Yes, I must speak on this subject again: it's nice knowing what's up. It's not nice being completely clueless.
Today, I took my two (TWO!) new friends into the old city. This was kind of cool for me, because I knew just how to get there from the Raj Mandir, and knew which direction was Bapu Bazaar, which direction was Nehru bazaar, etc. Even nicer was the fact that I was able to take them the marble carving section of the old city. A lot of places were closed up because it was Sunday, but they now know where it is, and no one from the group does (hoarding local information, that might actually qualify as Stage Three--I'll think about it). Anyway, I just had fun showing them cool stuff in a hopefully not too pretentious way.
Also, I impressed Julia's out of town friend with the fact that I once had dinner with Maxim Shostakovich. Just saying.
I think the point here is: I'm impressing myself, if not my friends. I'm getting so much more accomplished than I did last year because I know exactly what I want to do, and more importantly, can communicate that desire in Hindi. Last night, the man at the stationery store was really pleased I bought my notebooks from him in Hindi, and today, the waiter complimented me on my Hindi. When he asked if we needed our bills separated, and we said no, he said he thought not, but the tourists tend to want separate checks. It was as if we'd passed some sort of cultural entrance exam.
Anyway, I'll stop bragging on myself, but I've just been noticing how much more relaxed I am this summer. A lot of that has to do with staying in the hotel (best decision EVER), but some of it has to do with having the ability to take care of myself without a lot of problems.
Today's high temp was only 95 again, and it sort of sprinkled for awhile. It's just so lovely being able to walk around in such cool air. Well, okay, I guess I'm dripping with sweat, but it's nothing like it was that first weekend in Delhi. Thank god.
Oh, today was the first monkey sighting--three in Bapu Bazaar. @#$*(! monkeys!