First Day In India
After a harrowing taxi ride to our hotel, Nat and I booked in to a tiny hovel of a room but at least we had our own shower (pictures to follow). We had a fairly uneventful day but I learned the first of many important lessons: do not bother asking for food that is not spicy. My first meal was “chicken stew” which in actuality was some kind of meat that looked more like pigeon in a liquid that was half oil half this pulsating yellow substance. And very spicy. Our next meal was much better (and more expensive); lamb in a thick masala and curried dal lentils. We also stopped at a stand and bought some mixed nuts, but I decided not to continue eating them after the first handful tasted like street, fecal matter, dirt and diesel.
Day two we decided to explore the city a little bit and didn’t get far before we met a very nice guy from Nepal who was running a chai stand with his aunt. We had a very good 5 rupee chai and he gave us some advice about the city. We went to explore a little more and he caught up with us and gave us a massive tour around the city that lasted until 10:00pm. We saw the gates of India, ate at a wonderful vegetarian restaurant (with food that wasn’t spicy!), bought some Indian clothes at a bargain rate, listened to chanting and a lecture at a Hare Krishna temple and walked along Chaupati beach. The market he took us to was the biggest in the city and consisted of a maze of narrow lane ways packed with people, not one foreigner in sight. There was stall after stall of saris, shoes, silks, clothes of every shape and fabric. Our guide led us to a stall about four feet wide that we had to walk through then ascend a narrow, winding ladder to a three foot wide room filled with shelves of saris. We sat while the owner pull out sari after sari describing the patterns and colours and how beautiful all of them would look. After seeing about twenty five saris we decided not to buy one that day. The trip to the temple was provoked when our guide learned that I was without faith and did not pertain to any particular religion. I guess he saw me as up for conversion and took it upon himself to show me the way. The chanting was fun and the lecturer was very good and well spoken (the lecture was in English). I am currently utterly exhausted by our hour and a half walk back to the hotel so I’m going to end this post by saying that this doesn’t even come close to explaining the sheer madness and energy of the largest city in South Asia.