A scenic flight over the Himalayas from Bhutan took us back to Delhi, where we spent three packed days.

Mt. Everest, as seen from Bhutan to Delhi flight

Touring included a couple of walks through OLD Delhi, where the sights, sounds and smells were all vibrant, but not shocking, thanks to multiple trips to China (and even Chinatown San Francisco, a mere half-mile from where we live). Even the beggars and people lying and sleeping on the streets, while certainly more populous in India, do not horrify us when we consider that in our own city and country chronically mentally ill and other street denizens confront us every day at home. The whole fact of beggars and homeless anywhere is what’s horrifying.

A highlight in Delhi was a Sikh temple, large and grand in its architecture and setting but fulfilling a compassionate mission in offering sustenance to thousands a day. Volunteers prepare meals that served in a free meal program that gives new meaning to the term.

NEW Delhi is a creation of the British, and India’s older government buildings reflect the colonial period. But the India Gate, a war memorial to Indians that fought on the British side in Afghanistan campaigns and both World Wars, resembles the Arch de Triumphe in Paris. A memorial to Mahatma Gandhi is a simple pyre containing his ashes. A museum commemorating his life is located in the former mansion of a wealthy supporter, where “Gandhiji” always stayed when in town and where he was assassinated in 1948.

A visit to the American Embassy International School, an institution encompassing pre-school through high school classes gave us a fun and interesting chance to catch up with our friend, Bob Hetzel, the school’s director. It’s a fantastic campus serving 1,450 students from 19 countries, only 37% of which are American. It was the last morning of school before the winter break, so we enjoyed part of a pre-holiday assembly and a musical ensemble serenading students off to vacation. And we were invited to partake of a end-of-term tradition—a festive luncheon for faculty and staff—where we ate lunch with Bob and some of his colleagues, including a teacher who knows Jonathan and Amy from the time she and her journalist husband spent in Beijing. Small world, even in Delhi.

India Gate

 

  

Child at Qutar Minub temple

Delhi Metro Station

Musical ensemble at American Embassy school, Delhi


Old Delhi street scene


Food prep (bread) to feed daily flock at Sikh temple

Gandhi memorial (ashes buried) in Delhi

Eli’s turban required at Sikh temple. Thank goodness I have a scarf with me that coordinated with his outfit.

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