By Avery Shivers
Ancient tombs, a pickup game of soccer, Karim’s, head-bobs, and the intense search for metal coffee mugs.
The day began in a customs line, long and tiring. Then baggage claim. We ended up creating a mountain of luggage on the floor of the New Delhi Airport.
The first step outdoors, smoggy and crowded. Stray dogs wander the street for food or possibly affection – makes my dog, Adam, seem like a king. Our bus to the hotel created a potent aroma of incense. The ride to the hotel was consumed by questions for Mr. Alter. His tour guide skills were impressive. The streets were occupied by rickshaws and dump trucks (ironically, the streets of Delhi were covered in trash, posing new questions to our “tour guide” regarding waste management).
Arrival at the hotel around 5:30am. A few hours of rest before the start of the day. The bus tour around New Delhi exposed us to the city through the common tourist filter. Towering tombs rose above the smog and infrastructure of Delhi. It’s architecture was a classic example ancient buildings.
Young couples flooded into the park around lunch time. They sat on blankets and ate picnic foods. We walked 15 minutes into the public park to Barra Gumbad. There, soccer lived up to its name as “the international sport.” We played a friendly match against some young Indian kids. We lay sticks a yard from one another as goals. The pitch was right next to the famous old mosque.
Another bus ride took us to Old Delhi, an area most recently inhabited by Muslim people. We ate a traditional meal at Karim’s. The food was delicious, the lamb so perfectly charred that you could taste the actual smoke that created the mouth watering flavor.
The bus then took us back to the hotel. There, we had the choice between rest and a series of “missions.” These were tasks to collect items that we needed for the rest of the trip. 7 of us embarked on the journey to find a soccer ball, notebooks, and 35 metal coffee mugs. The first two took about 20 minutes to find. The 35 mugs were another story.
We searched 11 stores, interrogating the owners for advice on where to find things. I found out that Suman’s directions are not always accurate… After an hour of searching, we retreated to a chai stall. The first real cup of tea in India was delicious, and we know there are countless more to come. With a bit more energy in our legs,we made our way through a long line of other stores. We finally followed an actual set of directions and made it to a metal materials store. We acquired the mugs at long last and headed back to the hotel for a two hour nap before departing for Port Blair.
Throughout the city my observations lead me to thoughts and views of India and New Delhi. I made it my goal to attempt to fully immerse myself in New Delhi by observing and taking opportunities for new adventures. My knowledge of India and the world has been completely changed by my ability to observe and my eagerness to learn. Travel has already been a way to immerse myself and to find education on different cultures.
After our first day in India, I am eager to explore more Indian areas and learn about India and its culture(s).