Sunday, February 26, 2012

Asian Adventure: Day 37 and 38 Homeward Bound

Day 37 Delhi

Wanting to make the most of our last day in India, we woke up bright and early and took to the streets. First things first - Dave wanted to get one last straight razor shave so we returned to the barber around the corner from our hotel.

With Dave freshly shaven, next we caught the metro to the bazaars of Chandi Chowk. Being a Saturday, the streets were full of people, cars, animals and buzzing with excitement. We made friends with an elderly factory manager who declared himself our tour guide pointing out all of his favourite shops and restaurants.

Eventually he guided us to our primary destination - the spice market on Khari Baoli. The spice market stretches out along several city blocks - each side of the street is lined with stalls selling spices, dried fruit and nuts, the street is packed with porters waiting to deliver large burlap sacks full of spices and narrow alleyways spur off in all directions holding the true spice markets where spices are sold by the sack to wholesale distributors. The air was filled with the pungent aroma of chillies - it was impossible not to sneeze!

We spent hours exploring all of the exotic wares and stocking up on all of the fantastic spices that only come ground up in small jars at home. I bought pink salt, black salt, whole turmeric, whole nutmeg, saffron, vanilla beans, cardamon, anise, cloves. Dave bought himself a whole 1 kg of chillies!

Our tour guide lead us to A. Kumar Trading Company - a store specializing in packaged spice mixes. The manager of the store happened to be the guy who had appeared in the Superstore commercials beside Galen Weston when they introduced their Indian frozen dinners! As the commercial promised, the manager sure knew his spices and I left which a wide selection of masala blends and chai mixes.

By this point our arms were well loaded with shopping bags full of spices and we seriously began to worry about the weight of our luggage for our flight home later that night. 

When we grew tired of the bazaars, we made our way towards Connaught Circle in hopes of doing some last minute souvenir shopping. Unfortunately Dave quickly lost his patience with the crowded stores - at one point he even offered to go watch Twilight: Breaking Dawn with me simply to get out of any more shopping - so we found ourselves a quiet spot in a coffee shop to kill time. 

When we got bored of the coffee shop, we returned to the hotel to re-pack our bags, enjoy a leisurely dinner and kill even more time on the Internet.

Finally at 11:00 PM we made our way to the airport, re-packed our bags one more time before checking into our flight and then wandered the airport stores to kill even more time before our flight. We decided to create a game out of seeing how far we could stretch our last few rupees - we managed to score a bag of candy, a sudoku book and two McChicken combos from McDonald's. 

Exhausted from a long day, finally at 3:00 AM we boarded the plane to Beijing and began our long journey back home.

Day 38 Home

After 38 days, 250 km and 25,000 m of trekking, eight planes, two missed planes, three trains and one pony ride we arrived home. Despite how much we love travelling, one of the best rewards of seeing a foreign country is how it reinforces the fact that we live in one of the best places on earth.

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