Might one of those peaks be Mount Everest? Your guess is as good as mine. One thing I know for certain, those babies ARE the Himalayas and the view from the left side of the plane, even from my middle seat over the wing, was majestic. But I’m getting ahead of myself. This post is supposed to be about Delhi, so I need to back up a little. Truth is, I just wanted to use the photo.
On my flight to Delhi, my intention was to get to sleep as fast as possible. That quickly changed when I realized my seat mate was quite fascinating. He was starting a speaking speaking tour in several cities throughout Asia about the “soft side” of medical care. If that weren’t interesting enough, his son, Ashok Rajamani, wrote “The Day My Brain Exploded” a memoir about his stroke at age 25 and his come back when he emerged from a coma. The end result? I got so engrossed in our conversation, it became too late to take a sleeping pill, so I landed in Delhi a bit more jet lagged than I’d hoped.
For those of you that view me as being organized, I have a confession to make. I forgot to bring my hotel confirmation with me, so I didn’t have its exact address. I figured that would be no big deal, given that the Pride Plaza Hotel was right at the airport. Wrong. The cab driver had no idea where it was, so he stopped periodically to ask random people for directions. You might suspect it was a ploy to run up the meter, but the fare was prepaid. What’s going through my jet lagged, brain while we are driving aimlessly around, chatting up strangers? I’m thinking it’s a good thing I’m not in The Amazing Race. For sure, I’d be hearing Phil say, “you are team #10, and I’m sorry to tell you, you have just ‘bean’ (yes, that’s how he pronounces it) eliminated.”
When we finally made it to the hotel, I was pleased to discover that it was quite lovely, and I congratulated myself on my decision to arrive in Delhi a day before the start of the OAT tour, to allow myself time to acclimate. I am very aware that a well rested me is a happier me, and an overtired me, well, let’s just say it isn’t pretty.
Delhi is chock full of amazing temples, tombs, museums, bazaars, historical and cultural sites. One could easily spend a day visiting Humayun’s Tomb, the India Gate, the Lotus Temple, the Red Fort –the list goes on.
I did none of that.
One huge benefit of retirement is I finally figured out I don’t have to cram everything into one day. No, I have EARNED the right to be selective and to do fewer things, but to choose the things that put a smile on my face.
So, what did I choose? Well, I toddled over to the Delhi Dance Academy’s Gurgaon location to shake, shake, shake in my best Bollywood fashion with my charming dance instructor, Vishnu. Marcus, Pride Plaza’s very knowledgeable concierge, arranged for a hotel driver to take me to Gurgaon, wait the 2 hours I was there, and bring me back–all for about $25. After the night before’s taxi experience, I figured it was the best, nay, the ONLY way to travel.
Next question– how’d it go? Well, although I had thought I would be joining a class, I discovered that the Delhi Dance Academy had arranged for a private lesson. For about $30, I got a welcome ceremony, refreshments, instruction in three different dances, and lots and lots of laughs. I’m supposed to get a video of my endeavors within the next couple of weeks. I’ll be sure to post it so everyone can share in the fun.
And now some lessons learned, for future OAT travelers taking the Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet trip.
- Prepay for your taxi inside the terminal. It is a whole lot easier if, unlike me, you have the actual address with you.
- i wasn’t the only one with a clueless cabbie. Even WITH the hotel address, one of the other travelers had a similar experience, stopping several times to ask for directions to a hotel that was in the bloody airport area. Don’t panic if it happens to you.
- The ATMS in the terminal are not as user friendly as they are in other countries. At least they weren’t for me. After having difficulty with two different ATMs, I ended up using the currency exchange at the airport. Not the most cost effective choice.
- I probably COULD have paid for the taxi with dollars. The guy at the terminal’s taxi desk told me he would have given me a much better exchange rate. Who knows?
- Our flight to Bhutan was scheduled for a 5 AM departure. We had to be in the hotel lobby at 2 AM to be sure we’d get through passport control and security in time.
- if you CAN go a day early, it is well worth the additional cost of the hotel room. And the hotel can help you do whatever puts a smile on YOUR face.