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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Chandni Chwok, Connaught Place and Palika Bazar


“What place is this?”
We wondered.
The alley was full of fake t-shirts, watches, groceries, shoes and none of the things that we wanted to buy.“I guess we are at the wrong place…this must be a market for local, not tourist…”
I quickly went to ask one of the shop assistants, “Do you sell magnet? Fridge magnet?” He shook his head.

I went to ask another shop the same question, he also shook his head.

“OK. Clearly this is not the place. No saree, no fridge magnet, no India t-shirt. Come, we go to the other side.”


We walked towards Chandni Chwok and started to get lost in pool of people. By this time, few guys started to call us, invite us to come to their shop.

Tips : Chandni Chwok is one of the best place for saree hunting.

“Haaaa this must be the place…”
We smiled.


One of the guys persuaded Chawana to go into his shop and showed her few types of saree but the price wasn’t that cheap. We walked further up and went in few shops to find cheaper sarees but failed to get one.


“Come, please, come to my shop…you see first…no worry, cheap, cheap…”
said one of local guy who looked like a Nepalese.


“Cheap cheap huh…ok, ok…”
Chawana warned him.


We went into one small alley that led to few small shops…with not so good smell around it. The first shop took out all their good and so-so quality saree and lenga but after 15 minutes of browsing, none that caught Chawana’s eyes. I myself liked one lenga but unfortunately it was a sleeveless-type.


“That shop?”
Chawana pointed to the other shop next to it.
“Can…can…possible…” the guy shook his head.He must have ‘kowtim’ with all shops at that area for his ‘portion’ (tips). Hahaha! At this moment, all of us started to sit down on the covered floor in and outside the shop, browsing and selecting sarees. Chawana has gone crazy and chose more than 5 in a second, while I, still looking for lenga. While looking at the lengas, my eyes were attracted to one turquoise saree.
“How much is this?” I asked.

“Rp700=RM49.00”
He smiled. “Very fine quality, cheap, see this…” He spread the saree to show the end portion of it, which was in purple.


“Na, how many you want to buy? If you buy many, include me in coz I’m gonna cut this off.”
“Errm…10 or 11…”

“WHAT??? HOIIII!!!! Are you crazy? For who?”
I was totally surprised with her and almost got my eyes popped out there and then.


“Hahaha…my siblings, mom, and friends….I got few friends who already paid, so I have to buy lah…”


“Ok…get yours first, then lasttttttt thing I’m gonna do is to get mine, cheap cheap. Hahaha!”
It took almost an hour (or plus) for Chawana to choose all the 10-11 pairs…in various colors of Ranggoli. And she bought for her, two! (Or three! I don’t know!) Hahaha!

“Ok, she bought 11 pairs, now I really want this one (turquoise saree) for Rp500=RM25.00?”
I gave kitty face to the shop assistant.


Tips : Bargain as long as you can. They will fall into you. Or else, walk away. There are MANY shops along this road.


I bargain hardly about 15 minutes and finally got what I asked for. Hehe! He packed our goods and we separated all sarees into few plastic bags. We went out from the shop, and walked towards the main road, with goods on our head! Hahahahaha!

“Still got time to shop…hey, we need to buy fridge magnet!!! OMG!!!” We started to get panic since we had no FM at all for souvenirs. We quickly took a train and stop at Rajiv Chwok, located in the heart of Connaught Place.
Tips : Connaught Place is one of the largest financial, commercial and business centers in Delhi.

The first thing that we saw was Palika Bazar, an underground shopping complex. Ignoring the place, we decided to explore those white two to three storey building that encircled Connaught Place. Besides, we were looking for our official restaurant, Pizza Hut.
Tips : These shops are named with alphabet and you can begin with the block next to the right of Palika Bazar.

We crossed the road and walked towards the shops and found that this place were occupied with designers shop and branded stores. Hubby clearly got attracted with India Cricket jersey that he saw in Nike shop. Anyhow, after few trying, he chose a blue t-shirt with India team logo.

“Where’s Pizza Hut ek? Which block just now?” We tried to remember back the signboard.

“I think this way…”
We passed few blocks and reached one construction site, where we saw a very small and not-so-new Pizza Hut signboard.

“Huh? This is it?”
We had our jaw dropped!


“Maybe this is the back side…let’s go to the front.”
We had to find a way to go to the front side and after a few minutes, we finally reached Pizza Hut and thank god, IT WAS SPACIOUS AND BIG. Hahaha! As usual, we ordered arabiata spaghetti and pizza. Like other Pizza Hut restaurant, we did the same routine, rang the bell.
Tips : If you are satisfied with the food and service, you can ring a door bell on your way out.

“Ok, our last hope…final shopping at Palika Bazar.” We agreed.

We walked out and headed back to Palika Bazar, and it was getting dark. By this time, we just prayed and hoped that we could find whatever we want in that bazaar. Once entered, we had smile on our face.


But the smile didn’t last longer.

