Saturday was the 150th birth anniversary of Nehru, plus it fell on the weekend, and is called Children's Day, dedicated to kids. So the Delhi traffic was 'light' comparatively speaking with it's 12 million cars, for our city bus tour, as many people were enjoying the holiday or going to the parks with their kids. Seems to be a lot of holidays in this country.
The group they have put us in is composed of about 32 people with about 6 of us coming from Canada. The lady from Vancouver fainted after her long flight as she got out of the vehicle in front of the hotel -- cutting her cheek, giving herself a black eye, cracking several front teeth, and breaking a rib. She spent the day at the dentist, then the doctor. Her roommate, another woman, from Chilliwack, joined us for the tour, then walked into the glass shower door back at the hotel, giving herself a black eye to match her roommate's. Brian says it looks like the had a fight.
Many of the things to do on the tour got rerouted due to the holiday or other idiosyncrasies. We drove down Shanti Path road with all the embassies and consulates and saw Canada, Australia, and the US, amongst Iran, China, Poland, etc. We also went by the expatriate housing compounds where I stayed in 1977 with the Canadian Military Commander for the Asia-Pacific region. Lots of memories for me. We went to the India Gate in Delhi, as opposed to Mumbai, with this one commemorating Indian soldiers killed in Afghanistan many decades ago. We had some small adventures there, as lots of families were holidaying, and wanted photos to be taken with us in them. We made a couple of small purchases from venders, just to get them off our backs, and had to escape the gypsy beggars.
We went twice to the Gandhi museum where he lived his last 122 days and was assassinated (at the Birla mansion), because of security only one tour group was allowed at a time, so we had to come back again later. We tried to drive by the Prime Minister's home, but security again turned us away. The Gandhi shrine was lovely, and a highlight of the Delhi experience. We went to Old Delhi where we tried to go to a Muslim mosque, but had to wait for prayers to finish, so all 32 of us were put onto cycle rickshaws and peddled towards the mosque with our leader in the front rickshaw. A special event was happening around the mosque and the leader had us turn around before we got there as he was worried about our safety from the Muslim crowd, plus he felt the cycle drivers were on drugs, they were going so fast and driving so erratically (especially our driver who turned around and smiled at us while we encouraged him on). Turned out the son of the Imam of the mosque was getting married, and not only that, but he was defying his father, and marrying a Hindu girl. "Could generate riots."
So back to the bus and off to a Sikh temple which was very crowded, and very peaceful. It was unnerving for the Americans in particular to have to go barefoot in the temple, and have to cover their heads with scarves. The smells around the temple were pretty pongo.
When we returned to our expensive hotel for dinner, our guide, Krishna Sharma, escorted about 12 of us over to a 'mall' a block or two away, so we could find cheaper meals, some liquor outlets, and some clothing (about 6 Americans lost all their luggage en route and it has not yet caught up to them). We enjoyed some South Indian food as only that or Indian-style Chinese food was being offered before 7 pm. We then had a refreshing drink with the father and daughter from Ohio, before heading back to the hotel to put our suitcases out in the hallway for pickup by 7 pm. The luggage was being sent to Jaipur by bus, overnight, while we got a 4:30 am wake up call to catch the early train the next morning. A bit of a difficult night anticipating the early wake up call, only to have to wait for a late train.
Its costing a lot to upload now, so I'll send my notes, then post some photos if I have time left over. Instead of 15 Rs per day, it is 250 Rs per hour. Then we will be offline for 2 to 4 days.