New Day in Old Delhi

After retreating to the refuge of our hotel after the first day in Delhi...and falling fast asleep against our best intentions... we were well rested for the first official day of touring in India.

We began in Old Delhi, where our tour guide declared that we'd see more than enough forts during our time in India, and instead she recommended bicycle rickshaw rides through the congested but lively streets of Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi's market. Jason had to take a photo of the electrical wires overhead and send it to his electrician father, asking if this was up to code.Likely not.

The streets were full of people, noises, smell and color. We were giddy at the spectacle of it all, and the ride yielded some of my favorite photos from the trip. (The first one taken with Jason's iPhone!)Inside shop entrances, merchants laid out brilliant saris for customers to consider, like jewels in the rough streets.Take a ride with us in this short video we grabbed. Watch for the goats, look for two little boys hitching a ride on a small truck, listen for the call to prayer at Delhi's Jama Masjid mosque, and marvel at travel coming right at us with complete aloofness.

We were tremendously impressed with our rickshaw driver who was a lean as a spring sapling, likely weighed less than me alone, but pulled Jason and I around for about an hour.

At the mosque we had to cover up in loaned kaftans, for both the ladies and men in shorts. My purse under the cover-up gave the impression that I was playing the rear-end of a horse for Halloween, which made me and Jason chuckle every time we looked at our photos. No disrespect intended to this beautiful place of worship which was completed in 1656 and can hold up to 25,000 worshipers.
From there we visited Gandhi's memorial at Raj Ghat. Here we had to shuck off our shoes for a second time, a ritual that would become routine over the next two weeks at various sacred or honored sites.

Wrapping up our day we had the driver drop us at Connaught Place where we had an authentic brush with Bollywood stardom. Rather, we saw a humongous throng, including guys standing on top of trucks, and wondered what was going on. An onlooker reported that starlet Katrina Kaif was filming...somewhere in that crowd of men.

(Candidly, I became more of a Shahrukh Khan fan myself during our visit to India, after watching hours of his TLC reality show in our hotel rooms. It was adorable in its contrast to US reality shows that are based on invented drama and petty complaints, whereas Shahrukh Khan's show is all about how he loves his friends, plays ball with his kids. It's adorably comic.)

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