New Delhi

Woke up fresh for a new start and had a yummy breakfast while waiting for other wary travelers to show up…
Alex was first to come down and join us and we caught up on things over coffee, all the while preparing our trip to Agra tomorrow. We still had only a very vague plan and no place booked, which is adventurous to say the least, hehe…
The Stockholm party showed up later and introduced themselves. Then we got a message from New Friends Colony: Vilasini and Rareş were on their way to meet us at the hotel.

Time top get ready for the day.

The group split up in two: While Rareş and the Swedish gang went to a tailor to get custom-made suits, Cris, Alex and I would go with Vilasini for some sightseeing and then shopping. The plan was to go visit Qutub Minar first, a 73m-high tower and the largest brick-made minaret in the world, built in 1193. Unfortunately we waited so much for our cab that eventually we had to abandon these plans and proceed directly to the shopping phase. That ended up being a lot of fun as we rejoined the others at the shop, and we all spent quite some time trying on some traditional attire to wear for the wedding. To get an idea, imagine a reverse Pretty Woman situation, with a bunch of guys rolling in and out of the shop’s two small fitting rooms in all these colorful garments and asking the girls for advice on whether or not it’s good or appropriate or what have you… I settled for a long mustard-colored kurta with a brown vest, and the usual tight white pajama-pants that go with it. I couldn’t find sandals my size, which would be an ongoing quest until Jaipur and the source of a few funny stories.

We split again after this episode, and the four of us proceeded to Dilli Haat, a pretty cool faux-traditional market offering all kinds of goods. It was getting pretty late at that point and we were quite hungry, so getting some food quickly became the priority. We found a nice terrace there and I had some chicken tikka and biryani and parathas, and we all had a fantastic meal and stayed there a bit until we were ready to move again for more potential shopping.

And shopping we did. We found a shoemaker’s stand and immediately Alex and I started hunting for our much-desired sandals. It took a while but we did find pairs that we liked, unfortunately they were much too expensive (due to them being fashioned out of camel leather) and even with Vilasini’s help, it was impossible to bring the price down to an acceptable (to us) level… In the end, it’s Cristina who ended up taking a pair of sandals for herself, while we remained shoeless for the wedding! But we still had about a week to fix that so we didn’t worry much about it.
Alex did find a nice, traditional Cashmere hat and Cris and I got a bag of “saunf”, or “mukhwas”, these after-meal blends of seeds typical of India and Pakistan. She also found a nice pair of earrings.

Vilasini, Alex & Cris at Dilli Haat - New Delhi 16.02.2014
Vilasini, Alex & Cris at Dilli Haat- New Delhi 16.02.2014

After returning to the hotel to freshen up, we went to Vilasini’s place and found that Rareş had found and booked seats for us on the Agra bus tomorrow, and we only needed to book the hotel, which we promptly did online. After that, we all went to a really cool place called Monkey Bar for another delicious meal involving butterfly-shaped meat cakes and Goan spicy sausage and a super-extra spicy sauce called “After Death”. Needless to say, we had to try it, and it was indeed super-extra spicylicious, and… we survived. Yay!

Trying Alex's new hat! - New Delhi 16.02.2014
Trying Alex’s new hat! – New Delhi 16.02.2014 (photo by Cris)

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