One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things - Henry Miller

Saturday, June 12, 2010

India Part 1

India...What a country! Nothing surprised me but to see it in the flesh was amazing...I’m still excited by the three days...We had an hour bus drive from the ship to Cochin airport and quickly saw what 1.1billion people in a country means. It is not the distance to the airport that took the time but the sheer numbers of people and the traffic involved in having these people start their day. We shared the road with cars, brightly decorated trucks, bicycles, buses and commuters...In some countries you drive on the left of the road, in others on the right but in India you drive anywhere. The only road rule to follow seems to be the MIBTY rule (mine is bigger than yours) and you depend on good brakes, a good horn and good luck!!!
We left Cochin 2.5 hours late because Mumbia airport was too busy for our 10:30am flight to land. Given the number of people that live there Mumbai from the air is relatively small but as we taxied out to the run way - a 20 minute journey- we got our first real look at slum housing before rising up over the city and away to Delhi.
Although we didn’t arrive in Delhi until 17:40, we still undertook our New Delhi bus tour... saw a huge Mosque with the Indians coming for evening prayer at sunset...Passed the amazing monuments the British built for themselves during their 150 years in India...pondered over the preparations for the Commonwealth Games in October...can they possibly be ready in time??? drove past the India Gate in New Delhi to see the crowds of people who come out to picnic and/or bed down for the night on the grassed area that surrounds it before finally passing the security check into The Taj Hotel at 8:00pm...What a surprise!!! The luxury was unbelievable. Dinner was ready down there!!! When we looked at the two storey, broad, sweeping ,marble staircase that took us to the dining room, we felt so inappropriately dressed in our travel clothes that had been on our backs for the past 14 hours, we dashed up to our seventh story room to change only to be taken aback further by the pillow menu, bedside slippers, bathrobes, orchid and dream wish on our pillow...It was then we realized how tough this shore excursion was really going to be ...but wait. There is more!!! After dinner we climbed into bed and you have never slept on such a heavenly bed...Our only regret was that by now it was 10:00pm and we were getting a 4:20am wakeup call in the morning!
That’s when my camera battery ran out and all spare batteries, gels, knives, cell phones etc were safely locked away in our luggage and on their way ahead of us by bus to Agra. photos of the amazing scenes at the Delhi railway station nor of the c=scenes from our railway carriage window. To Hobo 1’s disappointment we never got to ride first class, in the air conditioned “comfort” of the roof top. We were in very civilised surroundings being served tea as we travelled the 2.5 hrs to Agra.
Breakfast was at the JayPee Hotel...another equally amazing hotel..before our tour of the Agra Fort...built originally in red sandstone as an octagonal fort and prayer centre overlooking the sacred Yamuna River by Akbar... Shahjahan had it “converted” to a summer palace built of white marble, inlaid with precious stones and coloured glass to have it shine and produce more light...from here we caught our first glimpse of the Taj Mahal...both structures are truely amazing and extremely beautiful.
We returned to the Jaypee to shower, change, lunch and rest before moving on to the Taj Mahal. We were able to roam freely throughout the site from 3:00pm till sunset at 5:30 pm. It is school holiday time and tourists from southern India were out in force touring as well. What a riot of colour and dress we enjoyed as we toured. We were photographing the Indians and they were photographing us! It was such a fun afternoon...The Raj, his wife and his daughter lie buried inside this magnificent tomb on its huge marble platform.

On the return journey home I resisted the temptation to buy the most glorious silk persian rug valued at only $10 000 shown to us at an artisans' display was just the most beautiful rug but Hobo 1 couldn't see it fitting into our home. I suggested we should buy a home to fit the rug...but he wouldn't even agree to that!
Back at the JayPee we were entertained by a very sensuous dance performance before dinner and bed.

To be calls and the Arabian Sea while calm has a gentle swell that does not lend itself to staying too long transfixed to computer! The captain has just described it as a "honeymoon" day and it certainly is.

P.S. The little squirrels run all over the place. They have four dark stripes down their backs where one of the gods stroked their ancestors.

No comments:

Post a Comment