Hi all. Arrived in India on the 12th evening in one piece.. Came through from JFK (NY) –> Paris —> New Delhi via Air France.. Service is good on this airline, but the flight personnel absolutely have the French Attitude.
After arrival, plan stayed on tarmac for over an hour, as there was no gates open. Apparently, this is a common problem at Indira Gandhi International Airport. Too many arriving flights chasing not enough gates. I guess that ‘s the price you pay for being a popular tourist destination.
My Mantra for the next few days is “This is India”. You’ll soon see why this is so later…
At the airport, went through custom/immigration with now problems. normal delays the manual stamping of the passport and verification process in immigration took me over 1 hour as a foreign national. Of course the Indian national line was tiny and over manned.
Fortunately, I had slept for 3 or 4 hours on my journey so, I was somewhat alert as I went to grab my bags and get a Taxi to go to my hotel..
First instance of “This is India”:
- Went to get a prepaid taxi and the taxi cost about Rs 350. Gave a 500 Rs note and the clerk said “No change”. One of the things you see quickly in India is that No One wants to part with change. It’s like someone is hoarding all the change (small bills and change). So, I told the guy that listen.. just give me my change.. He gives me a uninterested look and throws the my change in my direction. Again all together now: “This is India”.
My taxi driver doesn’t know how to get to my hotel.. He actually has to call someone to get directions. I guess this is universal.. where the taxi driver doesn’t know directions to a local hotel.. I get to the hotel and I’m pleasantly surprised to see the Jusako Inn, New Delhi is really a nice hotel. Maybe that’s because we are paying $200/nite for a suite to accomodate all of us.. 🙂
Slept a couple of hours as my body is telling me its mid-afternoon and my eyes are telling me it’s past midnight and need to get some sleep. Next day, I woke up and was starving.. looking for dinner (NY time).
Went out today for some Tourism and we had a blast.. had a few more instances of “this is India”. I gotta tell you I was so wrong about New Delhi.. Even with all the traffic, smog, pollution, crowds, the capital is a must stop on any visit to India..
We rented a car today and went to see the Lotus Temple, Akshardhan site, and India Gate.. Doing these three sites in one day is easily doing at least of 5 miles of walking. Too much too soon when you are suffering from delayed Jet Lag..
I tell you something.. the architecture and the Akhsardhan site is something you will remember for a long long time.. I takes a lot to impress me, but I was in absolute awe of this religious site of Swaminarayan. You must stay at night time to see the musical fountains and the boat ride is a must..
I loved India Gate! Even if they turn off the lights at 10PM, the scene is so much fun with the tourists and natives really enjoying themselves. Street vendors hawking their wares and of course food.
If you want some really good food in the capital.. you must stop at Haldiram’s in Rajpath Nagar (on Ring Road). Amazing food… be prepared to wait….
Miscellenous Rants and Raves:
- One thing that I learned (again) today, there is no such thing a personal space.. If you are on line (queue) for tickets.. the person behind will be all over you to get ahead of you.. “This is India”…. .
- How many family members do you need to stay on line to get tickets.. Answer is all of them..
- Rupee is just paper… The value of the rupee is very less than the paper it’s printed on.. God forbid you tear any part of the currency.. Good luck trying to pawn it off on someone else..
- Damn 1, 2, 5, 10 rupee coins.. When you get back change.. guaranteed that your pockets will start flowing over with these damn coins..
Thus far nobody has fallen ill. I know with the way I have eaten over the past 24 hours.. I have a destiny with the doctors.. need to slow down…
Spent good money today on pampering myself (massage, facial, hair cut, the works).. You gotta love it..
today (Sunday)… Shopping… ugh!
Agra is cancelled.. Kids are more interested in spending time with their cousins.. I guess missing the Taj is ok… they have their whole lifetime…
TTYL for now friends.. as I head out into the heat of New Delhi for some shopping!