Day One in India– Jan. 3 2015

Finally! After 25 hours of air travel, we are in Delhi. Baby count on the first plane: 3. Baby count on the second plane: infinite. There were infinite crying babies. For seven and a half hours. A full day after saying Goodbye to our parents, we staggered out of the double decker airbus at 3 am Delhi time. Sleep deprived and lethargic, we waited for another half hour at the baggage claim. When all bags were in the hands of their rightful owners, we left the airport and got our first glimpse of New Dehli. It was orange. Everyone expressed some variation on “the sky is the wrong color.” For many of us, it was our first exposure to serious air pollution. The air was so thick with smog that the streetlights gave the sky orange and blue and purple patches.

We took a twenty minute bus ride to our hotel. The Colonel’s Retreat functions much like an apartment building, with two girls inhabiting each room and a common room on each floor. By that time, it was well past four in the morning, so we gorged ourselves on proffered banana bread and slipped away to bed.

A scant two hours later, we woke up again. It was heinous.

Thankfully, we were placated with a delicious breakfast of toast and eggs and tea. We were briefly briefed by Saima and Avipsha. We were given truly extravagant gifts (pictured below). Then we took the bus to the Indian Cultural Center. The Roshni girls greeted us with a red thumbprint between the eyes, a necklace of marigolds, a group song and a dance. Their enthusiasm was infectious. Before long we had all been paired off and were exchanging rapid fire questions with our Roshni partners. We played a few icebreaker games, trading memories and hidden talents, and then we did presentations on our respective home towns. As a blogger, I was partly responsible for our presentation on the West Coast (Best Coast), and I was largely satisfied with how it turned out. But to be honest, the Roshni presentation decimated our humble slideshow. They had graphics. They had fonts that wiggled and changed colors. They had factoids. They had statistics. Their script had plot points and character development. It was truly a wonder to behold.

Lunch was delightful despite the fact that we had to promise not to touch any salad or dairy products.

After lunch we took off on a bus tour of the big monuments of the city. Through condensation clouded windows we got glimpses of the India Gate, the Lotus Temple, and all the cars that threatened to careen into the side of our bus at every intersection. The symphony of New Delhi is strife with car horns and expletives. Traffic rules are regarded as guidelines or ignored entirely. We left the bus only once; to climb the steep steps up to the tomb of the Mughal emperor Humayun. Fun fact: The smaller tomb to the South of the main one was built for the emperor’s barber/confidante/personal masseur.

We’ve now retired back to the hotel for dinner. Overall, it was a fantastic first day!

Phrases of the day include:

I’m tired.

Say it again, but slower.

YIELD!

We apologize for the lack of group shots– we took some on bigger cameras but we can’t connect them to the computer just this moment.

photo 1Assorted Gifts from Roshni!
photo 5Emily Burnette feat. India Gate

 

photo 4

Tomb of Humayun!

photo 3

Steps up to the Tomb. Ok so after many trials we came to the conclusion that it’s impossible to illustrate with a camera how steep these steps are. The look of horror on Ms. Sherouse’s face might give you some idea. Or Colby falling down the stairs in the background (she’s fine!).

Till next time! This is Sophie signing off!

Recent Posts
Showing 2 comments
  • Nonna

    Wish I were there!! Belated Happy Birthday,Sophia!I’ m sure the sites make the sleep deprivation worthwhile!!So much world –so little time to see it all! Keep traveling! Love, Nonna
    (Loved the photo of you looking very native at the Agra Fort)– enjoy every moment. XXXXX

  • Sue

    Really lovely description of your first day!

Leave a Comment