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Sightseeing in Delhi

Posted By Margo Gilbert on 03 May 2010
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This week Hannah and I visited Red Fort, the ruins of the last Mughal emperor’s palace. From the outside, all you can see is giant walls of rusty red stone, but inside, the courtyard was filled with building made of white stone and elaborately detailed with carving of fruits and flowers. Some of the carvings even used colored stones placed into the walls as the petals and leaves of different plants. In between the buildings were wide lawns punctuated by trees and what clearly were once pools and water features, though now no water fills them. While the size of the ruins was quite impressive, they were also very dirty and dilapidated, heaps of rubble dotted the perimeter and the grounds around them weren’t kept at all. However, I managed to take many nice pictures of the place, and learn a little about the Mughals while I was there, so that was nice.

Medical Internship AbroadStrangely, many of the Indian tourists wanted not only a picture of the ruins they were there to visit, but also pictures of Hanna and myself. Lots of pictures of us! In addition to being stopped probably around 15 times over the course of about 3 hours so Indians could take pictures of us or with us, we continually noticed the people around us taking pictures and videos without permission as well. I felt a little like an animal in a zoo, the way our normal tourist behaviour was attracting attention, but it wasn’t too bothersome.

Fortunately not as much stare-at-the-white-person happened when we visited the Lodi Gardens. The Lodi Gardens is a public park in India named for Sikandar Lodi, an ancient sultan of India whose tomb resides in the gardens. For being a garden though, there really weren’t very many flowers. We saw a few sad rosebushes, but mostly the gardens were made up of wide, grassy lawns and a few tree groves. Despite the lack of flora, there was an abundance of fauna. The park was literally crawling with chipmunks all over the trees, the grass, the tomb, everywhere! Also, the birdsong was incredible - the park was populated with an impressive variety of parrots and other birds, so listening to all the racket was quite fun.

Gap Years IndiaUsually in Delhi I don’t hear anything over the chaos of the traffic. Also, while we were in the gardens, for the first time since I came to India it RAINED! Of course the warm misting was nothing like Portland rain, but it was still almost hard to believe what I was seeing. The morning had been unusually cool - around 30 or so - and most of the day had been overcast, but the first flashes of lightning and sounds of thunder began occurring once Hannah and I had gotten to the Lodi Gardens. Hannah and I took a few pictures before we ran inside the tomb monument to avoid getting sticky and uncomfortable.

The tomb was really quite impressive, although like everything else in Delhi it was dusty, falling apart, and scratched with graffiti. It was quite huge with many open pavilions, staircases, and balconies all covered in carved flowers and decorative swirls. It’s hard for me to describe buildings, so I’ll just put up the pictures I took later.

Volunteer IndiaI saw Kites this week, which is essentially 2.5 hours of a man and a woman experiencing pure adoration/infatuation with each other, and very extreme, unnecessarily violent drama as a consequence. Apparently this is not your typical Bollywood film since it only had one dance number (which was a dance competition), the soundtrack was western not Hindi music, and it ended in complete tragedy. However, I commend whoever did the cinematography because some of the shots were just amazing! What first comes to mind is the ending scene of the female lead driving her pickup truck off the cliff, with her white dress and blue car and black hair, and shortly her lover threw himself off the same edge. I guess I'm biased because this was taken almost straight from Thelma and Louise, and I really enjoyed that movie.

I also saw my first death in the ICU a few days ago; the man was a smoker whose carcinoma of the lung had been removed 8 days ago, and had been stable until the afternoon when his lung just collapsed or something. We never actually knew what happened, but the man’s oxygen saturation was 75 when it is normally 100, his heart rate 150 when it’s usually 60-80, and his respiration rate 36 when it was supposed to be between 4 and 9. Even once we plugged him in to a ventilator machine he never quite returned to normal levels. Anyway, at 8 in the morning he went into septic shock, causing all his organs to fail and killing him, despite the ICU trying everything to stop it. I came in at 9:00am so I wasn’t there for his death, but I did see them taping up the body in a white sheet like a mummy, and wheeling it away on a steel gurney. So maybe I’m insensitive, but I feel surprisingly untraumatized about the whole thing

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