Arrival into the Delhi airport was smooth and efficient from immigration through baggage claim. Leaving the airport, however, was significantly more chaotic. We booked a driver ahead of time to meet us and take us to our guesthouse, a move we appreciated as we left the parking structure. Though it was 10 PM, the streets were packed. Cars drove through the city, oblivious to lane lines. Oncoming traffic often came right at you, as they passed slower vehicles. These slower vehicles included donkeys, cows, and rickshaws. Toddlers stood right at the roadside watching traffic pass while their older siblings played instruments for coins or begged for money.
At the guesthouse, we happily dropped our luggage and fell into bed, asleep within minutes. The next morning, up well before dawn, we were dressed and had completed schoolwork before we heard the morning call to prayer from the nearby mosque.
I had difficulty gathering books for our India journey, so most of our reading this stop is e-books. We have enjoyed the picture book Grandfather Gandhi and an e-book we checked out from the library, Gandhi, A Manga Biography. We have also been reading lots of Kipling. We have read (and watched) The Jungle Book, Rikki Tikki Tavi, and some of the Just So Stories.
While we usually organize all our travel ourselves, and travel independently, we were advised by several to get help with India, especially as there were many things we wished to see, and we were not planning to stay put in one city, as we have been doing in other places. This message was reinforced by an Indian American couple we met while in South Africa, who highly recommended finding a local guide. We researched many companies, offering both group and private tours, finally deciding on a private tour, with mid-range guest house and hotel stays.
For about what we would pay to rent a car in other places, we were able to organize a driver and guide. We found this to be incredibly helpful, as the metro in Delhi is under construction, and reliable taxis, lacking. Motor tuk- tuks, however, are common.
We spent our day in Delhi hitting the highlights, from India Gate, the minaret of Qutub Minar, the impressive Humayun’s tour (the inspiration for the Taj Mahal), and the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. In the afternoon, we toured Old Delhi and the Chandni Chowk bazaar. A rickshaw ride through the market proved an exciting way to rest the feet.
Despite the exciting sights, the time change caught up to us and by 6 pm, we were all asleep.