This is the Parliament building. We were hoping it was open to the public like the U.S. Capitol or England's Parliament, but nothing doing. We did go through a security gate to a visitor reception center, which was just a glorified snack bar. There were some official looking desks on one side, and we asked about being able to go inside the Parliament building--no deal. Security is very tight here, or maybe it's just that they're not used to having tourists even want to see their government buildings. I was glad for the chance to rest for a little bit, especially since the reception center had a bit of air conditioning. I was getting hotter and hotter as the afternoon wore on.
After not seeing Parliament, we caught a rickshaw and asked to be taken to the National Museum. Uh-oh, it's closed on Mondays, too! With nothing else on our plan of things to do, we just headed back to Connaught Place, the shopping area near our hotel. It was only about 2:30, so we wanted to get some lunch and maybe spend the last of our rupees on some final souvenirs. We managed to find a McDonald's--that was the best strawberry shake I've had in ages, probably because I was so hot and tired. Then we just walked around for what seemed like forever. There was no way I could do that until 8 p.m., so we just gave up and went to the hotel, arriving there at about 4:00.
So what do you do while waiting in a hotel lobby for four hours? I sat and cooled off while Reid worked on his computer (he was lucky enough to find an electrical outlet near one of the couches) and then I did a little reading until he was done. Then we put in a DVD (a two-hour episode of Star Trek: Voyager). We had to share one set of ear buds in order to listen to it, so we must have looked pretty funny sitting there staring at a computer, each of us with a wire dangling from one ear. After the movie, we retrieved some clean clothes from our suitcases and were able to freshen up in the lobby restrooms. By 7:00, we were getting antsy and just asked if the car could take us to the airport early. They looked at us funny, but said it would be okay.
We arrived at the airport by about 8:15 and discovered that you can't even go inside the front doors until approximately three hours before your flight time. So we were technically an hour early and had to wait outside. Maybe that's why the hotel staff looked at us funny when we wanted to leave earlier than planned!
As my farewell to India, may I just say how much I enjoyed experiencing this country and its culture and people. It has helped me appreciate all I have; I am truly blessed. I will probably never be able to come back here, so I'm glad for the chance I had to make this trip. So goodbye, Delhi, and Happy Diwali to everyone!