Posts Tagged ‘Guided Tour’
Here is a recent article on a heritage walk down Chawri Bazaar and Chandni Chowk. The walk focuses on the old havelis – palatial homes of the rich from hundreds of years ago. Contact information of the guide is provided in the article.
Chandni Chowk is steeped in history and chaos. For visitors to Delhi, Chandni Chowk metro station has been the port of easy access to Red Fort and the spice market. Here, once you step out of the cool and modern station, you drown in human activities. From beggars to 200 year old sweet shops to an assortment of temples – Hindu, Jain, Gurudwara and mosque, to modern day internet coffee shops, it is all here. And behind the shops, crowds and the tangles of overhead wires are these havelis. Some look like a collection of loosely arranged bricks – one push and they all come tumbling down….
Yes, the famous parrots. Not as many bees as there are flowers. And, last but not the least – the stairs – lots of them.
Telegraph Hill is where Coit Tower sits. You can’t miss Coit Tower if you are in San Francisco. You can see it from far and wide, standing out like a light house which it is not. Long time back, and for San Francisco, 150 years is a long time ago, Telegraph Hill used to be a bald hill. Because of the line of visibility, the location was used as a semaphore line. The role of the obervatory was to note the type of shipping vessel crossing Golden Gate Strait and let the town folk know. Even now, in spite of the dense foliage on the hill, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge.
At first glance, San Francisco’s Chinatown appears to be a collection of trinket shops. Only during the Chinese New Year celebration does this place truly come alive and then one has to be prepared to brave the cold winter rains which often afflicts the celebration, and huge crowds.
Last weekend, I needed to get out of exurbia again. And I really needed to do something different, something other than hiking or shopping. After searching high and low for some days, I found a tour of Mission Dolores, arranged by the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society. The walk was named “Father Serra, Graves and Vigilantes” and promised to lead us through the Mission, the oldest standing building in San Francisco city, the 20th century parish church next door with its beautiful stained glass windows and the cemetery in the back, the only remaining cemetery in the city with graves of Indians, Spanish, Mexicans, victims of Vigilantes and Gold Rush immigrants.
I am not your typical guided tour enthusiast. It conjures up memory of a bus load of people on a tour where they don’t even step down from the bus. Besides, the memory of my Bangkok tour guide was still raw.
My travel agent had found me a ticket from San Francisco to Kolkata that was $200 cheaper. Downside being a 12 hour layover at Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok’s brand new multi-billion dollar airport. I had done similar stretches at Singapore’s Changi and I was none the worse for wear. Besides, I had never been to Bangkok before, and it sounded like an adventure. Worst case scenario would be a nap at the transit hotel.
Upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi, I realized the problem. Too few toilets. No lounge chairs, no showers, no workout facilities. Maybe I could have taken a nap in one of the many prayer rooms. Cost of the dingy little solitary transit hotel, in a remote part of the airport, was outrageous. I had already been traveling and sleepless for 18 hours, and yet my mind rebelled against spending time and money at that hotel. So, there I was, with 12 hours to spare, at an unfriendly airport. Getting out was the only sensible option.
The information kiosk staff were polite, friendly and not informed at all.