[images picture_size=”fixed” lightbox=”yes” class=”” id=””][image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://alisecortez.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/IMG_06692.jpg” alt=””][image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://alisecortez.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/IMG_06642.jpg” alt=””][image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://alisecortez.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/IMG_06442.jpg” alt=””][image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://alisecortez.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/IMG_06412.jpg” alt=””][image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://alisecortez.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/IMG_06402.jpg” alt=””][image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://alisecortez.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/IMG_063612.jpg” alt=””][image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://alisecortez.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/IMG_063222.jpg” alt=””][image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://alisecortez.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/IMG_06712.jpg” alt=””][image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://alisecortez.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/IMG_06722.jpg” alt=””][/images][fullwidth backgroundcolor=”” backgroundimage=”” backgroundrepeat=”no-repeat” backgroundposition=”left top” backgroundattachment=”scroll” video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” bordersize=”0px” bordercolor=”” borderstyle=”” paddingtop=”20px” paddingbottom=”20px” paddingleft=”0px” paddingright=”0px” menu_anchor=”” equal_height_columns=”no” hundred_percent=”no” class=”” id=””][fusion_text]Wow, my first day touring Delhi! Actually, I saw New Delhi and a good part of Old Delhi. My driver, “DK,” came to collect me from my Radisson Blu hotel at 8:30 am today and we spent a whirlwind day taking in as much of the sights as the day and traffic would allow. I noticed this last night when I came in from the airport, and it was abundantly evident today, how much Indian drivers rely on the horn as a means of communication. Rather than how we use it in the US, usually to mean, “Hey jerk, I hated what you just did!,” it seems to mean here, “Hey dude, I’m really close to your back side or blind spot – honk, honk, just wanted to let you know I’m here.” Even the trucks specifically tell you to honk!  Go figure, huh?  Different strokes for different folks. So, it’s a constant cacophony of vehicle horns throughout the day – one gets used to it. Apart from that, there is a myriad of fellow travelers on the same fast-moving, often no-laned road – pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, “auto” riders (essentially an all-terrain like looking engine with a driver in front and up to 4 passengers in the back open vehicle style), cars, trucks, cows, and of course elephants. I tried to snap a photo fast enough so you could see it, but dang it, I was too late to capture the animals moving along with traffic as we whizzed by.  Truly amazing to see so many different kinds of drivers comingling.  Seriously, I highly doubt we in the US could pull this off. Given all this chaos and amazingly out of the ordinary lane changes and turns, there are surprisingly very few “fender benders.” Contrast that to wherever you live in the US – always a pileup because somebody messed up in traffic!

One of our first stops today was the Jama Masjid Mosque. My guide and I took off our shoes (I put on slippers) to walk through the holy site. Wonderful to see how people use this mosque to come and pray. One really interesting thing — they have a section inside the main gate in front of the actual mosque where they feed they pigeons – because they are seen as messengers from God. Again, slightly different perspective than many Americans have about pigeons.

Next up was a walk about the town near the Jama Mosjid Moque. This was probably the highlight of the day because I got to experience the city and be part of the sights, smells, sights, and sounds. I loved watching the street vendors prepare their wares for the day and even snapped a fun photo of this fellow making some food (see photos below at end of post). I loved walking through the Khari Baoli, purportedly the largest spice market in Asia! I of course came out with several new Indian spices – ones I use at home but have never had the luxury of freshly harvested.  Can’t wait to try them. See photo below of a vendor in the market hawking his spices.  It smelled GREAT!

The Rajghat Memorial of the Mahatma Ghandi was up next. This is where Ghandi was cremated along the river banks after his death in 1948.  A most revered place, there were throngs of visiting monks and also many tours of visiting school children. I learned something very interesting while at this place: while men really did not pay me much attention at all walking about the streets of Delhi, I was immensely popular with school-age girls!  Apparently, they gravitate to just about any foreigner, especially those they recognize as likely coming from the US or from Britain.  As there were several tours at this memorial plus many of the other sights we went to, I felt something like a princess because as I walked past the groups of girls, they literally squealed with delight, waved enthusiastically, and many reached fervently to shake my hand.  Very touching, indeed. I did have one group of school age boys who sheepishly asked to take a picture of me, and when I conversed with them, they strangely gushed at how intelligent they thought I was. Wow, not sure what they were expecting in the exchange, but it was pretty low key.

Also on tour were Humayun’s Tomb, which is a very beautiful tomb built by a wife to honor her husband after he fell to his death from the top of the site. Qutub Minar is a minaret built in the 12th century and is just exquisite. I was so glad to see care was taken to preserve these historical monuments that have meant so much to people across the world for centuries.  Truly awesome to stand in their presence.

Finally, the cap to the day was a shopping excursion. I explained to my guide I was looking for a saree and some other textiles. I had been told by Heidi Murray, a Leadership Women executive who traveled to India three years prior, that one could actually get a saree stitched for you and that the shop would bring it to your hotel the next day! I looked through an endless supply of fabric and decided on one for me and one for my daughter Gabi.  They are scheduled to arrive at my hotel tomorrow – can’t wait to see them! I also bought two table cloths and matching napkins. They are gorgeous and will go with my plates perfectly!

In all, my first day in Delhi was beyond my expectations. I encourage you to come see this place![/fusion_text][/fullwidth]