I don't think I use the word shimmy enough.... Let's change that.
We went off to the Purana Kila (the "old fort") in Delhi, and somewhere in the vicinity, the driver dropped us off, right in the middle of a busy road. I don't know why we didn't fight him on the crazy drop-off point, but we ran through traffic towards a fence around the Kila, then wandered around for a while. Seeing no obvious entrance, we asked a soda-n-chips-sales-wala dude how to get in, and he pointed us in the direction of an opening in the fence. Thinking this was how it was done in India, we went in and up to an old abandoned door.
There was no getting in that large locked door without committing some sort of crime, so we wandered up the path, but our isolation and a quickly deteriorating sidewalk told us something wasn't right.
After about 20 minutes of herding the kids down the path, we were excited to see a main entrance! Unfortunately we were trapped behind a large spiky fence. A crowd of people gathered on the other side in amusement to see the foreigners in a crazy situation. One guy spoke to us to offer help, and was crestfallen to hear N respond in Hindi, because that meant that Indians do some very foolish things.
We handed the kids off to the complete strangers. I then somehow clawed over the fence. N tried for a second, then muttered something about impalement, and announced she wouldn't go. Then we just stood around for a while in some sort of silent standoff, until one of the onlookers wandered up the fence and came running back with the information that the fence was shorter up ahead.
This is when N started to shimmy up the fence. And the whole crowd shimmied along with her.
Shimmy shimmy shimmy shimmy....
Everyone celebrated, and this man had his picture taken with S.
You would have thought that all that shimmying would have gotten us into the place for free, but, alas, we had shimmied ourselves outside, right to the ticket booth.
In 1989, on our visit to India, my aunt announced that we needed meat and brought us to the meat market....
The meat market was a smelly, tiny, hot room with walls made of deteriorating, painted concrete. Large carcasses of various animals were hung everywhere. Flies covered the carcasses. When someone asked for a chunk of meat, the butcher took out a rusty axe and hacked at the carcasses.
Although this particular occasion sticks in my mind, such was the state of shopping in socialist India. And it still is, in many places, but you aren't limited to such quaint establishments at all, anymore. Asia, in general has become a hotbed of modern mall shopping, and although India seems to still lag China a bit on the mall front, it certainly has some nice places. Here are some photos of the Citywalk mall in Delhi. (Although this is way fancier than anything I remember in India, note that there are still beggars outside, security guards at the entrance, and probably a fly covered meat market or two down the block).
Mmmm, spicy coffeeshop paneer.... We don't have that back home.