Sunday, July 29, 2012

Delhi, India 7/2 - 7/4

Quarup's Indian experience started before we even arrived there. An European girl next to him on the plane frantically kept complaining to the stewardess about the airplane food: “Too spicy! Too spicy!”

Quarup knew we were on the right flight.
See a closer view of our interactive map.

Upon arrival in Delhi, our good swing dancer friend, Sidarth Kapoor, received us and kindly hosted us at his parents’ beautiful home. This is how it felt leaving the air conditioned airport:

“SMACK” -- slap on the face!

The weather in Delhi was hot (108F or 42C) and humid and didn’t ease up much even at night. Sid kindly offered us an air conditioned bedroom, which we came to appreciate very dearly especially after the power went out in the middle of the night. We later found out the power goes out at least once a day in most parts of India.
But Sid really took us under his wings and made us feel very comfortable. He cooked us some traditional Indian cuisine that his mother had made for him growing up. We quickly became accustomed to the daily ritual of chai and cookies.

Starting off each morning in Delhi with Sid's chai and cookies

We took autorickshaws and the metro to see various sights in Delhi including the Jama Masjid Mosque and Lotus temple. But frankly what we enjoyed the most was the wonderful food from some of Sid’s favorite restaurants including Karim's. The spices were very rich and diverse!
Delhi Metro during rush hour.
Always room for more cables
Jama Masjid Mosque. India's largest Mosque.
Lotus Temple, a temple to celebrate all faiths.
Pure deliciousness

Laure also bought a beautifully hand-made Kurti, which is a long Indian shirt. The affordable 20 USD price even included custom fitting and tailoring. At night, we passed by a night bazaar near Sid's home. It makes a lot of sense to shop at night when the sun is no longer beating down on you!
Laure's Kurti.
Night bazaar.
After a couple of days, we had to depart for Agra. But before we left, Sid and Quarup decided to swing dance to the song “All That Meat and No Potatoes.” Just like the good old days!

Swing dancing with Sid!
You can check out more photos here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bellagio, Italy 7/1

Half way between San Francisco and India we stopped for a 12 hour layout in Italy. Since we spent time in Milan last year, Quarup suggested that we spend the day at Lago di Como.

See a closer view of our interactive map
Directly from the Milan airport we set out by train to the lake. The train ride to Como took an hour, including the transfer at the Saronna Station. The weather couldn't have been any better for a day by the lake. After grabbing a gelato in Como's plaza, we boarded a ferry for a two and half hour scenic ride to Bellagio.

Bathing in the Italian sun on the ferry in Lake Como.
Two and half hours of villas like this.
Wonder if any celebrities got married here.
Once docked, we spent a few hours exploring the tiny cobblestone streets of Bellagio and had lunch outside on a terrace. Quarup mentioned that Bellagio was nothing like the Vegas version except for the water fountain on the lake... 30 kilometers away.
Main entrance into the town from the dock.
Narrow streets of Bellagio.
The only resemblance to the Vegas Bellagio Hotel.
Overall the layover was relaxed and easy going. Here are a few more snap shots from our day. After a day of sightseeing and being in the sun, we were ready to nap during our red eye flight to Delhi.