Day 25 Agra-Delhi
We were anticipating seeing Delhi, and Nancy was going to be leaving us later, needing to go and take a flight to meet her husband in Mumbai for their personal holiday. We were going to miss her…
Manouvering the big blue bus through the streets of Agra we saw many puddles of water from the previous nights rain. It came down hard and our tour Guide said he did not remember having rain at this time of the year in his 15 years of doing this job. Everything looked clean and the greenery was vibrant, alive with nitrogen from the storm. Our bus took the express highway where we saw people still working in the fields, harvesting potatoes and other crops. In one field we saw a group of antelope which our Guide told us were a favourite of tigers. There were green fields and brown fields and brick making factories and many buildings all the way to Delhi. Then, we saw high rise buildings! They went on and on, neighbourhoods of New Delhi being built upwards to house the people who come here for work and to make a life with families.
In order to have the next day not be so long, we stopped to visit Humayuns Tomb, a world Heritage site and we all said goodbye to Nancy. I was going to miss her but we will see each other in April.
Next, we were taken for lunch as we couldn’t check in to our hotel yet, the Bajaj Indian Homestay. This restaurant was International food, I don’t remember seeing much Indian food in the menu, there were Indian people there, but in pants and dresses, not in saris. The park like setting had meandering pathways with basket lights hanging from the trees and unique areas where people could take their meals, like wagons, curtained cubicles, comfy couches and also tables with umbrellas to protect from the sun. Inside there were also tables but it was too nice to not take advantage of the clean clear weather. Delhi was also cleansed by the rain the previous night and the greenery and air was clear and clean. A really neat thing I have to tell you about is the bathrooms in this place. I noticed that all bathrooms in restaurants seem to only have 1 toilet for women and 1 for men. This place had beautiful flower petals adorning the edge of the floor and flat surfaces in the bathrooms and outside were many cement bowls and bird bath structures filled with marigold petals. Very beautiful! The food was great and satisfying in this establishment. I didn’t get the name of this place, maybe if someone from the trip reading this could post the name in the comments?
After waiting in traffic and viewing the construction happening here in Delhi we arrived at our destination. BOY DID THIS AREA CHANGE!! Above the roadway was an elevated roadway and the traffic before turning onto the street the hotel was located, was so busy! The area had so many people walking and bikes and rickshaws and cars were diving along it, horns beeping away. The bus was too big to be down this street. He had to back up and unload our luggage and it took a while for him to maneuver out and be on his way. Apparently our driver and his helper lived in Delhi so he was to be with us for our remaining time right up to taking us to the airport on Sunday night.
The Bajaj Indian Homestay was being renovated or if I remember correctly being added onto 15 years ago. It is now complete and houses several beautiful works of art and handicrafts spread out over the 4 floors of rooms. Tripadvisor gives it a 4 star, but the first thing you read when the website opens, are the negative reviews where people give it a 1 and say its a terrible place to stay. Well, I beg to differ. The towels are not fluffy like you may get in a 5 star but who cares. The showers work well, water was hot, some rooms don’t have a window, but these rooms also don’t hear the horns beeping. That is what every driver does in India. It’s just the way it is. You become accustomed to it and I always use ear plugs to sleep and I have no issues with this. There was a kitchen with several small dining tables and chairs on floor 1 which is actually the second floor, the main entrance houses the desk, an office and 1 guest room. Floor 2 has 2 large inlaid marble tables with a few rooms on the sides with large doors that open to the street with a small balcony. Floor 3 has a spiral staircase with stone stairs and beautiful wrought iron metal railing all the way up with a couple of rooms up there and a roof top terrace with a bar area, marble inlaid tables and lovely assortment of plants.
Our luggage was taken up to our respective rooms and the rest of the day was at Leisure. Some of us had to wash up a few things, some rested and some went out exploring. It began to rain again just as a few of us were heading out to go to the ATM. I thought I’d go out into it alone with my rain poncho on, and i only got a few steps when a rickshaw driver wanted to give me a ride. They don’t take no for an answer and I thought I’d just go back and wait for the rain to settle and go with a group. The clerk sent a man with us to show us exactly where the ATM was and the 4 of us set out. Many many shops along the way and we walked and found the small shop where the ATM was located. While there, a very friendly rickshaw driver really wanted to take me to the market and he got out and was coming over to talk to us when I grabbed our escort by the arm and I said “no we are going with this man” and the man turned back. I really hate confrontation or saying no but it was a long day and I didn’t feel very strong.
Later, I went up to my room and who did I see in the kitchen area but Mithu who worked here in 2002!! He said he remembered me, and we hugged and he patted my shoulder saying welcome welcome! Since then he had trained as a chef and is now a great cook!! His butter chicken is the best I’ve ever tasted! The meal was simple but excellent and everyone was happy and satisfied. I went up to the terrace to look out over the city, there were many buildings higher than this one but the lights, the traffic, people talking and laughing and dogs barking was ‘life’. The air was clear and clean but cool, and I went down and snuggled into my comfortable bed with the air conditioning set on a comfortable temperature and the fan created white noise as I plugged my ears, slipped my eye mask on and promptly went to sleep.