Visiting Delhi had given us a lot of concern while making our plans, because almost everyone we met who had been there described it as a crowded, dirty, hot place to avoid, and Adam’s brief time there 11 years ago did nothing to dissuade that notion. But, we wanted to plan something nice for Adam’s birthday, figured we could use a break in the midst of the sightseeing flurry we had created for ourselves, and wanted to give one of India’s mega-cities a real chance. So, we scheduled in two days there as a respite before moving on to one final destination, and then returning for our last 5 days in India. We booked a room in a nice guesthouse well beyond our usual budget and decided that we would have two days celebrating Adam’s birthday, since his actual birthday would be cut short by an overnight train we would have to catch.
Much to our surprise, we loved Delhi! Sure there are some parts where you can understand what people are complaining about, but for us it was not any more crowded or dirty than other parts of India we had seen. In contrast to what we had heard, Delhi also has some upscale neighborhoods with fancy places to shop and eat, and we found ourselves spending more time in these areas than we normally would. We found a kitschy western restaurant in a chic part of town with passable western food and amazing desserts, and we were hooked. We ate dinner there both nights, and Adam’s “birthday meal” was basically a baked ziti type dish with chicken and broccoli. It may sound plain to you, but try eating a strict Indian/Nepali meal for 5 and a half months and see how wild you go for it. Our other main activity was to check out Humayun’s tomb, which is one of the popular landmarks in Delhi and was right near our guesthouse, so you will see some pictures from there as well. That was the day activity on Adam’s actual birthday, if you’re keeping track.
The other activity of note, which was a complete stroke of luck, was an international jazz festival that happened to be going on the weekend we arrived. We had been in touch with a few different couch surfers before getting to Delhi and a couple of them were meeting up together at the festival, so we joined them and were able to enjoy a great night of free music in the park, hanging out with some locals, and trading travel stories with a couple other international CSers who had stopped by as well. All in all it was the perfect 2 day break we were looking for, a fun birthday celebration for Adam, and a great introduction to Delhi.