The good news for Chewy is that up until now, everyone has been accounted for (even when the Aussies were lost, we sort of knew where they were). We get to the train station and only have a few minutes before the train leaves. Seeming as we are always well fed and hydrated, we were not in a hurry to get food- but Skinny and Poutine were. So, off they go to find train platform snacks... Skinny is back rather quick with some random packaged food (quite the change from the white starch he's been eating since Varanasi). The train starts moving... Chewy casually walks back to come play cards with us and we realize- no Poutine. And the train is off the platform on its way to the next station. What a stressful mess!! After watching Chewy run up the train a few times, she randomly surfaced from another carriage. Dodged that bullet.
I'm starting to like the trains, and have managed to restrict my fluid intake enough before train rides that I haven't had to use the toilets once (thank you dinosaur bladder). We are traveling in first class air conditioned cabins mostly, and they have been quite nice (nice is a relative term here). My favorite part has been being able to buy hot chai in tiny cups while we're sitting playing cards or while I'm writing to all of you out there. It's actually very relaxing.
When we arrive in Delhi the three of us had to get to the airport to finalize changing our tickets. G Adventures only uses 2 or 3 taxi drivers in Delhi, because they are very reliable and honest, we're told. Chewy hooks us up with a lift to the airport and we're off. Without being long winded- we had a minor catastrophe with changing our tickets. We ended up with tickets to Kat on March 8 (instead of March 5), and there were absolutely no seats left on any of the Jet Airways flights on Sunday or Monday. So frustrating! But when you get lemons, add some vodka and power through. We ended up buying three new tickets on IndiGo for March 5. We'll deal with trying to get a refund when we have more time.
When we left the terminal- we had one of the most intense paparazzi moments yet. People with camera phones multiplied rapidly- taking our photos, some posing with us, others just trying to get as many photos as possible. At the point Ging yelled "uh, that one's got a video camera!" we took off across the road to try and find our driver. 15 minutes of fame- check.
In the afternoon we went to see the India Gate, a monument in memory of the soldiers who gave their lives in battles for India. It is likely the most touristy space we have been to, with street vendors everywhere, children peddling handmade bracelets and even suave looking Indian men boasting to take your picture for you. We found out from G6 a bit later that he had been harassed by a young girl to buy a bracelet, and the entire altercation garnered a bit of an audience... The poor kid even turned on the water works. Note to the wise: just say no, and keep saying no. Poor G6. Big heart and wants to help everyone (he had his change for the poor in his pocket), but is just getting hassled by the aggressive ones here in Delhi.
For our last supper, the group went out together to a restaurant called Spicy by Nature in Karol Bagh. It was hands down the best meal we have had in India so far. All of the dishes had a unique flavor- and the Mushroom Dhingri was amazing!!! We had a stock standard share fest again- palak paneer, chana masala, tandoori kadai gobhi and tandoori roti. A perfect meal for the three of us. Skinny and G6 went to town on the menu- consuming copious amounts of food (and the girliest drinks on the menu). I am honestly shocked to watch how these kittens eat!!
After dinner, we wanted to round out our trip with a night on the town. Now you think it would be easy to convince the Aussies to come out- but it was like pulling teeth! They finally caved and joined us for a drink at Jade Garden... Let's just say that none of them are winning any awards for their drink choices. Chocolatini? Way to do Oz proud boys. After one drink, the boys called it a night. The three of us walked another half block before deciding that Delhi at night was not where we should be by ourselves.
Sunday was our last day in Delhi. Naturally, we ventured out to check out the Meena Bazaar in the city. Delhi has one of the nicest metro's I have been on, is quite easy to navigate, and accesses many parts of the city (airport included). As the capital of India, the city is beginning to become more evolved in terms of cleanliness in comparison with the rest of The country. There were trash bins (and recycling bins) for once! Because of this- the new, very modern metro is actually clean and comfortable. Interesting fact: there are women only cars on the metro. Food for thought I suppose.
The Meena Bazaar was intense. Not only was it scorching hot outside, the market was crowded with men, all shuffling through, purchasing jeans and shirts and such. This was actually only our second experience with groping in public. Nothing serious, just a bum grab, but it's disturbing nonetheless as it is definitely nothing that any of us expect/welcome. The only solution is to try and avoid crowded places- which can be difficult depending where you are. After about 20 minutes of being hassled and harassed at the market, we ducked out into an open courtyard to make a decision about how we were going to get ourselves out of there and to somewhere to have lunch. Even sitting outside the chaos, within a minute we had an audience of about 15 men, just standing and watching us. Chewy- if you ever read this- at that moment we appreciated how much having you around deterred this from happening during the trip. Luckily, a kind old gentleman yelled at the crowd and they scattered. We all really wish we knew what he said.
After a disgustingly large lunch of masala dosa and poori, we headed back to the hotel to meet the Aussies. Holi (the festival of colors), is on Thursday. Basically: food, drink, water balloons and colored powder. So much fun! The kids are getting prepped for it already, and on our walk back, B gets ambushed by 4 little boys with water balloons! Her entire back was soaking wet and the three of us giggle our way back to the hotel. I hope we get to play Holi in Annapurna.
Too much for the 3 of us!
Skinny is down for the count again- poor kid has just not had great luck with India. So G6, Curly, the Norwegians and the Trio had a nice last meal together at Spicy by Nature. Being the last night, we thought we'd have some fun, so after dinner we decided to enjoy a few pops on the roof of our hotel... Dear Aussies: I talked some smack and then Karma got me. You can count that one- thanks for being fun on our last night in India!
We're back in Kat now to start the next part of the adventure: trekking Annapurna. It's going to be a massive change from what we've been doing- but we're all stoked about it. Our 15 day jaunt with our group was fantastic. Great to get to know some new people from around the world in your travels. We'll miss the Norwegian Boy sneaking up on us and scaring us, the cuteness of the Brits holding hands everywhere we went, the watchful eyes (and card cheating eyes) of Chewy who always had our back- and I suppose hearing about the HHH's and the BT Combos from the Aussies (FYI we have been spotting lots of HHH today kittens). But on to the next chapter. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of this story.
We'll miss you India,
L, B & the Ging
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