September 2 – Delhi to Siliguri, India

This morning was a rush from the moment I woke up which was 6 a.m. I had a wake up call for 7 a.m. and was proud that I woke up all by myself before the alarm.  The reason I had to wake up so early was because I had a phone call last night from our travel manager and he told me I had to leave one suitcase in Delhi with him until we returned.  I had too many suitcases for the flight to Siliguri.  Well that was disappointing, I had packed so carefully and everything in those suitcases was absolutely necessary for our trip.

So at 6 a.m. I was franticly tearing everything out of my four suitcases trying to decide what to leave behind.  All the give aways had to stay with me, all the food like noodle soup and peanut butter had to stay for survival purposes (I was not going to be in a jam like last year with no food to eat).  I had no choice but to leave half my clothes in Delhi and the books I had brought to read.

After that painful experience I went down to breakfast and met up with Brad & Bea and Terry & Gillian.  They were a little foggy as it was 3 a.m. when they had arrived at the hotel last night. But they were in good spirits and ready to go to another airport at 8:30 a.m. Today we were leaving Delhi and heading straight to Siliguri. Our flight wasn’t until 11 a.m. but because of the traffic jams in Delhi, our travel manager, Ashwani was not taking any chances he had us rounded up and we left in plenty of time for the airport.

It turned out we rushed for no reason (not Ashwani’s fault) our flight was late leaving Siliguri by over an hour. There were two flights that they combined into one because they wanted a full flight versus two half full. So every seat was shuffled around to accommodate our new guests.

When we arrived in Siliguri it was 33 degrees C. and a very familiar sight.  This is my third trip to Siliguri and I always enjoy it here.  Siliguri shows the raw and truthful life of how most of the population live in India.  Little shops alongside the streets. Cows walking down the road in between all the traffic, garbage spread everywhere with dogs routing through it for food.  Lots of noise because of the number of people talking all at once and cars honking their horns. The smell is a mixture of car fumes and food being cooked outside. As we drive to our hotel, my head is flipping back and forth trying to absorb all the sights I can. I am thinking I must look like one of those plastic heads on a spring coil stuck to a dashboard of a car that we sometimes see swinging back and forth in a car.

The staff at The Barsana Hotel recognized us and were disappointed Russ was not with us, this time.  We all checked in and had a rest until dinner.

September 1st, – Day 2 – Delhi, India

Well, August 31st was completely lost in transit.  I left my house at 5 pm on August 30th to begin this journey and arrived at my hotel in Delhi at 10:30 am September 1st. There were of course time changes but it still was a long trip to get to India.  Very happy I am here though.

The weather is very warm, I would guess in the high 20′s C. A nice clear day. I was met at the airport by Ashwani, MIR’s guide. He is very nice and stunned me by giving me a huge bouquet of flowers, a brass statue of Ganesh (the Hindu god of prosperity) and a book on Mahatma Gandhi! That was over the top but I must admit very nice of them:) Welcome to India!

Ganesh, is a popular Hindu God, he has the head of an elephant and is the first god in all the prayers. The story Ashwani told me about how Ganesh got his elephant head is this: Parvati, Shiva’s wife was taking a bath and she wanted a guard to protect her, so she created a person to guard the outside of the house while she bathed. Shiva who was not home during the creation of this man, did not know that Parvati created him, and was very jealous to see a man outside of the house when his wife was taking a bath. Especially when this man would not let Shiva inside his own house. So he cut off the man’s head with his trident. Parvati was very angry that her husband had cut off her son’s head and told Shiva to fix the problem or she would ruin the world. Shiva did not know what to do so he discussed his problem with another god, Brahma. Brahma pleaded with Parvati (who was also called Shakti, meaning power), Parvati said she would spare creation under two conditions: 1) if Shiva brought Ganesh back to life and 2) if Ganesh was worshipped before all the other Gods.  Brahma (the God of Creation) suggested to Shiva to go out and cut off the head of the first living thing he came across and put it on the man’s body. Ganesh the son of Parvati would then be alive again.  Shiva did this and the first living animal he saw was an elephant, that is why Ganesh has an elephant head and why he is worshipped first in all the prayers and why the world with all of creation was not ruined by Parvati!

The traffic to get to the hotel was like making our way through a very crowded parking lot. There were 10 car lanes going in the same direction, bumper to bumper.  Most people started work at 10 am and worked to 6 pm so we were right in the middle of their morning rush hours.

The hotel was located in Gurgaon, a city just outside of Delhi. This was where all the call centres were located. Lots of very new and very modern buildings were located here. The hotel was called Oberoi Hotels & Resorts.  A beautiful hotel with very attentive staff. Each room had it’s own personal butler!

As soon as I checked in I went for a spa treatment which was fabulous! Then I went back to my room, showered and slept. It is now 8 pm and I am wide awake. Oh, Oh, not the way I planned to start off this trip, I should have forced myself to stay awake so I could sleep tonight. I miss Russ, he is much more disciplined than I am in conquering jet lag!

Tomorrow morning, I will meet up with Brad & Bea Cmolik with Terry & Gillian Johnston. Then we fly to Siliguri to pick up our cars!

« Older Entries