Archive for November, 2015

Delhi: October 31

Posted in Airport, Connaught Place, Delhi, India, Karol Bagh, McDonald's, Travel, Vacation with tags , , , , , , , on November 28, 2015 by Amanda

The walk from the plane to the immigration area seemed endless; maybe it was just because I was pretty tired at that time but I don’t think so.  Anyway, the walk led to a much longer wait than I’d anticipated.  The line wasn’t really that long but it was moved at an incredibly slow pace.  There weren’t many immigration officers in the e-visa section (it varied from 4 to 6 and there were 20 desks) and some of the people took forever.  The fingerprinting was not difficult to understand (and there were pictures too!) but some people (a lot of the old people) in front of me took forever; they keep not getting their fingerprints right and then spent a long time putting hand sanitizer on their hands between tries.  One woman ended up having the officer literally pushing her hand on the the machine (she was probably scared to touch it or something) and there was this other old couple who had all their documents mixed up and keep walking between two booths.  Anyway, I was quite annoyed at like 2 in the morning when I’d anticipated being in bed at my hotel.  After about an hour and fifteen minutes I got through the line and found my bag beside the belt; if I’d been much longer I think my flight would have been removed from the sign and I  wouldn’t have even have know where to look.  The e-visa is still pretty new so hopefully they’ll fix things.  I later learn that I actually got through the line in pretty good time and it sometimes takes up to three hours.

After that things went pretty smoothly (though it was surprising to see so many men sleeping between the airport and the parking garage) and I arrived at the hotel more quickly than I’d expect.

I slept pretty well and woke up (with an alarm) with no difficulty at 9 am.  I felt pretty awake and decided to explore Delhi a bit.  It was certainly a lot busy than when I’d arrived!  I was originally going to just take a long walk around the vicinity of my hotel in the Karol Bagh area but I ultimately got frustrated with people wondering why I walking where I was and took a tuk tuk to Connaught Place (with unexpected stops at some souvenir store and a fake government tourist office); the cost of the tuk tuk was cheap (much cheaper than I could manage on the way back) so I think I know why!

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Connaught Place

I had lunch at McDonald’s as I’ve always been curious at McDonald’s in India.  Old pictures I’ve seen have had separate green (vegetarian) and red (non-vegetarian) menus; however, the now have a pictorial menu that just uses green and red dots (a system that is pretty common in India I found).  They had very separate vegetarian and non-vegetarian cooking and food storage areas and a sign that said that they don’t serve beef or pork products.  Unfortunately pictures weren’t allowed; still, it was quite interesting and the McVeggie burger wasn’t bad.

After that I walked around and did some window shopping as I didn’t want to be lugging purchases around already.  I then found a tuk tuk.  Traffic had gotten considerably worse since the morning and it took a lot longer to travel back and the driver refused to take me all the way back to my hotel because of the traffic which was annoying.  It wasn’t a long walk at all and I did end up finding my hotel.  I then rested for the rest of the day.

 

 

To Delhi (via Toronto & Zurich): October 29 & 30

Posted in Flying, Switzerland, Travel, Vacation, Zurich with tags , , , , on November 26, 2015 by Amanda

My flight to Toronto was uneventful.  My flight to Zurich had a medical emergency.  It’s amazing how there is always doctors and nurses on flights with medical emergencies.  Upon landing, we were told that we’d have to stay seated (though, of course, some people stood up anyway) and wait for ground medical personnel to take the sick person off the plane but we ended up being allowed to leave the plane pretty quickly and she was still on the plane; so, who knows what happened.

I had a 6.5 hour layover in Zurich and decided to explore the city.  It was quite quick to get through immigration and the train to the city was easy to find and it only took like ten minutes to get to the centre of the city.  It was still quite early and not much was open but as I only wanted to walk around that was totally okay.  Zurich seemed very nice and definitely looked European but I really didn’t feel I was missing much by not spending more time there.  Still, it was way better than sitting around the airport for hours!

I was very glad that I’d noticed that flughafen was the German word for airport as it would have been a challenge to find a train back to the airport if I hadn’t!

The flight to Delhi was pretty routine though I ended up eating a kid’s meal (a kid seated behind me didn’t want their meal because it was pasta and I offered to take it) and it was seriously the best airplane meal I’ve ever had; plus, it included kinder chocolate!  There was also the signature Swiss chocolate later in the flight!

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Zurich

India: General Thoughts

Posted in India, Travel, Vacation with tags , , on November 25, 2015 by Amanda

I returned from my vacation to India over a week ago but I’m only getting around to getting about it now. I was not very awake last week and then I had stomach issues this weekend. Anyway, I’ve decided I’ll divide my trip into posts as it would be one really huge post if I just wrote one post.

My trip, after a very brief visit to Zurich on the way, started in Delhi. I then traveled to Agra and around a fair bit of the state of Rajasthan. As India is a very large country, I really only saw a small bit of it. Anyway, here are a few overall thoughts before I start by day-by-day accounts of my trip:

  • India reminded me more of the Middle East than I’d expected.  I think this was due in large part to the huge numbers of men compared to women in public places.  Also, it was generally quite hot and it didn’t rain and it was rather dusty in many places.
  • Being a vegetarian was every bit as easy , perhaps even more so, as I’d imagined it would be.
  • I expected lots of cows and monkeys roaming the streets and I saw them.  However, there were also tons of dogs and for some reason, I just wasn’t expecting that.  Some places also had a fair number of pigs and goats roaming about.
  • Things certainly weren’t expensive yet with a few exceptions (eg. the Delhi metro) they weren’t shockingly cheap either.  Apparently, southern India is a lot cheaper.  Prices have also risen considerably in recent years, I was told.  Prices were certainly lower in places less visited by tourists.
  • I expected traffic in big cities like Delhi to be crazy but it was even crazy in smaller places.  I encountered few places that were pleasant to walk.
  • It was always hazy.  There never was a clear, sunny day.  I expected this in Delhi but not in a lot of other places.  Apparently, this is normal for the “winter.”
  • Speaking of the “winter,” I was expected it to be a bit cooler than it was.  It really only was anything but super hot on a few evenings and early mornings later in the trip.