Today is our last day in Delhi. I can’t believe how fast the time went by. We decided to take it easy today and spend some time at the City Select mall, which was conveniently attached to our hotel.
We started out by eating some amazing food for lunch with Rupak’s parents. One thing that I’ve found extremely helpful here is that nearly all of the menus have a color code for vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. Vegetarian food is usually written in green or marked with a green dot, and meat dishes are designated with red. Since so much of the population here is vegetarian, I can easily walk into practically any restaurant and know that I will have plenty of options. I had a tempura-style vegetable appetizer and fried rice, and while it was rather spicy, it was quite delicious. I have found that after just a week here, I’ve already become more accustomed to spicy foods and I’m somehow able to tolerate it. I’m not sure if it really happens that quickly or if it’s a mental thing… but hey, I haven’t had a bad meal yet! (Well, except for Hard Rock cafe, the only American place we’ve been!) Rupak had lamb skewers and his parents shared a noodle dish… So glad we decided to skip the Burger King Mutton Whopper and Veg Whopper!
With our tummies full and schedules clear, we decided to walk off our lunch by taking a stroll outside the mall. We were only a few yards away from the mall when I spotted a goat lying on a pile of rubble. I got closer and found two more, not tied to anything, just freely sunbathing in the front of a building.
The goat on the rubble pile was tied up, but had learned how to balance just perfectly on a single small pipe sticking out of the debris to reach the leaves on a nearby tree. Goats are amazing. (There, Mom, I said it!)
We tried to take a quick walk down the sidewalk, but there was a ton of construction and I’m not adventurous enough to walk in the actual street like most people were doing, so we just took a couple of pictures by a tree and went back inside the mall.
Once inside, we stopped at a toy store that proudly claimed it was the “greatest toy store in the world.” It most definitely was not, but we did get to play a pretty awesome game of mini-pool. Of course, I was the winner (but only because Rupak scratched on the 8-ball).
We also found some rather unique children’s books that were written in English but had some really odd stories in them. Many involved killing or death in some way or another, but they were illustrated as if they were just ordinary fables with happy endings. We bought four and plan to give them to our grand-nephews in hopes of really disturbing their childhoods. (Side note: did I really just put a “GRAND” in that sentence? Geesh, we are old!)
We stopped to eat at a place in the food court that served pita pockets and pizzas on pretzel dough. While eating, we noticed this very… um… graphic mural on the wall next to us. I can’t explain the spelling of “welcome” in this manner, but hey, it made for a pretty good picture.
By this time, it was dark outside (interesting side note – it gets dark around 4:30 here). On our way back to our hotel room, we noticed dozens of tents outside the mall, each selling various craft, clothing, or jewelry items. We walked around and saw some really awesome things – including these hand-carved dragon incense burners! It’s hard to tell from the picture (only one had incense in it) but the incense smoke rolls out of the dragon’s mouth and nose, giving it the appearance of a fire-breathing dragon. Super cool. We bought two of them, one as a gift and one to keep.
Finally, we headed back to our room to begin the difficult task of packing up for our trip to Kolkata in the morning. Now that we’d purchased so much stuff, it was pretty definite that all of us would be paying the heavy baggage fees at the airport. It didn’t help that a large portion of my carry-on suitcase was taken up by a Chihuahua pillow that we’d found at a pillow kiosk inside the mall.
Next stop, Kolkata!