Golden Triangle: Delhi, Agra & Jaipur -Part I

Important tip: Delhi traffic is extremely complicated and with very different rules from conventional. We discourage anyone from driving in India. we had a driver for the entire duration of the tour and to travel between the cities. To learn more about the company we bought the package read this post here: Planning a Trip to India

Read this blog in Portuguese

On this post:

  • What to do in Delhi, cost of attractions, rules, and history of the sites
  • Accommodation
  • Old Delhi
  • Jama Masjid
  • Red Fort
  • Old Spice Market
  • Lotus Temple

Day 1 and 2:

Delhi

We landed in Delhi late at night and to our misfortune our suitcase had been misplaced – the suitcase was lost for 4 days and we were completely unprepared for it. We were tired and worried if the travel agency we had booked online really exists (hahaha – nervous laughs) and luckily our driver was waiting for us in the hotel lobby. Phew!

Shortly after we left the airport we went to the Royal Plaza Hotel for two nights. The hotel is beautiful, the entrance is magnificent with paintings on the high ceiling. The outdoor area is also very beautiful. Breakfast is included in the accommodation, but we always look out for raw food – Raw food itself is not the problem, but the fact that water was used to wash these foods – Read more about the details you need to be aware of here: Planning a Trip to India. My husband got sick after the third day of travel, but I’ll talk about it later … Still about the hotel, the accommodation was great, but the internet was paid and still very bad and limited to some areas of the hotel.

Our room was on the fifth floor so the sound of the city, which is quite loud, did not disturb our sleep. We suggest you always stay in high rooms when possible.

Old Delhi

One of the places I liked most about Delhi. 🙂

Located in the old town area the old market is an area full of narrow streets, bustling with cars, motorcycles, tuk-tuk, people and monkeys (rs). It is practically impossible to walk around without taking several honks and feeling like you are the chicken of the Atari Freeway game.

The variety of things that can be found in the market is immense, and the streets are endless interconnected mazes. Being with a guide is extremely important and made us feel safe throughout the tour.

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The first of many monkeys we saw in India. This at least was free, we saw some makeup and working. Very sad 😦 It was possible to see the unhappiness on their faces
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Religious offerings. Flowers can be purchased in front of temples.

Jama Masjid

Masjid-i Jahan-Numa, popularly known as Jama Masjid, is Delhi’s main mosque and was built by the Mongol emperor Shah Jahan, the same emperor who built the Taj Mahal in Agra – he built much of the country’s tourist buildings.

The construction of the Mosque was completed in 1656 and the complex has three gates leading into a large central courtyard and entrance to the mosque. Everything in India has its reason and why. Everything is full of mystical meanings and would be no different with the Mosque: The widest east gate was used as a royal entrance and is closed during the week. The west side gate faces the holy city of Mecca. In the inner courtyard is a water well where people wash, play, and apparently also drink water, which I believe to be something like a holy well.

The mosque was the target of two terrorist attacks in 2006 and 2010.

Important to know:

  • You have to pay a fee of 200 rupees (12 reais – 2.55 euros) to take pictures inside the mosque.
  • Women must wear a cover that is delivered free of charge at the entrance to the mosque.
Delhi - Jama Masjid (15)
One of the three gates of the Mosque – Right Gate
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The mosque, its domes, towers and courtyard
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Water well in front of the mosque
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The well is used by all for the most appropriate purposes. In the previous photo, the man washes his feet, in this photo, the child washes his face and drinks water
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Roof details of one of the central gates of the mosque. The gate that was the royal entrance
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Paid attraction – You can get up in the mosque tower
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Inside the Mosque

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Red fort

Attraction value 500 rupees (28 reais – 6.50 euros)

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Red Fort seen from Jama Masjid

The Red Fort is a set of fortifications in India’s capital, Delhi. It was built in the 17th century when the capital of India was moved from Agra to Delhi. The place was once the Emperor’s residence and is currently used for ceremonies and political center.

The building was made up of 14 gates and built with red stone, very common in Indian constructions, and white marble. Much of the building was destroyed by the British in the 1857 revolt.

The Old Spice Market

Another fascinating place is the ancient spice market in ancient Delhi. The place is full of color, full of people, the smell of spices is in the air – which makes breathing a little difficult, I coughed a lot when I was there. It would not be a bad idea to wear a mask to cover your mouth and nose. The building is quite old and a little poorly maintained, which I think gives the place a special charm.

