I might be down with Dengue. It still needs to be confirmed by blood tests tomorrow, but, as of last night, our neighbourhood doctor says I’m showing all the signs. Thanks to fever-reducing drugs, I’m feeling somewhat better today. The evil mosquitoes of Delhi have been busy this year, their hunger satisfied at the cost of high fevers, excruciating headaches, and – for many people in the city – unaffordable medical bills. We are hoping and praying I’ll kick this thing quickly and, in the meantime, I’ll be under the watchful eye of nurses Kyle, Thapa, and Surinder who faithfully bring me green mint tea, tomato soup, and coconut water to be sipped right out of the husk, all of us comforted by our close proximity to a world-class hospital.
In lieu of a proper blog this week, I am posting some photos from our weekend of exploration.
I took this photo this week on my way back from teaching Martha.
On Saturday we had a wonderful time at the National Zoological Gardens.
This leopard wasn’t particularly interested in any of his visitors until a family showed up with a baby in a stroller. The leopard did not take his eyes off that baby and paced along the edge of his cage, stalking it, until the baby was out of sight.
Old Man Stork.
This is a Hoolock Gibbon monkey. If they are in the right mood and you hoot at them, they get pumped up and hoot back with enthusiasm. They weren’t in the mood for that on Saturday (and all of their visitors tried to rile them up), but they still amazed us by suddenly jumping up from their huddled, resting position to start flinging around everywhere, even tightrope walking on their two back legs.
One place in India where you’d hope the rule of ‘expect the unexpected’ wouldn’t apply is at the zoo, the home a variety of dangerous animals. Au contraire. To our complete shock, when we stepped up to take a look at this Bonnet Macaque monkey, he took a look at us, started to run, and in one effortless motion, parkoured off his enclosure wall and over the 10-foot gap (20-foot deep), landing less than two feet away from our bug-eyed faces. As we bumped each other in every direction trying to hastily make our own escape, he sat there on the stone wall, baring his teeth at us and grunting threateningly.
An African elephant, a member of the largest mammal species in the world.
An Indian elephant.
In the evening we visited an artistic area called Sundar Nagar. We enjoyed a meal of chilli paneer, bought delicious mint green tea, and purchased a miniature hand-painted piece of art depicting an elephant and a camel in park, just as we witnessed in our first week in Delhi.
The next day we travelled to the National Museum. On our way we were assailed by monkeys and their leftover banana peels.
The museum was pretty sparse and many rooms were locked completely, but the miniature paintings and the sculptures impressed. Here a Buddhist monk venerates one of the museum pieces which is said to contain relics of the Buddha.
The museum’s canteen: a bit grungy but still serving a cracking cup of chai.
After the National Museum, we visited Humayoun’s Tomb, a precursor to the Taj Mahal.
Glimpses of coloured tiles from by-gone days hinted at what the Tomb may have originally looked like.
We ignored our protesting feet and continued on to Purana Qila–the Old Fort.
At the ornate entrance to the old mosque at Purana Qila.
We enjoyed (for the second day in a row) the aloo tikki (wow!) and juice smoothies at a restaurant by the Zoo and Purana Qila. The day prior we had second-guessed our order of mango smoothies: weren’t mangoes not in season? But there were giant jars of mangoes on the counter! Only after we’d ordered did we look close enough to see that the mangoes in fact had little seams and were completely plastic. (They used concentrate for the smoothies, not the plastic models.)
Giant balloons outside the zoo.
And we ride off into the sunset…