Today is Republic Day, the day India declared its independence and became a republic. As such, most of the shoppes and tourist attractions are closed, as are many roads in and around Delhi. Since we didn't want to get out in the mess of things, we opted for a rather leisurely day at the hotel. We started by waking Manu for his morning bottle. As soon as his eyes were open the nipple was in his mouth...no time for fussiness! No wait, that wasn't how it went at all. Actually he woke up crying at about 5:30am, and was not too patient while I stumbled around in the dark without my glasses trying to make a bottle. After feeding him I rocked him for about 30 minutes before he would return to sleep. So back in bed I go, only to repeat this episode again at 8:30 when he wanted his cereal. So we feed him and he turns back into happy baby, and we are groaning from lack of sleep. We spend the next hour getting ready before heading down to the bufett. He was a little more squirmy than yesterday, so I took him for a walk around the lobby while Leslie finished her breakfast. Back upstairs Manu falls asleep as soon as we get in the door. This allows Leslie and I time to watch some news coverage of the Republic Day parade, as well as other current events around India. Eventually we drifted off to sleep too. Later, after we all woke, we went outside and relaxed by the pool for a bit. The water was a bit too cold to let Manu put his feet in, but he seemed to enjoy being outside in the sun for a bit. Back to the room for lunch, and then we set out on foot to find Manu some more cereal and diapers.
The area across from the hotel is called Nehru Place. From our hotel vantage point, we can see a multiplex and a McDonalds. The sign on the building also advertises a 24/7 convenience store. So we walk across the street and around the corner only to discover a rather run-down alley of shoppes, most of which were closed, with lots of trash blowing about and people gathering in different spots. It looked harmless enough though, so after discovering that the convenience store did not have baby items, we decided to walk down the alley and around the block looking for a pharmacy or another shop for Manu. About 3 steps down the road we are met with two small, rather neglected looking children who are asking for money or food; a little boy who looked blind in one eye, and a little girl maybe 8yrs old. We told then we had nothing, but they wouldn't take that. The little girl suddenly saw Manu and got excited and started grabbing at his legs. This made Leslie, and myself frankly, a little uncomfortable and we quickened the pace and they finally gave up. Now from our position it seemed like we could take a left at the end of the street and simply go around the block, but when we made the turn the conditions of the street got worse and there was no clear way out. But rather than go back down the previous path we continued on in this direction. Now if we didn't stick out enough at the Temple, we must really been a sight to behold in the back-alleys of Delhi. People stared at us from the time they first saw us until we were out of sight. While there were people around, there weren't enough to make us feel comfortable. After running into several dead ends, we finally found our way back to the main road and headed back to the hotel, without anything for Manu. Just to be clear, at no time did anyone threaten us or say anything unkind, we were simply out of our comfort zone, and were ready to get back to our room. Funny thing is, we were very comfortable on the streets of Bangalore, but there were always hundreds of people at any given time. I think it was the setting, and the lack of many people, that made us feel vulnerable. Don't worry about Manu, he took it all in stride, and when we got back to the hotel, we discovered that the concierge could send someone out for our needs, and now he has plenty to eat!
Back in the room it was time to give Manu a bath. We have done this twice before, once in a sink in Bangalore, and once in the tub here, both times being a pleasant experience. So Leslie draws the bath and asks me to test the water; it was just slightly warm, so it was perfect for Manu. We undressed him easily enough, and then I picked him up to place him in the water. Manu had been a happy baby most of the afternoon, but from the moment his toe touched the water he screamed. And screamed. And screamed. He started flailing about so much that we was turning himself over, face-down in the water, all with us trying to hold him in place the whole time. Leslie decides to get in with him to try and soothe him, but it didn't work. All she could do was hold him in place as I washed him down. Tears were pouring out of his eyes, and I was waiting for a knock on the door from the management wanting to know why we were beating the child! We finished as quickly as possible and wrapped him in a towel. He stopped crying instantly, only to start again as we dressed him in his sleep outfit (FYI, Manu HATES to be dressed. He doesn't mind wearing clothes, but the act of putting them on sends him straight to the third level of the dark side.) After the dressing was over he stopped almost immediately as Leslie held him. I think he blamed me for his pain and suffering, because every time I'd try and touch him, he would turn his head and look the other way. Luckily this silent treatment was short lived and he was back to his old self again.
Tonight we fed Manu and ordered in room service for us; spicy dal in gravy and curried spinach puree with bread! Have I said I love this country? We have spent the rest of the evening organizing our paperwork for our first visit to the Embassy tomorrow. Leslie and Manu are in bed, and I'm headed there shortly. Take care everyone.