Our guide took us to the top of the building on a side stairway almost at the entrance of the spice market, a little difficult to find if you don’t know the place. But the view from the top is even richer in colors and unusual situations. There are always so many things happening at the same time in India that sometimes it’s hard to know where to look. Something that caught our attention was some men bathing on the top of the building with a mug.

Delhi - Old Market (34)
One of several seasoning shops

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Delhi - Old Market abc

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Bird trainers – they made the birds fly together for a particular route. Beautiful!

Raj ghat

Rajghat is the memorial where the ashes of Gandhi rests. Gandhi was a decisive character in India’s independence from England.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the son of a village prime minister, that is, despite what his trajectory may lead us to deduce, Gandhi was from a wealthy family. He married young in an arranged marriage – custom in India.

He studied law in England, something only possible for people with good financial and social conditions. His fight began at the time of college when he had to break his caste rules to study abroad. After graduation, he then went to South Africa, where he met the struggles for racial discrimination and moved by a sense of justice and moved back to India.

There he began to gain followers of his nonviolence ideology. English domination has always been marked by violence and high taxes to keep the luxury lifestyle of the British and English wars. Gandhi used other methods, instead of encouraging fights and wars, began to work on raising awareness of the population. His ‘fight’ was a peaceful one but nonetheless way. It was through civil disobedience, which encouraged Indians not to pay the high taxes imposed by England and with the organization of general strikes that Gandhi made history in India and In the world.

Gandhi was arrested, discriminated, went on hunger strike and above all fought for a fairer India, with no division of creeds and caste or racial discrimination imposed by England. Discrimination and division that still noticeably have not yet ended in India, but has certainly made enormous progress in the Gandhi era.

Lotus temple

Free entrance

The Lotus Temple is so named because of its lotus flower shape, but the real name of the time is Bahá’u House of Worship and was built in 1986.

Delhi - Lotus temple (8)

That was our trip in Delhi.

See you in our next post about India.

Taiwan for vegetarians

Para ler este post em Português clique aqui

Being a vegetarian is not easy in many places, it became a challenge when you are in a place where you don’t understand the language. However, I like to think of it as part of the adventure that is to know new cultures, get out of the comfort zone and pass some fun moments.

In the first few days there, as at other times, I was lucky enough to have a local person accompanying me to the right places. One of them was vegan (Thanks, Ida), which helped a lot. She always ordered my food and sometimes I did not even know what I was eating. haha

Being open to new experiences such as these enrich not only our culture but also introduce us new flavors and options of food. Many friends have commented that they do not eat different food and I’m sorry for them. So let’s go the first cultural difference.

No onion, garlic, ginger and other vegetables for vegetarians! WHAT?

The first time I heard this was a shock to me. We were at TGIF in Taichung and I made a request, even reading the request a few times before ordering, I have the habit of confirming with the attendant if the option is really vegetarian. The answer was no. Everyone at the table started to read the option again and there was nothing that was not vegetarian there. We asked what was not vegetarian and the response was: GARLIC! I laughed and asked anyway, but everyone did not understand anything!

I was so curious about this episode that I started to research about it. The question is related to the East Asian Buddhist  religion. This religion is against the death of plants. And ingredients like potato, carrot, ginger among others are actually the root. That is, once you remove it from the ground the plant ceases to exist. Interesting, right?

I know that many find that garlic and onion are the ingredients that give flavor to food, and in fact it is. However, there are other flavors and I would say that the food I ate there was very tasty.

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It’s going to be easy….

 

Food options

A good and safe restaurant

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The best thing about going to a vegetarian restaurant is knowing that you can choose anything from the menu without bothering to read ingredient by ingredient. And reading everything can be an impossible task when you do not speak the local language.

Sufood  is a restaurant chain spread all over the island of Taiwan. The ambiance of the restaurant is great, there are several options to choose from. The service is very good and the waiters speak English.

The rice ball (紫米飯糰) – My favorite option

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It was morning and a friend gave me something dark and strange and said, ‘This is your breakfast, eat it while it’s hot. I’m going to a meeting. ‘ When she saw my expression of ‘What is it for the love of God?’  she stopped and opened the same food she had and said, ‘It’s rice and stuffed’. I honestly had never seen anything like it before and it had a weird texture.

