showed up. It was off to some tea & munchies, then a look at LP Guides at a bookstore(Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Japan, & Indonesia) we've got to come up w/ a plan now that we know our India visa expires Dec 20! We left for Laxmi Optcal about 5 after exhausting search for vitamins...amazing that chemists here do not carry them, esp difficult to find 'C'! Got our glasses and then on a stroll thru Karal Bagh(district where Laxmi is located as well as listed as the 10th fastest growing retail market in all Asia!!), huge crowds, streets jammed w/ vendors,people,cars,autorickshaws,bikes,you-name-it...strike three on the vitamins! Bon still wanted to look fo silver bangles this being a huge jewelry market area but fI was burned out fighting the crowds. We did meet some very wealthy Indians in Laxmi Optical who own tons of Indian restaurants in the East - they live in NJ. They have been coming to Laxmi for 15 yrs when they return to Delhi to visit family/relatives. Their daughter is getting married and the whole bunch of kids(4 incl one inlaw) were ordering glasses. Web sites for their business: moghulcatering.com
urbanspice.com & mithaas.com.