Off to India!

We’ve headed off on a two-week holiday to India with Glen’s mum. It’s been a bit hectic to organise this trip as, apart from the flights, nothing was booked until about a week and a half before we were due to depart. Still, who doesn’t love a challenge?

Perth to Singapore

We flew Singapore Airlines, taking advantage of our Virgin Velocity membership levels to get into the lounge at Perth International Airport. I’d been moved up to gold level only a few days before so all three of us could go in.

Our flight left at 5:30pm and was less than half full. Seated towards the back of the plane, there were plenty of rows of three seats to choose from. I moved before we took off an enjoyed all this extra space.

Four hours and two movies (The Accountant and something else I can’t remember the name of. That’s worrying, or else it wasn’t memorable.) we landed in Singapore. We walked through Terminal 3, caught the Skytrain to Terminal 1 and then walked some more to get to the transit hotel.

After a plate of Hainan chicken rice, we crawled into bed and slept for five and a half glorious hours before the alarms went off and rudely shook us out of sleep. We showered and then took the journey back to Terminal 3 to catch our flight to New Delhi.

Singapore to New Delhi

The flight was full. It lasted over six hours. I perhaps should have tried to nap, but I didn’t. Instead I watched Swiss Army Man, something else, Modern Family and Veep to fill the time. Oh, and we ate.

Landed in New Delhi, no problems with visas, collected luggage and then went to meet our pre-booked driver. When the three of us showed up, they asked where the other three people were. I’d accidentally booked twice with the hotel so they were expecting two cars of three people.

No bother though. We left the airport, climbed into the very nice BMW and hit the traffic.

New Delhi

I’ve been in crazy traffic before but it always freaks me out. The mix of trucks, taxis, cars, tuk-tuks, bicycles, motorbikes and then people wandering across the freeway had me on high alert the entire drive to the hotel. And I was already tired before.

I reasoned that my expectation of order is highly unnatural, likening this seeming chaos to what happens in a rainforest when there’s a rush to fill wherever the light hits the forest floor. It doesn’t matter who was there first, all that matters is it’s filled. Such is the way with the traffic here. There’s a space; therefore, it must be filled.

It’s also easy to think that road accidents are rare because they’re not happening right in front of you amid such an onslaught. But really, they probably happen a lot and are horrific, especially in a place with so many people.

It’s also very easy to calm yourself down by thinking, ‘If I die, then I die,’ or Inshallah.

We committed a bit of a faux pas when we arrived at the hotel. I’d forgotten how much was usual to tip here and Christine was the only one with cash. She gave him about 20 rupees I think which earned us a bit of a stunned look. Ahhh, you crazy foreigners.

The hotel, though on the ring road and not really close to anything we might want to see, is really nice. We’re staying at the Hyatt Regency New Delhi. We booked suites and they’re lovely. It’s almost too nice to leave. Our rooms are near each other and are identical, except that Christine has the better view.

Tea and coffee arrived at our door soon after arriving. We had that then went downstairs for one of the most expensive dim sums we’ve ever had. It was very tasty though. The taxes that get added on surprised us. Once fed and watered we went back to our rooms and had a nap for a while.

Around the Bend

After our rest, we roused ourselves and decided that, even though we’d decided against doing anything that required too much effort today, we would go for a walk. On the way to the hotel, it didn’t look like there was much to see of typical interest, which was confirmed by the concierge. Nevertheless we wanted to go for a walk – not to a shopping centre – and we were told it was safe to do so. And so we left the hotel.

We turned left and walked. We saw lots of dogs. This was a little concerning considering I hadn’t got my rabies shot and thought before getting here, ‘How many dogs can there actually be?’ Answer: a LOT.

Apart from the dogs, we saw Indian palm squirrels – something I was very excited about considering we used to have them running feral at the zoo in Perth. And then we saw people with carts on the side of the road selling fruit and vegetables, peanuts, pots and pans and cooking implements, meat (completely unrefrigerated) and live chickens ready to have their heads cut off and plunked. The footpaths were swept clean but garbage littered the gardens. The houses looked in various states of decay but were nevertheless still standing and were probably well furnished and beautiful inside. Cars and tuk-tuks and bikes and men and women and children all going about their business. Here we weren’t hassled. A few smiles or looks as we went past but no one trying to offer a service or direct us elsewhere or beg or pickpocket or any of the things that we were warned about in India. At least here, we could just wander.

However, we didn’t wander far. Unsure of where we were exactly and what we could get to within a decent timeframe and radius we stuck to the block the hotel was on and walked around it until we arrived back the other side. It took 40 minutes and all we did was walk in a circle. Yet that was enough. My eyes were tired from staring so much, and there were plenty of times I just wanted to sit and stare and absorb, but I think that would have meant we’d be approached.

There are worse things than being approached, sure, but most of the time I want to be left alone.

Once back at the hotel we sat and recharged for a bit before going to the club lounge. We had our dinner there, filling up on canapés and champagne. We ate chopped up tomatoes – GASP! NO! – and then lots of other bits and pieces. I think we became those people as we made the staff laugh, though I’m not sure for the right reasons.

Suitably satisfied, we went back to our rooms at 7:30 and were in bed by 9.

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