We began this blog with good intentions -- and a goal to publish once every week or so. Clearly, the whirlwind of teaching has thwarted our efforts... We'll get caught up soon, though. First stop: quarter break in Delhi.
If you've seen our pictures on facebook, you're already aware that we split our time between historical treasures and modern conveniences. We did it all, it seemed, though we really did next to nothing if you consider what Delhi has to offer.
A lot of people around Woodstock think of Delhi nothing special, just another nearby city. But we found the visit overwhelming and exciting. The streets, the noise, the smells, the architecture, the chaos. It was a blast, but definitely didn't feel like a "vacation" -- traveling was confusing and somewhat stressful, though worth every bit of trouble. Some highlights follow.
1) The Red Fort
Wandering around this huge complex (with the help of an audio tour) was quite the experience. The architecture was beautiful, though many Indian visitors seemed more interested in snapping photos of our group of white people... another common theme of our travels around Delhi.
2) Jama Masjid
Just a few kilometers away from the Red Fort is the Jama Masjid, India's biggest mosque, and it was certainly impressive! The photo above doesn't do it justice. We enjoyed wandering through the marble structures and around the huge courtyard.
But my favorite part of our explorations involved climbing up into the turret, from which we could see all of Old Delhi. On the way up I snapped a photo of the streets nearby, momentarily freezing the chaos.
3) Taj Mahal
We took a day trip to Agra to see the Taj. Though it was many hours of driving, it was worth it. Facebook includes most of the many, many pictures we and our friend Ritika took at the site. This is a classic shot that again fails to capture the building's grace.
4) Qutb Minar
One of the historical sites closest to our B&B is Qutb Minar, the oldest and tallest minaret in India. Though all the other sites were amazing, I think this was my favorite. It was less crowded than the others, and the ruins were just plain interesting. You could wander around peacefully and soak it all in. Unfortunately, our camera battery died after only a few pictures...
We don't have any pictures of the malls, as they were pretty much just like American malls. Our mall tours were bland, but it was relaxing to wander around somewhere that felt like home. And of course we gained access to some western brands that we've been missing:
6) India's Broadway: Kingdom of Dreams... "a spectacle so grand it can fit only in your dreams"
Gypsy prince! Seductive gypsy woman! Evil king! Underwater sequences! Real snow! LED backdrops! Actors flying through the air! Vigorous dancing and pounding music!
We didn't understand Hindi, but I'm pretty sure all four of us understood the plot of this show. And it would have been just as much fun even if we hadn't. The theater's tagline is right -- this show was almost completely spectacle. And it was one of the most entertaining things we've ever witnessed. Thumbs up, India!
This post leaves out much of our journey.... Karim's amazing curries, death-defying street crossings, Delhi's superb subway system, our lovely B&B, autorickshaws, Dilli haat, etc. But we've been rambling for far too long. See you soon, with an update about activity week!
love, mel and chris