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17 November 2013

Sunday, 17 November: Day 2, Delhi

Slept til 10:30. The sun was bright. The cleaner actually woke me up - she came in and washe dall around. Breakfast was a packet of masala oats that Swag had around, alongside some rusks and processed cheese.

We booked my train to Jaipur, leaving tomorrow morning. After sorting that out and getting ready, we left around 13:00 for the city. We drove to the Rapid Metro again and took the Metro into town. Swag's friend/cowoker Ankit was waiting for us at Sikandarpur station. We got on the train and took the seats that we could get, so we were somewhat separated for the 45+ minute ride.

We arrived at Chandni Chowk, and got off. It was a crowded bazaar that we walked through to get to a crowded and chaotic street. We walked down along the street (Chandni Chowk itself), which was lined with crowded stalls, street vendors, and street food sellers. Of course, this being India, none of this could be described as hygienic. I went shopping, not sure how trustworthy the items I buy would be. But I did. I suggested we try going down one of the narrow lanes, and I inadvertently discovered paratha alley, where there are several food places selling parathas. Amazing! We had to stop at one. So we ordered parathas and shared them right there in the street.

This was my first street food in India. Hope you can handle it, stomach!

We then grabbed a couple lassis and walked along the crowded and dirty Old Delhi streets (luckily many of the stalls were closed on Sunday) to Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. We entered, leaving our shoes at the entrance, and admired the beautiful inner courtyard.

We then emerged back into the crowded narrow streets. There, hidden down a small dirty alleyway, was the famous restaurant, Karim's. There, we waited for about 10 minutes before getting a (shared) table. We ordered mutton and brain curry. Yes, brain. I ate brain. And it didn't taste bad at all, just a squishy texture. After eating, we walked past the auto parts market and the street with all the wedding cards (yes apparently wedding cards are a whole industry in India) to the metro, where we parted ways with Ankit.

Swag and I went to Humayun's Tomb, which is a spectacular complex including a big central building that inspired the architecture of the Taj Mahal. Amazing. Unfortunately the area was closing, so we rushed our visit. Nevertheless, I got some good pictures in the dusk light.

We met my friend and LSE classmate, Aditi. She was waiting in the parking lot with her cousin/sister. Took the car to a nice restaurant in Lodi Gardens, where we shared a pitcher of sangria and caught up with each other. Then, we left and they decided that they should show me a taste of many different culinary delights. We ended up at Bengali market, where we had gol gappa (panipuri) to shovel into our mouths. Then, around the corner I tried some masala coke, which was not so impressive. Finally, we returned to Bengali market and had some dinner (idli). Was good.

Time to go home. Metro ride, tired. Drove back. I had an early train in the morning, but we still had to book the hotel room when we were back at Swag's place.

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