We made it! Sorry its taken us so long to get to our site. Its not that there aren't enough Internet cafes, because there are. Its just that there is so much to see and do here in India. We left Boston on January 1 and arrived India around midnight on the 2nd. We spent the 3rd trying to get our bearings and figure out a plan to tackle this immense country. There is so much to see and so little time. After much solicitation from innumerable travel touts we decided to go with one of the dodgey outfits and take our chances with hiring a private driver for a week. Fortunately for us, our driver's name is Lucky! And lucky he is. I'm not so sure how knowledgable he is about the sites we are seeing (Thankfully we've got the Lonely Planet!) but he sure is an amazing driver!! Driving here is CRAZY!! Its like playing the Frogger game. You are always dodging other cars, auto-rickshaws, bicycle-rickshaws, bicycles, pedestrians, ox, and the occasional camel. Crossing the street is for the same reason almost impossible. I have always thought that NYC cab drivers were the worst, well Delhi is unbeatable!! Yesterday we had a city tour of Delhi and we did find many areas of respite from the hustle and bustle of 12.8 million people. We saw the Red Fort, an immense structure built in the 1600s. We also saw India's largest mosque but unfortunately we arrived at prayer time so we couldn't enter. The Qtub Minar is an amazing pillar that was constructed when Islam came to India. And Dehli hosts the largest B'hai temple shaped as a lotus flower, incredibe architecture. Humayan's tomb is one heck of a mausoleum. Each architectural structure just awes the onlooker. And all of these parks, some World Heritage Sites, are so peaceful with amazing gardens. Just beyond the ticket booths the chaos of Dehli erupts again. Today, the 5th, we set off with our driver for Agra, home to the famous Taj Mahal. It has been an incredible day but I will save that for a separte entry with photos. A few random thoughts on India so far: There are so many different smells, I especially like the one of incense burning at business establishments to pay respects to the gods. They put mothballs in the sinks to make the bathrooms smell good. You hardly see any women at all out on the streets. Its all men going to work. Women don't drive either except for a few university women on mopeds. The food is amazing and Brad is chomping at the bit to delve into the street food while I am still very concerned about it. So far we have avoided Dehli Belly! In many ways this place has a lot in common with Latin American, the colors, small businesses, hustling, religious devotion, family bonds. And in some ways I imagine this is what trade in the middle east must look like. So many different religions and different kinds of turbans. Camels pulling loads of goods to market. And houses built upon one another. So that's it for tonight. We hope to get some pictures of the Taj Mahal uploaded soon. Happy New Year to all!
Ann and Brad
p.s. In case you're interested, my bag weighs 23lbs and Brad's 29lbs. He's got the guide books!
p.p.s We are having some technical difficulties getting our pictures up. We hope to find a fast connection one of these days. But hope you enjoy our entries anyway and when we get the pictures up, we'll go back and put them in the proper entries.