Anil John - Travel | Blog
Back from India...
Wehad an awesome vacation in India! It was the first time ever for thekids, andthe first time in more than 10 years for me and my wife. Somany changes! This was the first time, in a very long while, that Ivespent timecompletely disconnected from the Grid, and it was a veryliberating and wonderful experience!
Currently it is between the end of the rainy season and thebeginning of the hot season, so although it was a bit humid, it wasstill a great time to visit. We spent the majority of our time at thefamily house.The house is L shaped with one section of the L the newsection, and the otherthe older section of the house. New in this caseis rather relative as that section of the house was built in mygrandfathers time. A rather interesting experience for mewasexplaining to my kids that the older section of the house was morethan 200 years old! Given their ages, they were finding that length oftime rather difficult to grasp, so my Dads comment to them, which theyimmediately got, was Its older than America
We also took the opportunity to spend some time up in the Hill Range( ~ 4500 ft above sea level), to visit one of my cousinswho is themanger of a Tea Estate that was originally set up by the British. Whilethe temperature at the family house was hot, we actually had to useblankets at night while we were visiting the Tea Estate. Had some ofthe most amazing tea while we were up there and when we enquired aboutit, was informed that the entire estate has been certified to groworganic tea (no pesticides etc.). Yes, we did bring back some of thattea!
Given that my cousin is the manager of the Estate, we got a personaltour, via a 4 wheel drive vehicle, of some of the more scenic parts ofthe estate. And there is no way to get to some of these remote areaswithout a 4 wheel drive vehicle or by horse! The scenery and theclimate were just about spectacular.
On the way back from India, we made a point of stopping over in Delhi and driving to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal. It is a four hour drive from Delhi to Agra and two of those hours are spent just getting out of Delhi! The traffic in Delhi,where cars, buses, auto-rickshaws, motorcycles, bicycles, people andanimals all share the same road has to be experienced to be believed!
Itwas very hot in Agra but it was just an amazing experience for all ofus! I, for one, had never seenthe Taj beforeand was just amazed bythe sheer size and the incredible symmetry of the place. We also hadavery goodguide that explained in great detail a lot of thearchitectural and historic details of the Taj Mahal.
We also had some truly pleasant serviceexperiences on the trip. Two thatwere memorablewere our experience with Kingfisher Airlines, which is the domestic airline that we used in India, and with the Radisson Hotel in Delhiwhere we stayed while in Delhi.
Flying with Kingfisher was just about the best flying experiencethat weve had. As soon as we reached the airport, folks inKingfishers livery came to meet us at the car and accompanied us andtransported our luggage through the security checkpoints all the waythrough to check-in. During the flight, we were pretty much pamperedwith bottled water, little gifts for the kids and a full service meal.We also had great leg room in the seat and individual entertainmentcenters with a variety of music and entertainment programs. Once welanded, folks in Kingfisher livery again pulled our luggage off thebelt,took it to our waiting transportation, and loaded it onto ourvehicle. Oh, did I mention that I was traveling COACH!!!! I dont think Ill fly with another airline in India ever again!
As to Radisson Delhi,by default you got the superb service that you can expect from a 5 starhotel. But what impressed us more than anything were two things. Thefirst was that given that my son has food allergies, their kitchen wasvery willing to prepare special meals for him. Secondly, we werescheduled to leave the day after the London Terror threat story broke,so there were extremely long delays and a lot of confusion at the Delhiairport. When the concierge at the Radisson found out that we wereflying out that day, he actually came with us to the airport andbasically guided and helped us through the checkpoints, the multipleluggage checks and stayed with us until our bags were completelychecked and we were ready to go through security! Just an amazingexperience.
All in all, we had a wonderful and memorable time. If interested, I have posted some additional pictures for your viewing pleasure. I most definitely have some more experiences to relate, but Ill save those for another post.Tags:: Desi|Travel ::08/24/2006 22:49 Eastern Daylight TimeDisclaimer|Comments |Tuesday, 25 July 2006Upcoming vacation in India
Weare in the final stages of our preparation to visit India. First timefor the kids, and the first time in more than 10 years for both my wifeand I. Connecting via Delhi to Cochin. On the return segment, we plan to break our journey in Delhi so that we can make a side trip to Agra and visit the Taj Mahal. We are a bit apprehensive about the Delhi/Agrasegment given our lack of familiarity with Hindi and the area ingeneral, but did not want to deprive ourselves of the chance to see oneof the true wonders of the world. I am especially looking forward toseeing my kids resolve their current view of India, which to a greatextent has been shaped by Bollywood movies, to the reality.
All in all, we are very much looking forward to this trip. NOT looking forward to the 16+ hours flight!Tags:: Desi|Travel ::07/25/2006 20:30 Eastern Daylight TimeDisclaimer|Comments |
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