Our last two days in Delhi, as remembered 3 days and half a world later. There is not a ton to write, as we were just shopping and visiting with friends.
On Friday morning, Mom, Domingos, and I set out for some hard-core shopping. We wanted to go to Central Cottage Industries, which shouldn’t have been that difficult. However, we went the wrong way off the metro at first, and when we got turned in the proper direction by a friendly passerby, we then encountered loads of construction cutting off Janpath. I think 3 or 4 people ending up giving us various directions, but it wasn’t until we struck up conversation with a reporter walking by us on the street that we found out that there was a large student demonstration going on which was delaying CCI’s opening hours until 2:00. We took a tuk-tuk to another CCI, which ended up being a bogus CCI, so we left and took another tuk-tuk to the state emporiums (each state of India has its own shop featuring that region’s handicrafts). We started down the long row and immediately found many wonderful things to buy. 🙂
After doing some damage, we stopped for dosas and sodas at a coffeeshop, at which point Dad joined us. After going into a few more states, we all walked over to CCI together, shopping a little along the way. CCI is a huge department store with many stories, filled with goods from all over India. It’s really wonderful shopping in India: you pick out what you want in one department, they give you a slip, and you keep walking through the store gathering slips. At the end of your shopping, you can pay for everything at once and then pick up all of your items. It’s great not carrying everything through the whole store.
After CCI, we went over to the row of Tibetan shops to visit Doma, a Tibetan woman who has had a shop there and one in Mussoorie for many years. She was napping behind her counter when we got there, with a stick across the door entry, but we woke her up and had a lovely visit. Domingos and I bought a gorgeous antique copper Kashmiri cooking pot.
Friday night, we (except Mom) drank Old Monk in the hotel room and had a grand old time before heading out to dinner. We were laughing uproariously about something or other during most of our drinking hour, so much so that we were wiping tears away. I think it started with Mom finding a website that went into detailed explanations of each of our names. Anne’s and Dan’s were hit-or-miss, but for the most part, Domingos and Anjali were frighteningly accurate. We ate dinner back at old favorite Jade Garden (honey potatoes), and stopped for fresh gulab jamuns on the way home.
On Saturday, we went to Khan market to meet Mom’s friend Bhavanesh for lunch at her club (a delicious meal; we all had the veg thalis except Dad, who had the non-veg one, and a remarkable fig and honey ice cream for dessert). Bhavanesh, a minor princess of the state of Patiala, has had a remarkable career. Read a little about her here.
After lunch, we hung out back at the hotel with Anju and Sandeep. I hope they will come visit us in the States before too long!
We left for the airport around 9pm, and got through all the lines and security with little trouble. We then ate a leisurely dinner at an airport restaurant before saying goodbye to Mom and Dad and boarding our flight to Paris.
I wanted to add just a small sampling of some of the sights of this trip in India traffic:
- 4 adult men on a motorcycle
- A family of 5 on a motorcycle
- A woman (sitting sidesaddle, as they almost all do) breastfeeding (covered) her child on the back of a motorcycle
- 8 adults in a tuk-tuk scooter
- A scooter with a camel tied to it, following behind
- A painted elephant in the middle of nighttime Jaipur traffic (not counting the elephants in traffic around the Amber Fort)
- Several wedding processions, including scared-looking young grooms on their white horses
- Bicycles hauling all sorts of crazy loads – textiles, machine parts, brooms, etc.
- Countless water buffalo and cows
One of our guides told us India is a true democracy – you see it on the roads!