March 19, 2016

Delhi Day One, Part I

Coming back home to Mazama which is still full of winter and snowy mountains, my trip to India feels like some crazy dream.  Like it never happened...  Like I ate the wrong mushrooms and took a long nap.  So much a dream, in fact, that the past four nights my dreams have taken place in India.  They've been crazy!  Stacer says India feels like traveling to a parallel universe.  I can't help but agree!  So before it all disappears, I'm going to share these photos and memories as best I can.  

I flew into Delhi at some ungodly hour.  Stacy and her hubby Lucas got there an hour or two earlier and they were waiting for me on the other side.  Customs was iffy for a second because while I had double copies of passports, birth certificates, plane itineraries, credit cards, etc., I did NOT have the name and address of the hotel we were staying.  

Somehow, I remembered researching Hotel Krishna for my visa application so I wrote that name on my custom's form and without the address, he let me pass.  I was nervous and totally out of my element but fatigue sometimes works in your favor. Had he not let me pass, I probably would have forgotten Stacy was waiting for me altogether, snort-cried for a moment and would have proceeded to take a nap on the floor.  I couldn't help but think that Stacy had traveled to India by herself last August, had to deal with newbie situations like this on her own and never had anybody waiting for her on the theoretical other side of customs. RESPECK!!!!

But I got through, we exchanged some cash and Yay, I'm in India!!! 

We tried to sleep in the next day but it wasn't happening.  Our very first morning, in a bit of a haze, we stumbled on this little cafe.  Aside from vaccinations and visas, the dos and don't about toilet paper and water bottles, I had done VERY little research.  Most of the reason was that I was working through the holiday season like a crazy person while trying to plan a wedding.  The smaller part of that was just knowing I was going with seasoned travelers, I didn't have a whole lot of time... And quite frankly, I knew that to expect an Eat, Pray, Love-esque experience of India was only setting myself up for failure.  Not to mention, limiting the possibility of what it could be...

I've also had my naive assumptions of other countries blown to smithereens in the past.  I remember reading about a friend's adventures to Africa.  They mentioned the remote tribal kids knew who Kobe Bryant was because the kids had satellite television.  No bathroom or running water but satellite television. I remember some of the Lost Boys still stuck in Sudan had cell phones.  So what do I know, right?  I had no expectations about what India would be like or should be like, and I knew I would get the most 'experience' out of it that way.

But let's cut to the chase... This is just a long-winded way to tell you that after 20 hours of flying-- not expecting anything--  when this little cafe had cappuccino? I was STOKED.  (You can take the baker away from the bakery with coffee but... something, something, something.)

Minutes after taking this picture below, we would discover a Starbucks half a block down.  Hashtag Westernized!  Delhi is the second largest city in the world sooooo... yeah.  ;)

*click to enlarge*

This is Aloo Paratha.  I can only describe them as to say that they are like potato quesadillas without cheese that taste like they're made with naan and angel wings.  Suuuuuuper delicious.  :)  :)  :)

From our window, we could see kids head off to school.  One young boy was running around and climbing all over the cars.  I could only think 'boys are boys everywhere, man!'

This is Stace and her honey Lucas.  
They are terrific travel companions!
I can't believe THEY'RE STILL IN INDIA!

After breakfast, we leisurely strolled through the streets.  We were in the Hauz Khas village area of Delhi.  It's full of art galleries and bars and shops. The clothes everywhere in India were gorgeous.  I ADORE VIBRANT COLOR and India is full to the brim with it!

We then strolled into the Hauz Khas Complex.  According to Wikipedia, it is home to a water tank, an Islamic seminary, a tomb, a mosque, pavilions... I was so friggin' out of it, there was no history lesson happening that day. ;)

Despite the fatigue, I was so psyched to be in India, to have my camera, to be traveling with a photographer, to have the memories... I seriously took pictures of everything.  

This is Stacy!!!
She is my everything!!!

I pretty much shot non-stop for the entire time we were there.  These pictures, taken on the first day of our trip, feel very weird to me now.  Stace talked me though so much, taught me so much, I feel like in just a week's time, I was taking better shots.  It could also be that this wannabe photographer was different... so she was seeing things differently...  Oooh, deep.  ;)

I had been reading a lot online about framing and light.  Soooo, pretty much if something felt remotely framed or there was any kind of light, I was taking pictures.  Ha!  

I honestly don't know if I would have enjoyed India as much if I didn't have my camera.  Part of the tremendous experience of it all was getting to play photographer.  Having wanted to get into it for so long, it was just utter joy to do so many things that I loved at the same time! 

Food, travel, experiencing new things...
I was seriously in HEAVEN.
Click, click, click...

And despite my love of performing and years in comedy, when I'm out of my element or meeting new people, I'm actually a very shy and quiet person.  It takes me a while to feel comfortable.  For whatever reason, the camera makes it so much easier for me to talk to people.  I loved that the camera brought out a different side of me!  It also might help that so many Indians wanted their picture taken.    ;)

So many queens in Delhi taking selfies...

These are a couple of the pavilions... 

Lots of beautiful old architecture in India...  It's pretty inspired.  Architecture in the States only goes back so far, know what I'm saying?!

This is the Madrassa... It was established in 1352. No big.  It was 'one of the leading institutions of Islamic learning in the Delhi Sultanate. It was also considered the largest and best equipped Islamic seminary anywhere in the world.'  It definitely felt like a campus!

 Get to class, slackers!!!

It was well tended by royalty for a while...

But you know how those dynasty things go...  

They were filming a movie there that day!
You can take the LA girl to India but...
something, something, something.

This couple was talking at the top of these stairs for a while.  Then she got up and left.  In this shot, it kind of look like he proposed and she wasn't having it... Ha!  Hope that's not the case... She probably just wanted a cappuccino!!

Now behind me is this lake.  It really is green!

We made our way out of the ruins and continued through to Deer Park. And yes, they really have deer!  (You can take the girl out of Mazama but... something, something, something.)  Anyway!  I'll share more during the next blog.  THIS is why Stacy takes one and a half pictures a day.  Cause sharing them with family and friends is like 12,000 blogs long.  Oy to the namaste vey!

Seasoned world traveler that wouldn't dream of having a phone without an international plan AND hotel addresses for every city and maps for tuk tuk drivers that don't know where they're going in every pocket at all times,
Mandi  :)

No comments: