This morning I had an agenda: find internet cafe, find post office, find ATM, and find out what I wanted to do with my day. Had another good "American" breakfast at the hotel...today, no grilled tomato. I caught myself eating watermelon and mangoes, but I ate pineapple yesterday and haven't paid any of the cost (yet). So, about 9:00 this morning, I set off to achieve the items on my agenda in Connaught Place.
That is where the mayhem ensued. First it was a yoga instructor (who in NO way looks like a yoga instructor from the West), Ravi, showed me around to some Department of India Tourist Office. He says, "I want no money, just to practice my English." (Me--a little dubious at this time.) All I wanted to know was how to get to N block of Connaught Place to find the Internet Cafe described in my Rough Guide. Oh no no no, at the "Dept Office" I was worked on for about half an hour about taking a private car tour of Old Delhi. Finally finding some guts, I stood up and walked out. I don't like the thought of having a timetable today--I just want to relax!
I had at least 5 other people wanting to take me to random places--travel agencies mostly. These middlemen get paid quite a commission I assume for bringing in the little white girls. Frustrated and annoyed beyond words, I snuck away from one dude and dove into a rather new, clean little drink bar. I sat down and was graciously greeted by a very nice female in about 10 seconds. I had a raspberry tea and was grateful for the relative peace. Then I met Abdul...
He's a travel agent (and didn't try to sell me too much, actually!) He was very nice and has a brother who lives in the U.S. We talked for a bit and it was fun. These are the moments I have heard others describe after their trips to India. It's not always the centuries' old monuments that create vivid memories, rather it's the conversations and the people that can shape one's visit (for good or bad).
After chatting for a bit, he invited me to his friend's shop for Kashmiri tea. I decided to accept this offer and I had some of the best tea I've ever had. His friend has a small shop selling Kashmiri items--pashminas, scarves, carpets and the like. We sat on the floor, discussed yoga, religion and India. The owner of the shop is a yogi and Reiki master who encompassed all the attributes one might assume when thinking of an Indian yogi. He talked very much about how we are all ONE and religions should not define us or build barriers, rather how we should accept each other, meditate and open our third eyes to the wonder that is our world. I had to smile (and buy a pashmina) for the nice talk, great tea, and lifetime memory.
As I walked back to my hotel, I was again accosted by at least three more men trying to get me to go here and there and everywhere. Everyone wants me to do this and that and take this taxi here and take this rickshaw there! Leave me be!!!!!
I've not been taking very many pictures, primarily because I haven't done very much. When I was with Mrs. G yeterday I did take a few and I will be taking many many more once my tour actually starts. Last night I planned my two days in Bombay, which begin tomorrow afternoon. For the rest of the afternoon, I am not quite sure what I want to do. It is much hotter and sunnier today and I just feel exhausted, frustrated and worn down. I still have so much time here and I don't want to burn out too quickly. I may just stick around this area of town until this evening. I'm not too worried about seeing the sites in Delhi because in just a few weeks I will be back here as part of my trip with a guide and A/C car--so today I will rest, get ready for dinner, and do some pranayam in the room. Because as my new friend stated earlier, "meditation and breath work will calm you down. It will cool you down as well. No one likes to be all hot and bothered!"