Saturday, August 04, 2007

Yet Another Saturday in Old Delhi

Yesterday one of life's burning questions got answered. How many goras fit in an auto rickshaw? The answer, it may surprise you to learn, is 3. I know that at least twice that many Indians can squeeze in, but we goras have a limit of 3. And there we were, 3 of us crammed into the rickshaw on our way to India Gate and points beyond.

I have a colleague/friend, Oliver, who has just arrived in India and Manuel and I decided to play tour guides and show him around my city. Yes, I do think of Delhi as my city. I know what you are all thinking. Why would 3 goras pile into the little oven on wheels when I have such an entertaining driver. Well, my Hindi-hop loving driver Ajay, threw in the steering wheel while I was in Amsterdam and moved his whole family back to Punjab. He was a fun guy and I got miles and miles of stories out of him. I can honestly say that driving is just not as fun nor as near death as they were with my original driver. These days his brother-in-law, Goudou is my driver. No Hindi-hop. No Bollywood sing-a-long style show tunes. No impromtu viewings of his modelling pictures. He is a driver that seems content to just drive without all the on-board entertainment I had come to expect on the bumpy roads.

Yesterday found the three of us on the tour from Connaught Place from where we took the metro to Chawri Bazaar, walked to Jama Masjid and then to Chandni Chowk. As soon as we got to Chandi Chowk, Manuel spotted McDonald's and I was scared it was going to be Maharaja Macs for 3, but I instead convinced them to go to Karim's instead, which threw a monkey wrench into my plans as I had Karim's pencilled in for dinner. Oh well, when in Delhi, one must go with the traffic and off we went to Meena Bazaar for one of my favorite restaurants in the whole world. Not only is the food good, but it does seem to attract the cuter tourists. I have always believed that a good view makes for better dining.

From Karim's, it was back to Chandni Chowk where we took Oliver to our favorite temple and it was off to Khari Bawali or as the non Delhi-wallahs call it, the spice market. We followed our noses and before long our senses were bombarded as the smell of all the spices filled the air. Suddely there were monkeys overhead and so I played the tourist and started snapping pictures. A guy in a horse cart told me to get out of the way because I was standing in the middle of the road, but then I pointed out that 10 thousand other people were standing in the same road and told gim to give the gora a break. He smiled, I smiled and all was well in Old Delhi.

After a hot and sweaty time in Old Delhi, there was just one thing to do... Head to Aqua for poolside drinks and some cooling off under the misting fans. One pitcher of Long Island iced teas later and we were feeling well enough to make our way to Q'BA for dinner on the rooftop terrace.

Before long it was time to pile back into the rickshaw and head back to New Friend's Colony where, within 15 minutes of arriving I was fast asleep, to tired to even undress. Today will find me working and then at 16:30, it will be off to Aqua with swim suits in hand for late afternoon cocktails by and in the pool with Stephen, Pierre and David.

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