November 8, 1961 – India

Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi, India – Clear

     I woke up this morning with a headache and felt like I was fighting off a cold or sore throat.  I took some aspirin before we left our room to get some breakfast.  Our meal was good and by the time I had finished eating I felt like the aspirin had helped so I was ready to start our morning of seeing the sights.

     As I climbed aboard the bus I noticed that it appeared to be pretty old and really beat up.  I only hoped that it didn’t fall apart on the trip today and that the ride didn’t turn out to be a rough one.  By the time we got off of it at our first stop, Kutub Minar I knew it wasn’t going to be a fun traveling day.  The five story minaret was both tall and colorful.  Mahendra told us that it had been built in 1200AD and was a perfect example of Indo-Islamic Architecture. 

Tilting Minaret Kutub Minar Built in 200AD

     Our next stop was Humayun’s Tomb.  When I got off the bus and first saw the beautiful Moghul monument I thought I had misunderstood where we were going because it looked just like the Taj Mahal.  When Mahendra gave us the background for it he said the tomb had been commissioned in 1565 by the wife of the second Moghul Emperor.  He added that it had also been used as a model for when the Taj Mahal was built which explained to me why I thought it had looked so much like it.  It was such an amazing structure and I was glad I had seen it.

     The final stops on our morning tour included the President’s Palace and the American Embassy.  Both were equally impressive buildings and I couldn’t decide which one I liked the best.  The palace was so large and opulent that I felt very small walking around inside it. 

     The embassy turned out to be very spacious.  In front there was a huge fountain with walkways around it to enter the building.  Once we entered the building we were escorted through it till we reached its center where there was a long pond with small trees growing and other greenery surrounding it.  I enjoyed seeing the swimming ducks on it and I thought they added to the colorfulness of it.  Mahendra told us that the architect, Edward Stone, was from America.  I thought that his creation stood up very well when compared to the other structures we’d seen today.

US Embassy in New Delhi Built by Mr Edward Stone

Interior of US Embassy

View of Street Leading to Palace in New Delhi

Another Street Scene in New Delhi with Snake Charmer

     We returned to our hotel where we were to have lunch before moving on for our afternoon tour. Once we had been seated and ordered Curt came around and passed out our mail.  I was pleased that I had gotten two letters – one from my brother Ed and another one from Ramona. 

     I enjoyed lunch very much but while I ate I started to droop and I decided that I would skip the afternoon tour so when the group left the hotel I returned to my room.  I still felt like I was coming down with a cold so I didn’t want to push myself too much and I decided to use my afternoon to rest and catch up on my correspondence.  I wrote letters to both my brothers and their wives then sent cards to several friends.  When I thought I was all done writing I remembered I hadn’t finished the letter I had worked on over the last few days to Ramona so I pulled it out to try and finish it:

     Later, Nov 8, 1961.  Received letter #12 written by you on Nov 1 from you today.  Don’t understand you not getting my mail.  I write often but some of these places I doubt if they go out.  Then today I mailed a letter I’ve been carrying around for 5 days.   I couldn’t get it mailed – holidays, etc. 

     Tell David he’d better get on the ball and study hard.  Glad they had such a nice Halloween. 

     How is Pearl and Rose?  I sent two packages up there you will have to collect. 

     These places I’ve been, sometimes we eat sometimes we don’t.  My weight goes up and down like a yo yo.  More later.

     I had to put down my pen and gave up trying to finish it because I started to get drowsy.  I thought I would sleep for a little while and then finish it later.   However, I didn’t wake up till I heard Edith come in from touring and she was full of details about what they had seen.  She told me they went to Red Fort which had originally served as capital of the Mughals until 1857 when it became a British camp after they took control of India.  She told me they also saw the Royal Bath Houses and the Pearl Mosque with its gardens.  Edith also mentioned they had visited the Jama Mosque that was built of red sandstone and white marble and housed the relics of the Prophet Mohammed.  Their final stops had been the Biria House, a museum dedicated to Mahatma Ghandi and the site of Mahatma Ghandi’s cremation, Raj Ghat.  Some of the places sounded like I would have enjoyed them but as tired and sick as I had started to feel I didn’t think I could have appreciated the experience fully.

     When it was time to get ready for dinner I felt so bad I had to take some more aspirin along with some cough syrup Curt had given me to control my symptoms.  The medicine helped but made me feel sluggish and sleepy during dinner so I wasn’t able to finish all my food.  I was so sleepy half way through the meal I said good night to everyone and returned to my room to go to bed for the night.  As I drifted off I hoped that I would feel better in the morning.

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