05 November, 2010

Red Fort

November 3

I was so tired when we got home from Old Delhi I was asleep at 7:30pm without  dinner. I woke up early in the morning, however, in order to go down to the desk to see if we were going to have rooms that night, and thank goodness someone had canceled. 

 At breakfast we decided to go to the Red Fort, which I was going to let them do alone until KB told me that finding the car is a big problem. So I went with them, because I have an Indian mobile and can call him. Then I left the bloody thing  in the car. So what good was I?  Yes, I figured out how to get a hold of Omvir, the driver, by calling KB who called Mohini who told me the number of the driver. Then I used Jette’s phone and said two words, so she wouldn’t have to pay an arm and a leg to the Danish telephone provider.

 The Red Fort was not at all what I expected. Beautiful grounds, beautifully kept. Much different than when I saw it some 30 years ago.

This middle age guy came up to us, hoping to be our guide. He saw dollar signs, didn’t know that I’m cheap as can be and would probably not even give him a tip. But as a marketer, well I only thought Americans bragged about themselves that way.  “I’m the only guide worth having. Everyone says that I am a genius. I speak fourteen languages, (which he proceeded to prove by saying "inlaid" in German, French, Spanish and Italian)all the languages of the world. Everyone tells me I am a great person.”  Now how could you resist that? We did accept him and were sorely disappointed. I actually knew more than he did about Shah Jahan and I know almost nothing. He also gave us a song and dance about how he had to provide for his son, who is going to University in the US and everyone gives him dollars and euros and Swiss francs. I wanted to gag, and gave him exactly what he said he would charge. As we walked back to the entrance and read the plaques, we realized that we would have learned more reading them than we learned from the damn fool we hired to guide us. Live and learn.
We went to Defense Colony and ate at Sagar, a very good South Indian It was fun, because we ordered a different dish and shared.  I had dishes I hadn’t eaten before.
I decided to spend the afternoon with Mohini and sent Jette and Kjeld to see Humayan’s tomb and Lodi garden. They loved the gardens and I felt good about seeing Mohini, who is now in a Senior centre and hating it. But she has never liked anywhere she’s lived. So I don’t say much. 
The driver came back and picked me up and off we went to the hostel and dinner.

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