When not practising, almost every foreign athlete staying at the Commonwealth Games Village here is like any other tourist visiting India they have heard about and are itching to see the Taj Mahal, bazaars in Delhi, pick up souvenirs and sample the street life of the country.Visiting the Taj, of course, tops the wish list of a majority of the athletes with some making plans to venture into Rajasthan’s cities and others looking forward to visit local monuments and temples in and around the national capital.”I was hoping to go see the markets of Delhi. Also, the Taj Mahal is a must visit for me,” says Neoline of the Cook Islands netball team.”We have received maximum requests to see the Taj Mahal in Agra. If we have had 100 enquires, 90 are for the Taj Mahal”, says an official manning the Games Travel Office.”Others have also expressed interest in visiting palaces and lakes in Jaipur and some are inquiring about the Akshardham Temple in Delhi,” he added.Food is another major attraction at the village with its 2,300 seat dining area serving 150 dishes including Asian, African, Indian and Western cuisine. Large refrigerators stored with water, juice, soft drinks and coffee machines make moving around the sprawling 63.5 hectares village a convenience for visitors and residents.English shooter Michele Smith, who participated in the world shooting championships in Munich this August and who landed in Delhi on Thursday, dismisses all the negative reports about the Village.”This is the first time I am staying in a Village like this. In Munich this August, we were all staying at different hotels. This is a different experience for us,” she says, adding she wants to savour the cuisines on offer and also shop for her two young nephews.advertisement”Perhaps a T shirt with the emblem of the mascot will make my nephews happy,” she says.Meanwhile, at the shop set up by the Handicraft and Handlooms Exports Corporation of India Ltd. puppets and string dolls set amidst a variety of goods created by national artisans from all over India are on display.”We have more than 50 items in our store and have already sold goods worth Rs 10,000 in the past three days and are expecting more sales in the coming days,” says an official of the HHEC.Among the most in demanded are traditional stick on tattoos and bangles. “We have received so much demand for bangles that we have sent word for the items to be brought in.Many young women athletes from countries like Australia, New Zealand, Cook Islands, West Indies and Scotland seem to like the bangles, necklaces and other beaded jewellery. “We have requests from men asking for recommendations for gift items for their wives, sisters or girlfriends,” says the official.Others like Cath Shearer and Joy Binger, medical personnel accompanying the Wales team also look forward to some shopping. “We have so much work to do, we have not been getting the time, but since I am going to be married in November, I hope to take back some Pashmina shawls from here for all my bridesmaids,” says Joy.Athletes from South Africa say they are here for the Games and their aim is to bag as many medals as they can. “We love challenges and are up for anything,” says Girden Vermellion who was spotted at the merchandise store.”People here are nice and the entire atmosphere is quite good with good training facilities but I need to return home soon after. It is a pity that I can’t stay back longer to shop because I have a wife who is working back home in Durban as well as a 22-month-old baby,” he says.