Remember when I called Delhi hell on earth?
I sorta meant it. I’ve finally gotten around to editing my Mumbai (Bombay) and Delhi photos, and I think the reason it took me so long is that I feel conflicted about those captured moments. That was about the point the trip turned around, and our days became more unpleasant than they weren’t. (Excepting Dharamsala.)
It makes me sad to listen to Rob describe the trip to people, because what comes out first is “It was challenging,” and it’s the Bombay/Delhi portion he’s referring to. I’m a firm believer that years after a trip, the stressful, negative stuff fades away and the overall memory is a happy one. I’m afraid that the unpleasant stuff during our last days has tainted Rob’s memory of the entire trip.
I say, “What about Kerala, what about Bodh Gaya … Varanasi? I loved Varanasi!”
Even in Bombay (Mumbai) and Delhi, there were moments that made enduring the other stuff worth it (for me, at least).
The day we visited Elephanta was excruciatingly hot. We got on the hour-long deluxe (allegedly) boat and wondered what made us think the excursion was a good idea. It was then that I coined the phrase, “Did you have something better to do today? Look at a bookstore or something?”
We fell for a scam within minutes of sitting down, and were uncomfortably sweaty all the way to the base of the steps to the caves. We climbed that endless path of stone steps, browsing the souvenir stands along the way, and the irritability fell away. It felt good to be a tourist again. This is what we came to see. Probably didn’t hurt that these steps were shaded.
The caves themselves were fun to look at and photograph. (Also, shaded from the sun.) Security was tight though, if you got too close to one of the carvings, a security guard blew a whistle at you.
In Delhi, a highlight was the Baha’i Lotus Temple. It’s a little out of the way compared to other sites in Delhi, and on the drive there, I wondered if we were going to have the same “Yep, there it is” experience we’d had earlier at the Rajghat memorial to Gandhi.
Oh, no. Not to oversell it, but it’s like Michelangelo’s David. You think you’ve already seen it in the figurines and posters all over Florence, but when you’re standing before it, it’s magnificent.
I’m proud to note that this is the second of the seven (at press time) existing Baha’i Temples that I have visited. The first was circa 1994 in Wilmette, Ill. Next stop, Samoa.