After few quick searching, we found no fridge magnets! Most of the shops were selling t-shirts and China-made toys! OMG! How leh???
I ran into one shop and asked “Do you sell magnets?”

“Yes, yes…come in…”
he shook his head and went to one corner at his shop.


“YES! FINALLY!”
I smiled at hubby and Chawana.


After 5 seconds, the guy came and showed me a pair of red magnets…complete with North and South!


“NOOOOOOOO…NOT THIS ONE, FRIDGE MAGNET, INDIA, DELHI…YOU KNOW?”
I felt like smacking his head over and over for killing my joy. OK, maybe it was my fault for asking 'magnet' instead of 'fridge magnet'...d'uhhhh!


“Oooo…don’t have…” He shook his head again. “But you can go to shop number 610.” He then suggested.

The time showed 30 minutes past 5. WE HAD NO MORE TIME LEFT! As quick as lightning, we ran to the shop and guess what, they did sell fridge magnets!!! DEARLY!!!


Tips : One fridge magnet cost you about Rp50=RM3.50 to Rp100=RM7.00, whereby, you can get it for Rp20=RM1.40 each! SEE?! SEE?!


AND WE HAD NO CHOICE, to buy 4-5 fridge magnets and wasted our money. Plus, I managed to grab one baby t-shirt with India map on it.

We then took Metro back to Delhi station and went back to the hotel. While collecting our bags, hubby went to ask few taxis, to send us to the airport. We managed to get a cheaper taxi from the other hotel at the corner and safely arrived the airport.
At the airport, we managed to 'finish' our rupees by getting miniatures of tuk-tuk (for Myra) and taxi (for Sami), along with three types of tea for our parents. These items were the MOST expensive souvenirs in India trip! And it was hell of fun to shop with whatever money left without thinking to save it. Hahaha!

We then walked to the immigration counter and AGAINNNNNNN, hubby and I faced the same issue of Web Check-In. The fastest and simplest check-in became the most difficult and time-wasting in India, since they didn't accept non-other than physical ticket!!!Tips : Meaning, though you have the print out of Web Check-in, you still need to go to the check-in counter, to get a physical flight ticket! Meaning, you have to QUEUE lah! ARGH!

Right after we got our physical ticket, we just got to know that we were out of time! We had to RUN (yes, we really ran like Amazing Race contestants) and guess what, running along with us were another Malaysian Chinese lady who traveled alone, and another Malaysian Indian guy. She even complaint that we actually still have 20 minutes and she was in the middle of having her dinner just now. Crazy huh?

While running, we heard the final call on the speaker, calling for our flight. We ran even faster! Thank god a buggy man called us and offered a ride. Believe me, we could have missed the flight if we still running.

He dropped us at the exit doorway and we quickly hopped down, NEGLECTING his request for a tips!!! Sorry man, Asian never do that. Hahaha!

We finally got boarded and passed by Chawana's seating, smiling and said hi...(siut kan?) From afar, I saw two guys sat at our seats. Without saying anything, both of them got up and went to look for another seat.

"Eh, we pay what...who cares..."

And that's then end of my/our India trip tales :)


Co-travelers:
For history element, read Travelista's version here (in English)
For trip experience, read Chawana's version here (in Bahasa)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Biqque's April Lucky Follower


Yup! It's time for Monthly Lucky Follower!


Let me put aside my new house issues and have fun with you guys ya?

Ok! The same monthly routine...

1. Create an entry "Biqque's April Lucky Follower" as your entry title.
2. Find your profile picture in my follower list and circle it.
(Those who have submitted for previous months, you know what to do by now.)
This month I use "wintergurl" face la ha :D
3. Leave your entry link in the comment section.

You know the catch...yada, yada, yada...
Lucky follower will get
ONE mystery gift.
Stay tune on 6th May 2011 at 9.00am,
to know who got lucky!


Jom!

Friday, April 22, 2011

India Gate


“India Gate?”

The Indian tuk-tuk driver shook his head twice. We paid not more than Rp100=RM7.00 to reach this historical monument.

We hopped down the tuk-tuk and saw longggggg straight road…and wondered “…why we come from this side?”

We got to know that we came from the other side of the gate when we saw no one behind us.

“Meaning…this long road is ours! Woohoo! Let’s take picture!” I made evil face.

“You stand straight. I take your picture.” I instructed hubby.
“One more, spread your legs…” I continued snapping from below, like a magazine photographer.
“Na, Na, here!” I called Chawana’s family.
Hahaha! So kepochi kan?

We walked towards the canopy, a monument before the India Gate. It has been debated to have a standing statue of Mahatma Gandhi under it, but the plan still not been agreed upon. By this time, more and more visitors approaching this area at this time.
Tips : This place is built with a big roundabout that bridges four junctions. Any mode of transportation is not allowed in this area, except for authorities.
Since we visited this gate on Monday, we saw many schools organized learning trip for their students. I saw red-sweater kids, walking in line heading to the gate, like our Malaysian kids who visit Tugu Negara…(except the red sweater la…Malaysia super hot ma!)(Instrument playing familiar Hindi song)

“I know this song! Hmmm hmmm hmmmm…” I hummed according to the song played by one street musician using wooden flute that he is selling.

