From Bangkok we arrived in Delhi on the morning of March 10th. We had arranged for someone from our hotel to pick us up at the airport and fortunately they pulled through. After we arrived at our hotel, we had a lunch of tandoori chicken and naan. Then the girls decided to take a little siesta but I was eager to see what India was all about. I was guided to a local bazaar by one of the "boys" from the hotel staff (the caste system was evident from my first 20 minutes at the hotel- "dont worry, we'll have a boy do that" or "a boy will take you"). I wandered around the bazaar for a while, making sure I didn't get too lost on my first afternoon in India. I made my way back to the hotel a couple of hours later, wondering where all the awful smells sights and sounds were that I had come to expect. Needless to say, I was a little underwhelmed by Delhi after all the hoopla.
That evening, around 7 pm, we asked our hotel staff if they could recommend a good Indian restaurant. They told us they knew of one but that restaurants didn't open until 8:00 pm because people dont typically eat dinnner until 9 or later. So we hung out with the hotel staff for a while until a boy guided us to the restaurant, Alpha Spice, which would become a popular dinner place for us while in Delhi. The food at Alpha Spice was excellent- we tried all sorts of Indian dishes (the spicier the better) with naan and raita ( an unsweetened yogurt that cuts the spicyness). There was also traditional Hindi music that began around 9 pm. We ended up being moved to a neighboring hotel the next day (our hotel was overbooked) and after asking them for a dinner recommendation that evening, we were guided to the same restaurant. This kept happening so we eventually had to say " No not Alpha Spice!".
On our first full day in Delhi, we ventured to the market that i had already been to, and picked up some traditional Indian garb. We also had lunch at a street restaurant called Punjap Sweets, and it was our first experience of vegetarian Thali which is basically a tray of three or four different Indian vegetarian curries (normally with paneer, lentils, chickpeas and the like), naan, rice, raita and a sweet. We loved our first experience eating thalis, and have had many since. We also made several purchases at the market, buying tunics and the stretchy leggings that the women wear under them. I also bought a matching outfit which consists of a pink short sleeved, long top with matching white pants with pink embroidery. We decided to wear our new Indian outfits back to, you guessed it, Alpha Spice for dinner that evening.
The next day we took a city tour of Delhi, having hired a taxi to take us around for the day. We visited Parliament, India Gate (which looks like the Arc de Triomphe), the Ghandi Memorial and Museum, the Indra Ghandi (first female prime minister of India) museum, among others. We also visited Lotus Temple, which is of the Bahai faith, and is an extraordinary architecturual masterpiece, as well as Jamal Masjid, the largest mosque in India. Now, after having made our clothing purchases at the market, we thought we were looking very appropriate for all the temples and mosques in our long tunics and leggings. However, apparently because we were foreigners, we were made to wear what literally looked like clown suits inside Jamal Masjid. As if we didn't stick out enough, these (what I can only compare to as smocks that we used to wear in art class in elementary school) were bright orange and pink, tying in the back with huge white circles all over them. There was no need to worry about losing each other, you could easily pick out the brightly colored smock from any part of the mosque that can hold up to 20,000 people.
The next day we decided to go back to Old Delhi, where Jamal Masjid is, and see the famous Red Fort. Meanwhile, I had been emailing with people through workaway.info and WWOOF about places we could stay and work in India. One person I had been in touch with was named DJ (for short) and he was a student at Delhi University, his parents owning a large home in Darhmsala with farm land, apparently. Well DJ decided to meet us at the Red Fort ( we had been communicating via cell phone) since he lived nearby. He walked around the red fort with us, telling us some relevant information, but mostly I think he was excited to be walking around with three foreign girls. Only when we asked him whether or not his parents could take us on their farm did he inform us that they were doing renovations and unable to take us at that time...