Wednesday, July 22, 2015

India Day One: Sightseeing and Culture Shock

Hello everyone! Sunday was out first day of sightseeing in Delhi and it was a great yet shocking day. I just want to premise this post by saying I really had an amazing day on Sunday, even with the problems that we had.

So Mom and I went to bed at 3 am Sunday and woke up five hours later. We got ready and met Mom's colleague (Ian) downstairs for some breakfast before heading out into Delhi.

Cows roaming the streets. We saw a lot of cows, monkeys and dogs wandering around! 
Our first stop was the Qutab Minar (I've seen different spellings of this, but this is the spelling from the tourism website). The Qutab Minar is a huge tower built in the 12th century and it was the tallest building in Delhi until 1971.

Photo from Instagram @thekschiap

Next we went to Akshardham, a temple that opened in 2005. Before going into the temple complex, there was a security check. Mom and I were surprised to discover that the security line was split between men and women. We would see this at other tourist sites and even at the airport! The women's line was usually led into a covered area. I don't understand it, but what could I do?

Photos or cameras are not allowed in Akshardham, but here is a link to some photos!

For lunch we went to The Great Kebab Factory in Delhi. It was yummy and the food kept coming out. The kebabs were the appetizer (but we thought that they were the main meal), so we were surprised when the waiter said "Are you ready for the main course?" It was a lot!!

Our last stop of the day was the Red Fort. It is the second Red Fort that was built in India, the first one was built in Agra because Agra was the capital of India for a while. The fort itself was beautiful, yet overwhelmingly crowded.

This part of the day was very stressful for me. I knew before coming to India that there was the possibility of people coming up to Mom and I and saying hi or asking for photos. What I did not expect, however, were the groups of young men (18-24 years old) coming very close to me and staring. Even though we had a guide, people would still come way too close for comfort. It was hot and crowded, I was tired and I just could not take the constant staring. I got very close to tears at the fort, but held it together so we could see the fort. I wish that I could have paid more attention to the tour guide, but it was close to impossible. We got out and back into the cab.

On the way back to the hotel, we passed the embassies and stopped at the President's house. It was not that busy so we got out and took some photos.

We went back to our hotel to relax, calm down and eat some dinner. The three of us decided to eat at the Italian restaurant at our hotel, Prego. It reminded us of home, which is just what we wanted after a long day. Unfortunately, we think that I ate some bad shrimp because I felt pretty sick the next day for the Taj Mahal.

All in all it was an amazing day and we saw some beautiful structures. While it got overwhelming at the end of the day, I would not have traded it for the world. It made me appreciate the United States and my privilege so much more.

Check back soon for the next blog post about Agra and the magnificence that is the Taj Mahal.


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