To finish off the last report – I went to a shopping mall in Delhi – just like any Mall you will see in the world except all the security. There are metal detectors before coming into the mall, then the security in the stores is unbelievable- about 3 or 4 people in a store and I am talking about small places. I tried to see if this is always the case or something different, but people say they have had it for a long time.
Walking in Delhi I now see the traffic for real – and the cars, bicycles, motorcycles, cows, goats, etc- every mode of transportation in this place all on the same streets, makes it very hard to move around. I was telling Maha in my office that we thought the traffic in Cairo, Egypt was bad, but there is no comparison. Cairo is like a dream walking between the cars to get to the other side of the street, but here in Delhi you really are taking your life into your hands by doing crossing the road! I did it and put my hand out as I was crossing, but it did not seem to help much. You still had to jump and run to make it. They do have overpasses and also a subway system, but it didn’t seem like it was used when you saw the number of people out on the streets. But I am told it is used a lot, just with a huge number of people that come in from the villages it’s hard to tell.
Also, you do see the beggars, all over the place and wonder how these people survive. There is a huge difference in the classes – you have the very powerful Indians that are wealthy and own so much and also they are the ones that control the contracts for outsourcing and then a middle class that is now working in those businesses, and then a poor class and then a very, very poor class.
I think it will take India a long time to get out of this and join the modern world in so many ways. I am ready to leave this place with so many mixed feelings about trying it as a destination, not knowing if I could get all the services that I want for clients, or should this be something that is pushed for the adventurous that do not mind the long bus rides or the trains to move around. There are flights between some of the major cities, but travel to others would need 5 or 6 hours on the road, with not that many rest stops that are clean or provide food and facilities. I would definitely not recommend people to go during this time of year (May through the summer), but to go earlier in January, February or March or late in the fall – any other times would be very hot and not especially relaxing or enjoyable in that kind of heat.
All in all it was an interesting experience, but I am ready to get back to rainy Seattle, to my own bed and also have some cheese. That’s one thing that was hard to find here so if you are a cheese fanatic, like me, not much in this country.
At the Delhi airport waiting for the flight it has been delayed two hours, the shopping is not that great mostly like any duty free shop- so if you want to buy trinkets and local goods do before departing, it is not like most airports that have local handicrafts for sale – just western items, liquor, candy, etc.
Announcement made in Hindi, only way to know was watching all the people line up – no numbers or seating called out, no handicap, or parents with children loading first – it was first come, first on board – you did have seats assigned, don’t get me wrong on that.
The flight is crowded. Because of the strike they were waiting for other flights to come in and connect with this one. We ended up leaving another hour later – so the flight was three hours late. I found people on the flight to be very pushy and not polite. I had a woman next to me that was sitting in the middle seat of three seats – I asked her to move to the aisle so we would have a middle seat between us. She said no, this was all hers and I needed to move somewhere else. I sat down next to her and refused to move and she kept poking me with her elbow. Now this is a woman that was about my age and maybe older. Very aggressive, I just thought this is not worth it and moved to another aisle seat. Once the plane left the ground someone else tried to do the same thing and she did the same to her and that woman left. That old lady got what she wanted and slept on the three seats. I was not very nice, when she left to go to the rest room I “accidentally” spilled a bottle of water on her seat……… I then had a good sleep in my other seat and forgot about her. As I say when you get older, you don’t care what people say about you or what you do—–I like being older.
May 4: Well after a 22 hour flight I am exhausted and so happy to be in Seattle with the rain and the cooler weather – getting a cab home and making myself some hot tea with crackers and cheese, and my little Omar jumping up and down excited to see me. There is no place better than home and in your own bed. I will be thinking about India and if we at Caravan-Serai might include it as a destination in the future.