Sunday, April 30, 2006

Been there, seen that

8:28AM IST

I’ve recently awoken from a good night’s sleep. The flight was uneventful, if not dreadfully long. It is amazing that during a 15 hour flight, it is the last 90 minutes or so that seem to go on for ever.

I was told that this flight would go over the north pole, but that was in error. We took off to the north from Chicago, and tracked along Canada (ended up a little north of Montreal). We then crossed the Atlantic, south of Greenland, then Iceland, and entered the Norwegian Sea. We then crossed over Europe (passing over Copenhagen, Warsaw, and southern Russia). We crossed the Caspian Sea (a little to the north of Tehran), crossed over Kabul, into Pakistan, and landed in Delhi. I constantly wonder why it is safe to fly over some of these regions!!!

The first thing that you notice when departing the aircraft is the smell. India has a peculiar odor caused by the small woodfires used for cooking by most of the lower class or poorer people. It is a smell that you don't really ever get used to, and one that you really don't forget. A colleague was waiting for me at the airport and escorted me to the hotel .You do NOT drive yourself in India (in fact, when you rent a car in India, a driver comes with it.) and depending on public taxis is a no-no.

My flight mate was an interesting fellow. He was flying with a friend and we taking a 7 week holiday in India, Nepal, and Tibet. They had no agenda, just a flight in and a flight out. When he was explaining what they had planned, I was a little envious. Imagine having no responsibilities and could basically disappear from the world for 2 months…As he was going through his guidebook, taking notes, my envy was replaced with gratitude. Almost everything site that he was jotting down I have already seen. Not only have I been able to experience all those wonderful sites in India, but I’ve basically done them on someone else dime. Maybe I don’t want to disappear too much from the world…maybe just for an afternoon.

I have a real busy day coming up, and don’t expect to sleep much for the next two days. I’ll blog about it.

In case you’re interested, here are some really amazing historical sites to see in Delhi. I don’t expect to do any site seeing until my weekend in Chennai, but I have been to all of the places listed below.

Qutub Minar
Red Fort
Lotus Temple
Humayun’s Tomb

And, about 2.5 hours south (by train) is Agra, home of the Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal
Agra Fort


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