We have arrived in India and its Day 1! Here's a look at our first day: I took off from Los Angeles and Claudia took off from San Francisco on Friday evening, we met up in Istanbul (13 hour flight) and flew the rest of the way together to Delhi (6 hour flight). We were both lucky enough to get some rest in on the flight and we arrived at Sunday at 5:30am.
We were picked up at the airport by our private tour group called Tour My India, they helped us find an atm to withdraw Indian rupees (current exchange rate is $1 to 62 rps) and a sim card for our phone (for 200 rps or $3.25 you get 2gb data). The airport had these cool mudras above their check in line, yoga poses on columns, and plenty of foreigners holding yoga mats.
We then headed to the juSTa Panchsheel Park Hotel in New Delhi. We did not have an organized tour planned for today, so we started the day with a walk around our hotel to get situated. It was interesting to see how crazy the streets are: there's trash everywhere, constant honking from cars, no sidewalks, and at the same time you see a ton of smiling faces. I posted some pictures of some of the local street side businesses. I even saw my first street cows and monkeys.
After our walk our driver picked us up and drove us around to see some sites that are outside of our itinerary. Sunday is the holy day here making temples super crowded and most stores are closed, so we just did a drive by the Lotus Temple, Akshardham Temple, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, and because there were no lines at the Hare Krishna temple IKSON we went inside. It was a huge complex, with fountains, reliefs, and we were even able to attend a worship.
Afterwards our driver took us to an overpriced tourist souvenir shop, with all kinds of souvenirs: rugs, saris, jewelry, figurines, paintings, and etc. It was good to see how much things cost, they taught us how to recognize quality, enjoy the AC, and have delicious complimentary chai. At this point we were so tired and hungry, we had a nice dinner of curries and headed back to our room at 7pm to rest for the evening.