We spent ten days in Delhi, relaxing and working and doing a bit of sightseeing. We were really fortunate to be able to house sit for our friends Steve and Leslie while they were in Thailand – we so appreciated the opportunity to not stay in a hotel and just rest, relax and get some work done! We liked Delhi so much we came back for a second time for another week when more of our friends were around. We spent lots of great time in Delhi catching up with friends – we had an amazing Ethiopian meal with our friends Yosef and Sinedu, indulged our Western food needs with Jessica and Cyril, and found a Hard Rock cafe we could actually afford with our friend Chelsea. We ate amazing local food with our friend Susie, and caught up with Reuben’s friends Bijo, Babit and their families. We ate and laughed with Leslie and Steve, Roger and Hiroko and their children.
We watched a fantastic Bollywood movie – check it out, it’s really interesting and funny.
We went to the mall, drank coffee and enjoyed the air conditioning and modern shops. We experienced the fun of walking through a flooded street, trying very hard not to think about what we were walking through! We didn’t even realise it was raining when we went outside…we were very late to our lunch appointment across town by the time we waded through water, passed broken down rickshaws, found a rickshaw driver to take us across town for an exorbitant price and then had to get out and push when our own rickshaw broke down! (We found out later that this was actually one of three rainiest days in Delhi over the last 10 years, which explained a lot.)
We did some mundane but necessary tasks like getting my first haircut in over a year, buying some computer bits and pieces at Nehru place and seeing a dentist (who was cleaner, cheaper and nicer than the last dentist I saw in NZ – at NZD $40 for a check up, x ray, a filling, sealing another filling and a clean up and scaling it might be worth doing more tourist/dental trips to India!) We also spent some time being tourists. We had already visited Humayun’s tomb and the Jama Masjid mosque on our honeymoon, so we didn’t go here but I would definitely recommend both of these. This time around, we went to see Qutb Minar, a beautiful tower that used to have a mosque attached. The mosque was made out of pieces taken from Hindu and Jain temples, and you could still see traces of the architecture.
We went to Hazrat Nizamuddin Darga, where we saw the tomb of Nizamuddin, watched the evening meal being taken for the end of Ramadan for the day and saw the prayers and singing. Nizamuddin was a Muslim sufi who was famous for caring for the poor.
We visited the Red Fort, which is a massive fort in Old Delhi. We went early in the morning to escape the heat of the day, and had a great lunch afterwards right outside the Jama Masjid. Sadly, our favourite restaurant Karim’s was closed for Ramadan, but we consoled ourselves by finding one with almost identical food next door.
We visited a bird sanctuary with our friends Graham, Cynthia and family – a lovely change from the busy streets! Graham runs a publishing company – check them out at mountainpeak.biz !
We also visited an excellent hospital – India has been giving me (Karen) stomach problems which masquerade as chest pain- you’ve got to love a medical system where you can see a cardiologist the next day for NZD $20! I probably didn’t actually need to see a cardiologist, but after a few sleepless nights Reuben got sick of me telling him to find another wife if I die and took me off to the hospital. Here I met with a lovely cardiologist, had an EGC and got to do a fun test where I had a chest ultrasound, walked on the treadmill as it went faster and faster and I tried not to trip over my sandals, and then got ultrasounded again. End result – better stomach drugs and a clean bill of health for my heart! You will notice my glamorous outfit that I did the test in – I missed the part where the doctor said I could keep my own pants on!
We visited two really interesting organisations in Delhi. The first of these is Courage Homes, which provides care for girls who have been involved in prostitution. The second of these is Shalom which works holistically with people who have HIV/AIDS. We were inspired and impressed by the people who work here who are doing their best to make a difference in this world! Visiting these organisations made us think more deeply about issues of freedom, health and poverty – we would really encourage you to go check out their websites to find out more about this awesome work.