Tips : There were street vendors selling souvenirs, tea, snacks, water and etc.
While I was hypnotizing by the melody, suddenly I heard “Calana! Calana!”

Few street vendors ran as quickly as they can from the roundabout area, with their goods on head and in hands, straight on the grass are between local and foreign visitors, and HID behind trees!
“WHY? WHY?” We wondered.

“Oooooo they ran from the policeman!” We saw one policeman walked towards us (the left side of the roundabout.) He then walked back to the right side of the roundabout, to chase away the street vendors on that side.

Guess what…just after few minutes he gone, all these hidden street vendors, CAME OUT with their goods on head, smiling at visitors like they had done something funny, and started business as usual. Hahaha!
And the “polis sentry” (police and thieves) games were repeated the whole day!

BUT luck wasn’t always on their side. We saw one street vendor who got caught by one mole (he was wearing normal attire), and got SLAPPED few times, JUST like in Hindi movies! Kidd you not! I can even hear “pelepuk-pelepak”, forehand, backhand, straight on his dark cheeks.

And people just watched…like I said, it was like watching a familiar scene in Hindi movie. Ready for take? Action! Ayomaaa ayopaaaa! Nehi nehi karonggi!

We approached the huge and gigantic 42-meter tall India Gate, a monument to remember the soldiers who died in WWI and Afghan Wars. We started to take pictures of this gate from all views, to avoid from overlooking any beautiful story of it.
There were names engraved on every inches of the wall. Soldiers who died for India...
And there was burning shrine known as Amar Jawan Jyoti, the flame of the immortal soldiers that is guarded tightly.
Tips : You are not allowed to touch the black chain fence around this area. How do you know you have gone too far? A guard will whistle at you.

“I don’t think we gonna meet Aida and Nizam here…” I said to hubby and Chawana.

We supposed to meet my friends, Aida and Nizam, who came to India few days after, at their hotel but we changed the plan to India Gate. Looking at the time constraint and difficulty in updating each other (no India sim card and no FB), we decided to call the meeting off.

“Ok…I’m getting bored…Aqilah, let’s pose and thennnnnn go shopping!”

"How to pose auntie biq?"

"Like this haaaaa...see the leg..."

"Okeh! Hiah!"

Co-travelers:
For history element, read Travelista's version here (in English)
For trip experience, read Chawana's version here (in Bahasa)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rajghat


“Ok…next?”
Chawana asked us and I referred to our Trip Cookbook.

“Well…we have skipped and rearranged few places yesterday…so we have left with Rajghat, India Gate, Humayun’s Tomb, Jama’ Masjid and last minute shopping.”

“I think, we skip Humayun’s Tomb coz we’ve been visiting none other than tombs throughout this trip…”

“HAHAHAHAHAHA!” we all laughed.

“…and we skip Jama’ Masjid since the architectural seems more or less like others…”

“Hmmm…” we contemplated.

“…so I think we visit Rajghat lah…hey, who doesn’t want to visit Gandhi right?”

“Yeahhhh! No Gandhi, No YIndia!”

And so we waited at the road side, stopped a tuk-tuk. We paid Rp70=RM4.90 and reached Rajghat in not more than 10 minutes.

Tips : Rajghat is quite near to Red Fort but it is not a walking distance. Tuk-tuk is the best option to go to this place though it is in HOHO list.
This place is noticeable from the main road as it has a huge signboard and a very wide grassy compound. We stopped at the road side and walked into the area.Tips : There is no entrance fee for this area. I believe Gandhi won’t be happy if they charge people to meet him.

We were welcomed with beautiful green and yellow colors along the pathway. There were water fountains too. The scene was calm and silent, the best setting to visit the “Father of the Nation”.We saw two tiers of walkways. We opted for upper tier that allowed us to make a square round in order to see the black marble. I looked closely to the Rajghat and saw one eternal flame at one corner that is believed to be perpetual.
Hubby and I snapped few pictures and each side of the square memorial gave different slightly different views.
Looking down the stone footpath, I saw visitors in bare foot, approaching the black marble. We thought of going down…to see the epitaph, “O Ram”, that is believed to be the last word uttered by Gandhi…to stand where other foreign leaders at…but in bare foot? Hmmm…
Tips : Everyone has to remove their footwear for the sign of respect. But beware, dogs are also seen in this area. And please, don’t wear this fancy hat!
Opposite this cremation spot, few hundred meters across the road, there was Gandhi’s Museum that kept lots of memories during his era. We didn’t enter the place as we need to race against time. We walked out from the memorial and saw one tuk-tuk, in the middle of changing tyre. We prayed to Allah, not to give any obstacles, enough with this diarrhea…urgh!
India Gate, we must visit.

Co-travelers:
For history element, read Travelista's version here (in English)
For trip experience, read Chawana's version here (in Bahasa)

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