India - First Impressions
These are some photos from my first hotel in India. What more could I expect for $23/night? I could have slept anywhere afternoon two long flights. Even with the upgrades (thank you, DTF!), I was ready for real sleep. So I took a bucket shower - the shower head was not functional) and crashed.
Very early the next morning, I was awake so I decided to headed into the city (I had been advised to stay at a hotel near the airport sincerely my flight had arrived so late). I took my first TukTuk of this visit to the Metro. This is where I first realized how heightened security is in India. I passed through a metal detector, my bag was scanned, and I proceeded through the “ladies’” scanner. Women and men are always separated at security checkpoints.
The Metro was easy so I made it to Connaught Place and decided to have coffee before I took my second TukTuk of the day. Then I headed to my hotel.
The check-in staff was polite, offered me some local beverage (tasted like sweetened fruity water), and tool do me that my room would be ready in 30 minutes or so. Would I like for them to take me to the tourist office while my room was being prepare? What a lovely idea! I am a sucker!!!
This is a travel rookie mistake! I was too tired to be focused, so let’s just at I WAY overpaid for a tour that I did not want. And even though it has been three days since I did so, I am still mad at myself. Trying to “Let It Go!”, as Elsa would say.
The driver took me back to my hotel. I checked into my room and changed clothes for a day of touring Delhi. Our first stop was the red fort. However, in order to get there, I took my first (and - hopefully -only!) bicycle rickshaw through the crazy streets of Delhi. I spent about an hour in this area, taking in the sights, seeing the mosque, visiting spice market, and then had a rickshaw ride back to meet my driver. It’s best just to ignore what is going on around you whenever on one of these things.
My driver then took me around to see some of the highlights of the city, including the Lotus Temple, Himayun’s tomb and the monument to Mahatma Gandhi. A few photos from that memorial(called Raj Ghat) are below.
The highlight of the day involved a visit to Swaminarayan Akshardhan. I don’t really know how describe it other than to say that it has Hindu temple elements, a water/pyrotechnics show (which may sound cheesy but really wasn’t!), and a boat ride that reminded me of something from Disney. All of this was to pay tribute to and tell the story of Swami Akshardham, who lived in the 18th century and is now revered as a god. I spent 3 1/2 hours here and plan to return at the end of my trip. There are no photos as cameras are not allowed on the premises.
Before I close out the first day, I will mention that I found it sad that I had to go through security screenings every time I entered an attraction. And there were guys with big guns posted all over the city. I guess that this is a way of life here.
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