Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 2 - Khan Market and Purana Qila

Today we went to two interesting places. We took tuc-tuks to both places . A tuk-tuk is an auto rickshaw and there are thousands of them in Delhi. Everyone seems to ta,e them. They are almost always yellow and green and have three wheels. They are driven like a motor bike with a handle bars. The driver is in front and 2 or 3 passengers sit in the back. There are no doors and just a rail between the driver and passengers. They buzz along in the middle of all the other traffic. If anyone had told me on Saturday night that I would go in on willingly two days later, I never would have believed it. But - being driven in a tuk-tu is a lot less scarey than walking in tne traffic and its cheaper than takkng a real taxi - which there are also a few. You can pick one up just past Gate 2 into Nizamuddin East. Nizamuddin is one the main ares of Delhi and is where b19 is located.

In the morning we had breakfaxt in our room. Mike had vegrtable parantha and gobi with lassi (yogurt). I just had toast and yogurt.  Then we walked to Gate 2 and caught a tuk-tuk for about a 5 km drive to a fairly big market called the Khan Market. The market consists of several streets - in pretty bad repair- with rows of really awfully delapidated 2 story buildings. In Canada you would definitely not go anywhere near it. But we had been told by the manager of b19 that it was good so we weren't too worried. We walked aroind for awhile until we noticed a sign for an upstairs bookstore. We were welcomed in - so up we went. It was a great little bookstore with all sorts of wonderful books - some were beautiful books about India but there also the usual Danielle Steele, latest best sellers, etc. We bought a Hindi phrase book. We have been trying to say thankyou in Hindi - dhanyavad.  Sounds kind of Russian to us. Once we had bought a boook, the ice was broken! We then went into several other shops and bought me a new purse and two pretty and cool Indian outfits - a red paisly top and a long black and white dress. All I need now is a scarf - red would be best - and I will fit in. Some of the saris and other dresses worn here are absolutely georgeous - stunning colours and covered with sparkles. Mine are comparatively plain - so OK for a westerner to wear. Then we bought some food supplies - bread, cheese, salami, etc. and took a tuk-tuk home.

After lunch back at b19 we set out to visit an important Mogul fort called Purana Qila. Like the Tomb of Humayun, it is a large archaeological site with large ornate buildings and ruins set large lawns. We had a few adventures on the way. First the traffic was a lot busier than in the morning so the trip was pretty exciting. We were dropped off by a busy bus stop and weren't sure which way to go. At kne point we walked into the grounds of an ancient mosque. An elderly man came over to where we sitting on a bench looking at our map. He asked gently where we were from. We told him and he said, 'This is a muslim mosque.' and told us the place we were looking for was a km away. The next place we walked to was the law courts. There were people in traditional black law gowns carrying sheefs of papers hurrying in every direction. OK-try again. This time we went through a gate and found ourselves at the back of purana qili where they burned the garbage. However a path led to a small lake where people rented paddle boats. Others rented big clear bubbles to 'walk on water.' 15 minutes walking on water equalled 30 minutes on a stair climber! We watched for a few minutes as people tried to keep their balance and ineviably rolled over and crawled along inside their bubble. The path continued along to purana qili and we had a lovely walk past the various old buildings and across the wide lawns. Even though it was Monday it was quite busy - very  peaceful.

All in all a lovely and interesting second day in India. I think we are lucky to have spent time in the Philippines and other tropical countries - things would otherwise feel extremely strange but it's somehow all quite familiar here.

9 oclock and time to get to bed. The muezzin has stopped his very long chanting but trains not far away are  still tooting.

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