Saturday, December 8, 2007

Exploring Delhi

After a few hours' sleep, we set out to see a little of Delhi. We discovered that our driver Baldras was the older brother of Johan, who picked us up at the airport last night.

Our first destination was the India Gate, a stone arch built in honor of the 90,000 Indians who died in WWI and two other military actions of the same time period. There were many school groups there, and lots of local businessmen (and boys and girls) trying to convince us to buy their wares. Aaron and Nathan -- you'll be happy to know that we saw a snake charmer playing his flute to make a cobra rise from its basket!

We drove by the President's residence and Parliament on our way to the National Museum. It was an enormous facility -- far too much for us to see in the time we had (especially for an ex-museum employee like Nancy!). We saw metal and stone sculptures from as far back as the 5th century, which made us all think about how young our own country's history is. We also saw artworks that resembled illuminated manuscripts depicting Hindu and Buddhist scenes.

Many places we went had beautiful arrangements of real flowers and petals decorating the floors, stairways, and entrances. They were arranged in elaborate patterns and were glorious.

Next, we spent some time at Qutb Minar, which is the site of the country's first Islamic site. It is Delhi's oldest monument (dating from the 1190s), and was built using stones from earlier Hindu and Jain temples. The intricate tower is the most striking feature, along with beautifully carved stones. There are 379 steps inside the tower, but the public can't climb them anymore following a few fatal accidents. Yikes.

We ended our tour at the Bahai temple, which was definitely the most recent architecture we saw today. It was built in 1986, and looks like a lotus flower opening. It was surrounded by petal-shaped pools of water. We had to remove our shoes to enter, and total silence is observed inside -- except for the chirping of birds that flew in and couldn't find their way out. It reminded us of the opera house in Sydney, Australia (but we don't know if it was created by the same designer).

Another lasting impression from today was being totally flabbergasted by the traffic. We saw busses, cars, autorickshaws, horse-drawn carts, as well as handcarts and bicyclists carrying enormous loads -- all accompanied by lots of horn-beeping and completely non-existent multiple lanes! It was dizzying, and we were so grateful for Baldras' driving skills. If we had tried to do it ourselves, I'm sure there would've been some kind of international incident!

During our rides, we also saw lots of urban wildlife: camels loaded with goods, an elephant being led down the road, a yak resting calmly on the median, and a group of cows going the wrong way down the street. Everyone made room for them, of course.

All in all, a fascinating first day. Just few more days until we meet the star of this show!


Marlo Dempsey said...

WOW! We are so glad everything has gone smoothly for you guys thus far! You are in our prayers daily (even if we were to forget, the kids remind us!)

I can't imagine being in a country where you'd see an elephant on the street. That's so cool. And a snake charmer, wow, our kids would be so excited.

Peter, I especially love the picture of you sleeping as we'd have that same picture of JJ if it were our trip! Of course you weren't really sleeping...just resting your eyes right?

The muscial is going well and the cast really enjoyed their night out at Applebees last night.

Thank you so much for this Blog, it really helps everyone stay connected with you during this venture! Only a couple more days. Enjoy! Love, the Dempsey's

TimW said...

Thanks for the updates Peter. It's so nice to hear things have gone well so far.

The show is running smooth, so have peace. Thank you for praying for us.

We are praying for you guys too...

Karen said...

Hi Peter and Nancy,
Your trip sounds wonderful so far. Thanks for blogging! Can't wait to see what happens NEXT...!!!


Jason S said...

We're praying for you Leschkes! I really enjoy the blog. Things are smooth here. I'm so excited to hear how things go when you meet the Star of this trip. God bless!
Jason Steger

The Labontes said...

Definitely sounds like the start of an amazing adventure. So glad you all made it there safely and are seeing the sights.


Julie & Patrick said...

Awh! It brings back such memeories! We are thrilled for you...this is such an amazing journey. Your words paint such a picture of rembrance for us! Can't wait to hear more!

Julie R

The Hammertons said...

What you are seeing and experiencing sounds amazing!!! Thank you SO much for updating all of us on your trip! We have been thinking about you daily and will continue to say prayers for all of you on this grand adventure.

We have been reading the blog to the kids, and Jack is pretty amazed at all the animal life (especially the cobra you mentioned before).

Take care! We love you! :)

TNT2 said...

Hey there darlings- We so glad to know the three of you arrived safely. While I know you are anxious to get Anya in your arms, how wonderful that you are getting to see some of her home country. What great stories you'll be able to share with her and boys.

I can just hear Nancy now, "Charm a cobra...I can do that!"

Mom and Dad's church has you all on their prayer chain too.

Much love and prayers.