Luckily I ate the rice ball. One of the best things I’ve eaten in Asia – and I’m considering a few other countries and not just Taiwan. The ball is made of black rice, which I already love, and stuffed with black pepper, mushroom powder, soybeans, peanuts, egg and many other things. The taste is INCREDIBLE. I really wish I had a store where I could buy it near my house!

Egg soup

Not only good surprises are made a trip! A big no for that egg soup. Guys, come on,  EGG soup *? Seriously? The food arrived and no one told me what it was made of, so I start eating it.  I hated it! After that, I was in one of those moments of life where you need to decide between doing something you don’t want do to be polite OR say you hated -politely, something like ‘It is not suitable for my taste’ – and refuse something someone gave to you.

I started with the first option, eating to be polite, but I could not get very far. So, I asked what was it and they said: Egg soup. That was it! and I gave up.

I don’t even know how to describe it, it was like water and egg. Take your chances and tried it if you dare, you might enjoy it, you never know if you don’t try!

Treats

Every morning, I had something a new food to try. My friend always arrived at the office with a bag full of treats.

I remember breaking instant noodles and adding the flavor to eat it raw when I was a child/teenager. It tastes great, but, obviously, it’s terrible to your stomach. I also remember my mom getting crazy about this. Well, this is not a problem in Taiwan once you can find it in small packs on sale at the supermarket.

Another good surprise of the trip was the spicy seaweed. It comes in individual packs, very crispy and very tasty. According to my friend this food is full of vitamin B12, something not easily found on vegetarian food.

 

Engagement cake – Xibing, 喜餅

 

 

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After learning that I got engaged, my friend gave mean engagement cake. The round cake stuffed with sweet made of  bean is a tradition in Taiwan and China and is given to the bride by friends and family.

The gift message is in the gift package and the symbol printed on the cake. In the case of my cake, as you can see in the photograph, it is the symbol of happiness. It is also accompanied by a couple. So cute!

All tea combination possible

The Taiwanese love iced tea and they have a huge variety of drink. For someone who lives in the place that tea is only black tea, hot and with milk was interesting to choose from so much interesting combination.

Tea with Yakult – Honestly it was not my order, but as soon as my friend said that her tea was with yakult I must have made a beggar’s face because she exchanged with me straight away!  500ml of yakult it was heaven!

Tea with gelatin balls – The vast majority of teas have some balls inside and are very refreshing.

Tea with Pudding – I ordered this tea because honestly, tea pudding ?! How can we not prove something so unusual? I thought it would be a pudding blended in the tea. My mistake, it was an entire pudding inside the tea. Sometimes the straw would clog because it had a whole piece of pudding coming. Imagine the strength you had to do when it happened  😂 Tastes great tho

While in Taiwan do as the Taiwanese do

My trip ‘philosophy’ is to live as close to local customs as possible. We used to have lunch at the restaurant every day, and I noticed that the other employees of the company ate some boxes at the office. So I asked to eat the same food.

It was the first time I visited the factory canteen and saw how have lunch daily. The place is great, the food was very good, so much so that I ate for two days. After eating they take a nap and a siren announces when lunch time is over.

Other random options

Some random foods that I have tried in restaurants and in the hotel.

Something I really liked and deserves your attention is the Naisu souce. The texture is similar to butter, but in fact, it is coconut paste. The other ones are noodles, omelet with tomato sauce, pickled bamboo

 

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Oh well,  not sure about you but I get very happy when I found something from my birth country (Brazil) in a place as far as Taiwan.

It’s is vegetarian right? hahaha So here it goes.

*Chachaça is a Brazilan alcohol drink used to make drinks as caipirinha. YUMMY!

 

 

See ya 🙂

*I’m vegetarian and not vegan!

Two days in Taipei – Taiwan

Esse post em Português

This was my third visit to Taiwan but the first time I spent some time free in Taipei.  Taipei, the capital of Taiwan,  is a place with incredible architecture, a very different and interesting culture and a lot of things to do.

In this post:

  • Visa – How to apply.
  • Temperature.
  • Where to stay
  • Travelling around (public transport)
  • Safety
  • Temples – Confucius and Longshan
  • Shilin Night Market
  • Taipei 101 & Damper

Continue reading “Two days in Taipei – Taiwan”