The adventure has indeed begun. Despite ground stops (airport delays) and malfunctioning international in-flight entertainment, Fred and I arrived to Dehli last night unscathed.
Delhi smells as if everyone in the city ceremoniously lit a match, blew it out quickly, and let the sulfur rise.
The new Dehli airport renovations (for the Commonwealth Games) are lovely, but a bit “brown” (think 1970s USA decor).
Our driver, Deepak (auspicious, yes?), a Saivite, was chatty and welcoming. He was impressed that Fred noticed the Shiva on his dash and offered an enthusiastic, “Jaya Mahadeva!”
The 40-minute drive from the airport to the Grand Park Inn was a lesson in Indian landscape, complete with snapshots of rubble (was the city just bombed, or is it just under constant construction?), make-shift tent towns, and wild dogs.
Amidst the rubble (er, construction?) are efforts at greenery–tree seedlings and brushes–who look as if their owners moved on to a new outdoor project and forgot to water them.
Our hotel is nestled on a dirt street somewhere (?) in Delhi and the staff are hospitable young Indian men who are eager to please. They had the hot water on and waiting for us when we arrived. I took my first (since infancy) bucket bath–surprisingly comforting and wonderful. We slept well and I was impressed with how quietly the city settled down after midnight. The wild dogs even rested until this morning’s shofar-like awakening from the nearby temple.
Overall: Delhi is fantastic–unapologetically exotic and welcoming.
Off to Vrindavan after breakfast!