Thursday, 17 June 2010

When visitors descend

Our spare bedroom's seen a lot of action. Not nudge-nudge-wink-wink sort of action - although maybe so, I don't know - but in the year we've been in Delhi there's been a steady stream of traffic through those twin beds. There was lovely Rachel from London, who, despite a masters' degree from LSE was interning with an NGO here as there are no jobs out there, even for LSE masters graduates, and dossed with us for a few weeks between flatshares. Then there was a French homme from Dubai, out for a month visiting his girlfriend and learning Mandarin here (?). He locked us in the house by accident on his first night, and blew up our inverter at least three times by keeping his blower heater on almost 24/7. My mother, my aunts, my cousin, various friends.

This week a Texan travel writer Jason met a on a trip to Cambodia a year or so ago dropped by, along with his wife and three-year-old. They're en route to a tiny village of 20,000, high in the Himalayas where his wife is studying the indigenous and highly endangered local language.

Just how does a three year old cope in a developing country? Remarkably well, as it turns out. Apart from a hankering for peanut butter (easily available), a week into her first trip to India and she was fine. She was more than fine, she was happy and excitable and polite and friendly and just a little clingy.

Hear that, all my friends and relatives who invoke the children excuse to get out of visiting me.

We went to the Lodi Gardens and even though she got excited at the sight of a watering hose pumping out (sewerage) water onto the grass and went and had a play, her parents didn't freak out, just said, "oh look at that bird!" and rinsed her hands with bottled water. Very impressively chilled.

It is a hard time to visit, given the weather. What else is there to do in Delhi in summer with kids in tow? The Select Citywalk mall is worth precisely one visit, even less if you're on a travel writer's salary.

I had a quick surf around the web and these all seem to be popular options:

1. Toilet museum: Open 10-5, Monday - Saturday. Traces the evolution of toileting.

2. Rail museum: 11 acres of railway fun.

3. Lodi Gardens (early in the morning or late afternoon)

4. Garden of Five Senses (ditto for times)

5. Dancing fountains; the sound and light show at the historic Purana Qila

6. India Gate in the evening: full of vendors, jugglers, people. Like the park in front of the Champs Elysees but less infected with cynicism.


Corinne (aka Rinny of Arabia) said...

Wow, the toilet museum sounds great!

I've been working up the courage to take my two to visit family in Vietnam. Not cause I'm worried about the third world thing (I spent my preschool years living in an impoverished nation), but the flight has me quivering in my boots. So I'll be heading to Asia long before Europe!

Anonymous said...

The science museum is another great option (although if you take little ones, stay away from the dinosaur portion!)

Poppy Gets a Life said...

I've never been to India before, but it's on my list of places to visit! And I'm glad to know that if I visited with children there would be a suitable list of places to take them!

Poppy xox

Anonymous said...

When my sister descended with her 4 little ones, we had an excellent day out at Adventure Island at Rohini - even my slightly bigger ones loved it.