Thursday, April 12, 2007

India Jouranl 2006 #42-Adventures in Delhi April 10-13 #1

Well, here I am in Delhi, a few days after my last post from Rishikesh. Today is thursday but I want to go back to tuesday and start from the beginning ot this new part of my journey. HOpefully I will get it all done today, but if not, tomorrow is another day.

April 10th 16:13
Just got onto the Shabtabdi Express from Dehra Dun to Delhi. We boarded at Hardiwar exactly on time, our luggage was placed on the upper luggage racks by a porter and we found our seats. The train is a little too chilly for me but it is the first time in over 3 weeks that I can complain of being chilly and it is a lovely feeling. Simply put on my shawel which is always with me.

I am using my IPod with earphones for the fist time and have decided to begin the journey with some musicals. I've chosen "Oklahoma" as my first choice,
have put my chair back in reclining position, and have already been brought a bottle of water and a snack on my food tray. "Tea Kit", ladoo (sweet), samosa, apple drink and some crispy masaly snack. I have so much leg room it is unbelievable and am extremely comfortable. The carriage is only 1/2 full (it filled up at the next stop). The sun is setting in the West and this going to be a lovely 5 1/2 hours...quite luxurious!!

Just a "Oklahome" ended we were served soup and roll and butter. Now I'm reclinigna dn resting again and "Camelot" is playing. Even after all these years (I was a teenager when I saw it on Broadway with my friends Jessica Dunsay and Rina Hellman), it still moves me when I hear Julie Andrews, Richard Burton and Robert Goulet as I saw them live on Broadway.

Then I decided to "dance" until dinner is served. it is now about 9 PM. Dinner is over, enormous meal. Aloo gobi (potatoes and cauliflower), paneer (cheese in sauce), rajma dahl (kidney beans and chickpeas), rice, 2 chapaties, fresh salad veggies and small earthen jug of absolutely heavenly curd for dessert. (At the time I noted that everything in the dinner were things I am not supposed to eat and have been avoiding for the past 6 weeks...little did I know how it would effect me later on....)

Now just "dancing the night away", lovely couples dances, and will probably fall asleep. Have been dozing on and off since the trip started. Anoter 1:45 to go. Really lovely...and then Delhi!!

WOW! Again being served, this time ice cream (and that was my final downfall I think) was really delicious! They just don't give you a minute to relax on this train!

Sitting next to me was this sweet young girl. She is 25 years old, lives in Dehra Dun and was just home for Easter Vacation from her job as air hostess out of Delhi for Air India. She is a Christian, quite beautiful and well spoken. Has an MA in economics and is basically just enjoying a few years of freedom before her parents arrange a marriage for her...she says it will be a problem as all the nice guys she meets are Hindu, and that is impossible. She is completely at peace with an arranged marriage, as she will be allowed to pick and choose until she finds one she likes. i mentioned the movie "Namaste London" to her and she said "Yes, just like that" and then we laughted awhile about the movie.

She was dressed in jeans with a plain long sleeve top and shawel and seemed quite conservative, until we neared Delhi and she was talking on the phone to her friend who was coming to pick her up. (She also arranged for him to board the train and take down our luggage for us off the rack). She removed her shawel, and long sleeve top to reveal a very revealing, low-cut, spaghetti strap shirt just short of her belly button line...And then proceeded to put on makeup and do her hair. She looked like an entirely different person!!

Our luggage was taken down off the rack by someone on the train just as we pulled into Delhi exactly on time. The first rickshaw driver who approached us gave us a perfectly fair price, 20 rupees, to our hotel and so we didn't even have to haggle. And I didn't get to use the lovely Hindi phrases I had practiced for the past few days.

In the end, he got both of us and all our luggage into one rickshaw, instead of 2, and took 30 rupees apiece but it was still perfectly OK. I he a lot of lifting of heavy stuff to fit it all into the small space and still have room for us. He left me off first, and Ilse agreed to meet me the following morning at my hotel...and that is the last I've seen of her. I really hope all is well with her, but have no way of finding out as I do not know where she is staying and she doesn't use e-mail at all.

This new Hotel, Anoop, is quite lovely. Simple, but friendly and clean. First room I was given was small but adequate but the AC did not work so they gave me another room which turns out to be a deluxe room, very large, with 3 beds in it, lovely marbel floors, 2 ceiling fans, dressing table and lovely bathroom, for the same price they were charging me for the smaller standard room. The ceiling fan sounds like a truck and the AC like a tank but now I don't need my earplugs as every possible sound is drowned out!!

Had a lovely shower and off to bed. Slept well and now the fresh morning air is coming in the windows i just opened. Will have to close them soon but now, at 7 AM, it is quite fresh and col as it was yesterday at 11 PM when we arrived. And even though it was 11 PM, it was as alive as during the day and no problem with arriving here so late at night.

The staff is really wonderfully accomodating and I am really pleased and thankful I was guided to this place.

Will get dressed and meet Ilse soon for breakfast and at 10 will see to my train ticket to Pathankot.

OK...I will end here and continue tomorrow or later with part 2 of the Delhi Adventure.