India: First Impressions

It has been a whirlwind series of days, y'all.  Thanksgiving leftovers were still warm in the fridge by the time we started packing our things in Virginia and headed out for the airport on our journey over to India.

Sidenote: I should probably give a quick history on the genesis of this trip.  The project that brought me here initially has gone on hold for "just two minutes."  A return for work seemed less and less likely but that also meant Matt probably wouldn't get to travel here, which was a promise I had made to him back in January.  Then,  there was another promise I made when I returned home in May, which was to come back to India in November for Chinmay's wedding, regardless of work assignments.  Hey, I keep my promises, so here we are!  Being a full-on tourist and the queen of logistics has been a totally new experience and I'll share some lessons learned as we go, in case any of you out there find yourselves visiting India.  Now, back to our tale.

Mercifully, the flight over was on time and probably as painless as it could be when you're camping in 4.5 square feet of real estate for 15 hours.  We touched down in Delhi around 9 pm on Saturday evening and within minutes of taxiing, eau de India permeated the cabin.  Talk about smoke gets in your eyes.  Blog veterans know we've discussed Delhi's atmosphere but time and distance got the better of me; the smoke this go-around seems worse than I recall.

Though I had warned Matt that we were spending our first night in a rather polluted city, I don't think he quite grasped what I was saying until we exited the airport and he looked around, only to remark, "That's the air?"  Roughly translated, he thought the short distance he could see was some part of the airport building itself but no, it was the wall of Delhi smog.

We hopped in a taxi and soon were riding along the traffic lanes, not between them, of course.  Matt's next comment, "Um, okay..." as he reached for the handle on the roof of the car, the one that typically holds your dry cleaning and not your white-knuckled man hands.  Then he continues, "This is like Pac-Man!" as our taxi swallowed up dashes on the lane markings.

Our hotel was located in New Delhi proper in a section called Connaught Circus.  Very British sounding and, when shrouded in the dark of night and dust, it kind of looked like London.  But not for long. Insert Matt observation #3: "If this is what New Delhi looks like, what is even left of  old Delhi?"  Touche.

This was a question I could not answer.  To be fair, I haven't given Delhi, new or old, much of a chance.  But first impressions are a tough thing to abandon and Delhi hasn't wooed me, once, twice, or now thrice.  We had just a few days before the wedding and that meant one of our city visits in The Golden Triangle had to be short so I nominated Delhi to take one for the team.  Matt didn't feel slighted as we pulled away from our hotel the next morning at 6 am.  The sun was just coming up but it illuminated enough for both of us to say, "On to Agra!"

1 comment:

Meigan said...

While in Jaipur, try to have a meal at the Taj Rambaugh Palace in their Srvarna Mahal restaurant. It was phenomenal and the setting is gorgeous.



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