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Culinary Travels in India: Delhi’s Imperial Hotel

 Arriving in Delhi for the first time is no small thing. India smacked me in the face. It’s everything at once. Chaos, a mixture of classes and faces with eyes eep as the ocean. In my younger years, I always thought I would end up in India as a backpacker, but au contraire. Instead, I was ushered by private attendant to private driver to one of India’s most elegant hotels: the Imperial.

My room was stately. I had my own personal butler, to my surprise. I thought it was invisible maid service, until I realized each room was assigned a private attendant. He hung my clothes, turned down the bed and generally looked after the room with care. I gave him what I thought was a generous tip, which delighted him, and me, until I noticed afterwards that I had given him the equivalent of a small fortune.

He seemed overly grateful for us “rich” Americans. If he only knew that some of us are just slow on the exchange after a fresh arrival. I quickly consoled myself in the courtyard with a Mango Mimosa. Yes the Indians drink Champagne.

I spent the next day foraging through the spice markets of old Delhi by rickshaw. An unbelievable array of colorful choices way beyond my normal repertoire, even after all these years of traveling to Morocco.

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