(Pic: Lotus Temple of the Baha’i faith in South Delhi) Writing from Sleeper car 9, seat 7 heading to Udaipur from Agra (finally listening to deadmau5’s <album title goes here>)
Last I wrote from Delhi where I almost had a panic attack at a normal shopping mall. Shortly after that experience we went to a market that all the Delhi girls love. It was crazy and crowded with everyone shoving goods in your face and yelling out prices. I felt at home. I love this kind of shopping. I never thought I’d be good at haggling and enjoy naming my prices. I got a Zara cream crotchet top, a blue collared sheer tank, and adorable sandals for 600rs. ($11). Maybe India will cure my expensive shopping habits, or maybe I just have a new addiction to bargaining.
That night we went to a college house party for the guys’ friend’s bday. Passing bottles of whiskey and sipping warm beer was fun for a while but around 3am I was over it. Most of them are still in school and stay up till 6-7am most nights but my old ass wanted bed. The next day I found an authorized apple service store who would fix my phone “under the table.” I promised him my life if he did so. He took it seriously and wanted to show me all of Delhi on his bike, take me home to his family, and asked if I considered marrying an Indian man. I said sure and ran out of the store praying my phone would recover. We ventured in South Delhi and walked around the Garden of 5 Senses. That night we went “clubbing.” Amigo, its name, was a small basement bar with one long bar, a few couch areas, a dj booth, and a VIP section which consisted of 4 chairs next to the booth. Not much of a crowd at 1am but after an hour it was close to packed with Asians of all countries and many Africans. Although it was busy the bar never had more than 5 people waiting because drink prices were outrageous (for India). $10 for a bottle of Fosters and$6-8 for any crap liquor. We had no idea of the high prices and I wish I would have downed a lot more alcohol beforehand, but oh well we danced passed 3am to all the songs clubs at home play. Katy had some fun dancing partners, I was asked if I was Russian, and just glad for the first time in 3 months I could dance.
The next day Katy and I headed to the Lotus Temple, a Baha’i house of worship and one of the 7 edifices that has been designed in the world (oddly enough the U.S. one stands in Wilmette only 20-30mins away from my home). Each has its own distinctive 9-sided design that relates to its home and symbolizes comprehensiveness, oneness, and unity. To me this faith makes the most sense of them all. They invite people of all religions and races to worship the Creator of the Universe and to express the love between God and man. No lectures, rituals, nor sermons are delivered. A few times a day readings are done from all religions including Christianity, Hindu, Buddhism, Islam, and Baha’i and at other times all are welcome to meditate and pray. Katy and I meditated for a while and sat through a reading. We both agreed we felt a calmness there, almost a heady feeling, and completely relaxed. The building was beautiful and I’m looking forward to visiting the Wilmette location.
I met up with Pawan, my iPhone savior, made some promise of hanging out the following day and ran off as happy as a kid on Christmas. Finally I could take pics again and listen to something other than Sigur Ros – Valtari (probably heard over 100x mostly to put me to sleep on buses an trains). We headed to the market to grab food to cook for dinner and a few bottles of wine to celebrate my phone and our last night in Delhi. It was so great to have a kitchen to cook in, eating out for 3 months gets old. Jeflyne was an amazing host and tour guide. We were sad to say gbye the next day to head to Agra.
That wraps up our Delhi trip minus our frantic mess at the train station. We went without tickets because trains head to Agra every hour and almost bought cheap general seating (when the train pulls up, there is a race to get a seat, many stand crowded as a rush hour subway train for hours on end) when we decided to head to the enquiry to ask about an express train. Pushing and using my pack to box people out I finally got my reservation slip inside the attendants window and bought sleeper car tickets to a train that left in 10mins. Confused and terrified we’d miss it, Katy and I ran through the Delhi station with our matching packs, red in the face, and out of breath. We made it with time to spare and in 3 short hours headed to the most famous landmark in India.
Having 12 hours on a train leads me to writing a tad too much. Stopping here to attempt to sleep on this non-stop zoo. Post on the Taj and Agra Fort next.