Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Delhi Day 2



Weary travelers we are for sure, but loving every moment of it! If I haven't mentioned it, the Nikko has fabulous coffee and that is coming from someone who only drinks the foofy drinks!

Because our time clocks are so off, last night we ate dinner around 11pm. We stayed in the hotel and enjoyed an Indian meal at the Chutneys. A lasting impression was made by the Kulha, which is Indian ice cream. It was flavored with green tea and pistachios with a tiny amount of vermicelli noodles on top. YUM!

Today we ventured out to the Crafts Museum. Unfortunately, no photography was allowed, but the place was an intricately weaved labyrinth of rooms encompassing the history of India through it's crafts. We were awestruck as we wandered through rooms displaying pottery, tapestry, wood carvings, metal work, textiles, ornately carved ivory and stone. This was not your typical museum, no air conditioning, no glass cases...nothing to perserve the works and not a single "No touching" sign. We even saw a live lizard living amongst the displays. It is the closest we will probably ever be to art work produced in the 17th century and earlier. Huge pottery horses that stood over 7 feet tall, ornately carved wooden door jams from Nepal, and fine needle work of fabric for sari's were some highlights.

We stopped for a bit of shopping, although we are saving that for Jaipur. Wool...who knew that the most highly sought after variety comes from the chin of a goat that lives in the Himalayan mountains. I will admit, it feels nothing like the wool that I know. The fabric has the softest texture that will not wrinkle. Now that is an attribute worth the money :)

Stopping at traffic signals brings out the beggars from the fringes of the roadside. Today they were very small children performing gymnastics and contortions in the streets right next to your car. Then, before the light changes to green they tap on your window vying for your attention before you drive away. They are hard to ignore and resist.

Venturing out on foot, we finally got the courage to walk the streets this afternoon. Courage, in that dodging cars, bicycles, auto and pedal driven rickshaws along with fellow pedestrians is a well choreographed dance. You find yourself so busy bobbing and weaving that it is hard to see the shops and vendors. Plus, as a pedestrian, you are at a disadvantage without a horn! One large circle around the surrounding area was enough to get a feel for the neighborhood. People are extremely friendly however, and it is sometimes hard to understand that people are genuinely interested in who you are without wanting anything in return.

Evening entertainment was a performance of "Dances of India" by a local dance troupe. Colorful costumed performers danced to live music as each movement explained part of the history of an evolving India. The interesting thing about this group is that they perform everyday at 6:45pm at a tiny auditorium and have done this for thirty one years! A few minutes before the performance was to start, Pat and I were the only ones in the auditorium, due to a huge traffic jam caused by the prime minister who was hosting a dinner party tongiht. Thankfully, as the music began people began to shuffle in and we ended up with a pretty full house.

Pat treated me afterwards to a dinner of indulgence at the Imperial hotel. The Spice Route is a Thai restaurant that is quite well known for their excellent cuisine. We had a signature dish of prawns called Chemeen Thoren. The prawns come from off the coast of Mumbai and are the size of my fist and were of so tender and delicious. We both had secretly hoped to shed a few pounds on this trip. Thank goodness for elastic waists as I don't think weight loss is a possibility here. Everything we have tried is scrumptious :)

On to Agra tomorrow....and our first train trip! Less than a week until we meet our sweet Devi!

1 comment:

Kristi said...

Glad you are taking so much in! We loved The Spice Route at the Imperial too! It felt very snooty, especially since we were there with Daya in tow. Amazing food though!!! I recognize the door man at The Nikko. :) Thanks for your pics and great posts!!!

Kristi W.