I've somehow managed to string together nine days in which nothing traumatic has happened to me--I haven't been in an auto accident, I haven't fallen, I'm not sick, no one has driven away with my money in their hand, I haven't gotten lost. Of course, one of those days I worked at home. It's difficult to be traumatized while sorting bibliographic citations in EndNote. Also, of course, today isn't over yet. I might still go for a walk in the park, exposing me to the damning forces of gravity, but hopefully, I'll stay upright and uninjured.
Yesterday, I spent the day at the Delhi Zoo (NZP). You have to love a zoo at which the signs warn visitors about the animals outside as well as the ones inside the cages. At the gate, bags are checked to make sure you don't bring in food. I think this is supposed to protect the animals, and probably helps boost sales at the snack counter. However, if you're going to buy something at the snack counter, you have to be a lot quicker than the monkeys if you want to eat your snack. Case in point:
Aside from the monkeys, the zoo is really nice. It is on the banks of Yamuna River, and a lot of breeding flocks make their homes here, close to the water. The zoo's own water habitat is full of birds, especially waterbirds like painted storks, egrets and herons. The number of raptors is also impressively high, especially when they are headed straight toward your head (perhaps they don't like blondes?). Also, I saw a white tiger, which was it's own kind of awesomeness. Definitely worth the 50 rupee admissions fee.
Since I was in the neighboorhood, I went up to Purana Qila after I left the zoo. This is my second trip, so I was mostly just wandering randomly, taking photos when I felt like it, and not paying attention to much of anything. Mostly people left me alone at the zoo (except for the one billion plus school children who all had to say "Hi!" and give me high fives when they passed). At Purana Qila, people watched me more closely, starting with the women at the gate who tried to convince me to give them "a donation."
At one point, I saw a young man hovering nearby while I was taking a photo of the mosque dome. I kept my eyes down and tried to ignore him, but it was clear he wanted to talk to me. Eventually, I looked over at him, at which point he smiled and said, "Madam, you are looking TOO GOOD in your Indian dress!" I had to laugh and just say thank you. Not even ten minutes later, another young man wandered into my path. It was pretty clear that his group of friends (male and female both) had put him up to talking to me, so I just kept walking toward him to get it over with. And then he, too, said, "Madam, you are looking TOO GOOD in your Indian dress!"
I don't wear salwaar-kameez every day, but probably something like 5 out of 7 days, simply because I arrived here from London only with winter clothes. I had to buy some lighter weight clothing once I arrived, so most of my wardrobe this season is from Fab India. I don't think much about it, I wear what I have in my closet. But it seems clear that even if I look stupid in salwaar-kameez (my dupattas tend to turn into dirt rags by the end of the day), people generally appreciate that I'm trying not to look like a slob. And truthfully, while young women in Delhi usually wear jeans and kurta, women my age wear salwaar-kameez or saris. At least I'm dressing age appropriately most days of the week. And, hey, popular opinion seems to be that I am looking TOO GOOD for the first time in my life.
A few zoo photos here; Purana Qila photos [will be] here.