Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Qutub Minar Tower

Today is Halloween in the US. We saw the heartbreaking photos this morning from the big storm and are feeling concerned about how family and friends have fared. Probably you can't even let us know due to the loss of your infrastructure. Sending love to all of you - you know who you are!

Today was very relaxing. We visited the Qutub Minar Tower, a World Heritage Site for India, a lovely carved stone structure built
around 1200 AD by Qutubuddin Aibak to celebrate Islam's triumph over the infidels. It sits in a huge archaeological site where the oldest of the fabled 8 cities of Delhi was located. The tower is still on a perfect state of preservation, except that Muslims have smashed the faces on all the carvings so that there are no "graven images". The first photo shows Annie, Michele and Anita at the tower site.

We visited a rug store for the obligatory sales pitch on stunning silk knotted rugs (we did not buy). Then we enjoyed a leisurely lunch of delicious Indian specialties at a restaurant called Garam Masala. We had a brisk half hour walk in Lodhi Gardens, a beautiful inner city park lush with plumeria, bougainvillea, and striped palm trees.

Finally we went shopping for clothes - at least all the women in the group did! That was really fun and relaxing. Now we are chilling out before our Chinese/Indian dinner (Chindian). Tomorrow we set out for Jaipur, the next stop on our journey.

We are getting to know the others in our group. They are from the mid-west and New England, nice people who have all done a lot of traveling. We are seeing lots more of this city, the impoverished and homeless masses living along the roadsides and even in the traffic medians. There are 16 million people in this city and it feels packed. Everyone is struggling to eke out a livelihood somehow, setting up curbside barber chairs or selling peeled tangerines from a cardboard box. Yet everyone shows us kindness, acceptance, and generosity of spirit. Today we also saw flocks of wild green parakeets and huge lemur monkeys roving around in various parks and gardens. This has got to be one of the most colorful and diverse cities on the planet.

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