The following day, we started out early to see the Red Fort. Our trusty driver didn’t know how to get there – he ended up paying an auto-rickshaw driver and following him. Our guidebook had the opening time wrong – but fortunately also had failed to indicate the entry gate, so by the time we found it, we didn’t have to wait that long.The Red Fort is red. At least, we think it is. It’s kind of hard to see it through the smog…But it was certainly beautiful and very un-fort-like. It’s got several former palaces inside – awesome. t’s pretty big, lots to explore, but the interiors of the buildings are empty. After a while, we were approached by a group of young men asking to take a photo with Wendy. They left us alone, but we no longer felt comfortable (the site was pretty empty) and left. Our next stop was the Jama Masjid. It’s big. And beautiful. It’s the oldest and largest mosque in the country. There was a huge crowd outside the gate. We had to pay for entry to the mosque, and the guard actually tried to overcharge us, despite the huge sign behind him indicating the price for foreigners. (Do you get an especially quick trip to hell if you rob people INSIDE a mosque?) It was kind of funny since there’s a big sign posted with 150 rupees each right there, and he said, yes, 150 rupees each – 400 together. Apparently the Indian perception is that foreign schools are
really, really bad! Of course 100 rupees is a little more than $2US, so we’re not talking megabucks, but… Anyhow, we won that argument. Again we had to take off our shoes to enter the Mosque, and the ground wasn’t clean (pigeon droppings everywhere).
After a while we sat down by the central fountain in the courtyard, to relax and take in the sights. Soon after, a large group gathered not far from us, looking at us and laughing at us. Again, we felt uncomfortable and left earlier then we wanted to.We went to a recommended restaurant nearby, Karim’s. Apparently it’s been serving curries, kebabs, etc. for almost 100 years and has opened several branches within and outside Delhi. Although it was very cheap, we didn’t think it was that great. Next we walked over to the old shopping street, Chandi Chowk. We wandered around the narrow alleyways, checking out the different souks. The shops were mainly of interest to locals – we didn’t see much in the way of souvenirs (crafts, etc.). The main road is incredibly busy and loud. We were glad to take a quiet break at a McDonalds on the main street.
We finally found an "internet cafe" – some very enterprising family had turned their computer in their family cloth business into a little tourist attraction. Awesome.
We headed back to our taxi driver who took us to the train station. There was a bit of a disagreement over the price (or maybe he was upset at the lack of a tip), but since he didn’t speak English, we won that argument.