2006 #2: Back In Delhi Again

Once we arrived at our Guesthouse, we went up onto the roof for a relaxing gin or two. The same cats as last year are here, plus a grown up kitten or two. They’re funny looking things – thin with short tails and short rough coats. It’s nice to have them here though, they kind of make it homely.

Yesterday we did the street wander and said hello to several street wallahs that we know. They are very hospitable. After Namaste’s, asking after ourselves, our children, the weather in our country, etc, they ordered chai, turned on fans and got chairs for us to sit in while we chatted. Even they are saying it is hot. The monsoon is late again.

I popped in and said hello to Mr Om at R-Expo. He is saying that he cannot believe I am a mother of five children. It’s easier to tell him this than try and sort through the reality of my family situation with him……my family members will particularly understand this, as there are many of us and it all gets a little complex. Bless him. I made a beeline for my favourite brand of vanilla bean soap – which this time I will not dispose of down the squat toilet. That happened last time I was here. The shower just drains into the toilet, which of course is a tiled hole in the floor, my soap became slippery and dived into said hole. Like heck was I going to dive in there and rescue it! I imagined there would have been vanilla-smelling bubbles in the sewerage system for several days after that.

So much for buying one item from him though. I came out with sandalwood face pack stuff, vanilla bean moisturizer and a few new clothes. Again, the never ending and unsuccessful search for something cooler to wear. Nigh on impossible. I guess I’ll just have to resign myself to cooking in my own wardrobe.

I went to bed pretty early last night, as my body was screaming ‘It’s 4am in New Zealand you fool!!! And of course, the curse of waking every two hours was still firmly in place. This morning (and those who know me will gasp at this), I was up on the roof for breakfast at 7am. Disgusting I know. I’m going to have to get therapy for this. But I got to see the monkeys of the city raiding the water tanks on the rooftops. Actually, when you sit still for long enough, you realise that Delhi is teeming with animal life. Squirrels, monkeys, lizards, a little mouse I nearly stepped on, crows, pigeons, cows, dogs, etc. Who would’ve thought you could come right into the city and do a wildlife program? I should send a note to David Attenborough.

We were sitting at a street cafe yesterday, and I was getting a few local shots with my camera. Then I thought I’d use the movie mode that it has. So I was panning around recording a bit of the human life when a guy wearing khaki clothing and carrying a big stick started laying into one of the cycle rickshaw wallahs. It sounded really painful. I got the whole lot on the movie. I was a little worried he’d notice me and come over to discuss this, complete with big stick, but he was too busy being important with the other guy. It all only lasted less than a minute, but wow. Funny such a thing should happen right in front of my camera!

It sounds like the monsoon has started in the lower states of India, so there’s a large possibility that we might be heading for the Himalayas (lower) instead of down Madya Pradesh, as was the original plan. I told Paul that if he finds me some Valium to enable me to cope with the mountain bus rides, he’s on. He showed me some photos of where he has been up there and it looks absolutely gorgeous. And then he used a really rotten technique and mentioned the word ‘cooler’. Unfair!!! she cried. So there we go – plans changed. We will still go down to Orchha first, which is in Madya, but not too badly affected by monsoon. (This is where we slept in the Palace last year.) I’m looking forward to blowing bubbles at the monkeys and seeing what they make of that! Should make for some good photos. And I have knuckle bones, yo yo, coloured pencils, etc for the kids there.

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