Friday, January 30, 2009

Last Day in Delhi

We can' t believe we've been here for 10 days. Our experience in India has forever changed our lives and outlooks, and not just because of Manu. India is a country of glorious contrasts. At once it is the dirtiest and most beautiful place on earth. At times it seems cold and cruel, at others it is warm and friendly. Indians are very proud of their country, but at the same time recognize that they have problems and are working through them. India has been good to us, and while we're ready to come home and begin forever with Manu, we leave here a little sad to say goodbye. We're going to try our best to keep Manu familiar with the life he's leaving behind, and we hope to bring him back one day to experience it for himself.

We started today by sleeping in a little. By that I mean, waking up at 5am to feed Manu, and then getting him back to sleep. It figures that after 2 weeks we are finally acclimated to the time and climate, just in time to head home go through it again! We woke around 8am, got ready and headed to breakfast for the last time in the hotel. Again Manu attracted attention, but this was nothing compared to later. After a savory and spicy breakfast of Indian curries, breads, exotic fruits and juices, we headed back to the room to pack a little, and then we went downstairs to hire a car for a last few hours of site-seeing. We began at the Lotus Temple. This is a multi-faith place of meditation and worship, named for it's resemblance to the lotus flower. This is what we've been looking at out out hotel window for 7 days, and it's even more magnificent and beautiful at ground level with its wonderful flower gardens and reflecting ponds.

After a few minutes there, we headed for Humayun's Tomb. The beautiful sandstone tomb houses the remains of Emperor Humayun, a Mughal leader, and was built by his wife after his death. The style of architecture is in the same style as the Taj Mahal we saw yesterday. The grounds here were also quite beautiful with a series of irrigation channels running throughout the complex. As usual Manu was a hit and Leslie found him and herself several times surrounded by curious admirers.

Next we headed to the Qu'tb Minar, the world's tallest brick minaret. This is the site of an ancient mosque, built upon be three different Emperors beginning almost a thousand years ago, and like Humayun's Tomb, it is a World Heritage site. It was fascinating to see the ruins and imagine what it must have been like back then. While we were there, so were many groups of school children, many of which took an interest in us and Manu. Some of the young boys also seemed to take an interest in Leslie. At one time I believe we were surrounded on all sides by at least a hundred young boys and men, all wanting to shake our hands and touch Manu on the cheek, apparently an Indian tradition. They were all very friendly and genuinely curious about us and Manu, but they kept coming and I thought this would never stop. At one point an older man, say mid-twenties, had others take his picture with Leslie and Manu, not interested in me at all, LOL. I had one young man ask me to say hello to President Obama for him, when we get back home. I told him I would and we parted friends. Eventually we had to say goodbye and walk rather quickly to lose the mob. Several small groups followed us around the entire complex until we left. While we have been approached by many people throughout our visit, this was the most overwhelming reception we have had yet. This must be what living with the paparazzi is like.

Afterwards we headed back to the hotel, stopping at a pharmacy to buy a little more food that we will use to transition Manu with to a product available in the US. Once home we fed him and then ourselves, and started to pack for our 3am flight tomorrow morning. We're still nervous about how Manu will do on the long flight, but we're about to find out. We'll try to keep him up a bit later tonight so that he might sleep a little more during the flights.

We'll see you all soon, our flight lands at 9:05pm tomorrow night. Thanks for following and participating in our adventure. We'll post an update after we get back. Take care.

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