India, Here We Come! Friday, 11/30/18

Had breakfast and finished up our packing with time to spare.  Went downstairs early (8:15 am), and our driver was already waiting. Traffic was light (it’s a holiday), and we were checking in at the Jet Airways desk before 9:00 am.  It always interesting how each country handles their immigration and security.  We went through smoothly and arrived with an hour to kill at our departure gate.

One last of view of Dubai skyline and the Burj Khalifa

It’s a 3 ½ hrs. flight. The seating on the plane was tight. Before we landed, Judy was getting claustrophobic.  As we neared Delhi, the sky began to turn brown.  The weather app indicated there was fog, but it was more smoke/pollution. We found out later that after the recent rice harvest, they burned the fields, and the smoke is still hanging around. I had our eVisa’s ready and immigration was fast.  After we snagged our luggage we walked through customs, and our driver, Laksme, was waiting for us in the meeting area.  This is when the Delhi experience really started.

It was dark when we started out of the airport.  The traffic was reminiscent of Beijing, with cars jammed together and weaving in and out. We turned a corner as we left the airport, and suddenly, we were in what I would call a ghetto.  People were jammed everywhere, cars were honking, and drivers were yelling.  It was stop & go for 45 minutes until we arrived at our hotel.

All the hotel areas are surrounded with tall walls topped with barbed wire.  As we pulled up, there were armed guards, and the driveway was barricaded.  One of the guards checked under our car for bombs, while another guard opened the hood looking for explosives.  To get into the hotel, they ran our bags through a scanner, and we walked through a scanner ourselves.  It’s a great looking hotel, but the security issues were unexpected.

Up in the room, we begin to unpack and get ready for our tour tomorrow.  I’m trying to figure out the exchange rate for the Indian Rupee. $200 is close to INR 13,500. Dinner is close to 4,000 rupees (or $50).  Our phone app is going be a big help.

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