Rita’s Trip to India

Rita sent this post from her trip to India, which she is checking out to see about adding to our list of destinations.
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I arrived in Delhi after a 13.5 hours flight from JFK – it wasn’t bad since the flight was half empty so I was able to stretch out and sleep most of the way.

India was not a place that I had ever thought of coming, but for some reason I needed to get out of Seattle and thought maybe this might be a destination for our clients, similar to the Middle East in so many ways.

I was met at the airport by a very nice young man and was taken to my hotel – the Rama Palace. This is an old palace that was purchased for a new bride back in the early 1900’s and has been restored – it is ok, nothing great. The only problem is that it’s too far out of town, I found out. I have to take a car for the one hour drive into the center of Delhi. After being in Delhi (at temperatures of 98 degrees), it’s very crowded but I have not seen any poverty, which is one of the reasons I had not wanted to travel here before.

Had a full day of sightseeing today from visiting their White House, beautiful green gardens and wide streets reminded me of Argentina. No beggars but so many motorcycles. It seems that it only cost $1000 to get one so everyone has one, or these bicycles carriages or little carts that are moving fast throughout the streets. Horns, horns and more horns- they honk for no reason at all.

I took a bicycle carriage through the old city. Felt so sorry for the young man peddling in between the cars and motorcycles and in the heat, we seemed to hit every pot hold there was. I think in the movies they make it look so glamorous and fun, but honestly it is not. I finally got back to the hotel, exhausted from being out the full day in the heat and just hit the bed.

Today I had a long drive to Jaipur, the Pink City. It is 5 hours from Delhi and the only way to get there is by bus or train, no airline flight. Read in the paper today that Air India is on strike, wondering how long it will last and how I will get out of here.

Jaipur reminded me of the Middle East with the building structures, palaces, and the Islamic art work and tiles. Also the names are in Arabic Diwan. Still no beggars, but the hawkers trying to sell their stuff. I was told do not talk to them, do not say NO because if you do it means Yes. Well I was trying to do it like the Middle East and said No – wrong thing to do! I got surrounded by so many and they would start at a price of 3,000 rupees for drawings and then go down to 200 . A rupee is running 44 to the US dollar.

Today is my birthday and I wanted to ride an elephant – which I did to the Amber Fort! The Amber Fort is a huge fort that is walled and has this long narrow walk way up to the top – it took about 25 minutes riding the elephant up. Way different than a camel – the elephant rocks side to side and the camel rocks from back to front. Elephants are more comfortable! It was a great day but the temp got up to 104-109 today, but it was a dry heat.

Went to the Taj Hotel for drinks –a beautiful place with incredible green gardens. Surprised at how much green there is with all the heat. People are so nice and humble, when you come into a building they put their hands together and bow their heads and say Namaste. The men at the entrance to most of the places, hotels, restaurants, etc wear the traditional outfits and long mustaches that curl upwards.

Not much on the news about the Royal wedding which surprised me. Their was a coronation of a maharaja in the provenance of Jaipur- he is 12 years of age- beautiful young man who is now ruling this area.

Will write more later going out to dinner now.

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