After three nights in Rishikesh we left to journey back to Delhi for a couple of day before flying back home. Originally we planned on buying tickets for the bus and riding the 7 hours back to Delhi. However after seeing the bus (and considering my motion sickness), we decided to shell out the $117 and fly back. The flight was less than an hour and would put us closer to our hotel than the bus would.
I used the last of our United miles to book two nights at The Taj Mahal Hotel. After our hotel in Rishikesh, The Taj Mahal was quite the experience. Andy and I arrived in slightly dirty stinky rumbled clothing into the 5 Star hotel. They were hosting an international computer security conference so most guests were in suites. To say that I felt uncomfortable is an understatement.
We had a beautiful room with a great view but due to Delhi smog, you cannot see that much.
Next to the bed was this handy gadget.
We went out to Khan Marketplace which is a collection of small posh shops. When I say small, I mean it. Each shop is about 25 square feet and is focused on selling only a few items. I found Barbies!!
We stopped off at an eclectic Iranian cafe that had an usual menu of sweets, small plates, and alcoholic drinks. The food and service were fantastic.
We picked up some King Fisher and headed back to the hotel room. When you dine out in Delhi, you pay a lot of taxes. There are city taxes, alcohol taxes and a service tax. It really adds up. So drinking beer in your hotel room is a great way to save some cash.
On Friday night, we packed our things and went to bed at 8pm IST because we had to wake up at 2:15 the next morning. One of the ladies in Guest Services told me that it would take an hour to get to the airport. It took 35 minutes. She also said it would take a bit of time for us to get through security and immigration being that we were flying economy. It didn’t take that long. We waited for well over an hour and 20 minutes before being allowed to board the plane and that was after changing our money and stopping to drink coffee. I wish we could have slept another 45 minutes.
We fly over 6 hours to Istanbul via Turkish Airlines and then had a small layover prior to boarding the flight to San Francisco which was over 13 hours. We had an hour and a half layover in San Francisco in which we had to go through immigration and customs, get our bag, check our bag and check in with United Airlines. That was just enough time to do all of that. When we arrived at our gate, we immediately boarded our flight.
It was great to get into San Francisco. I hoped to have enough time to wash my face and generally just freshen up but we didn’t have enough time. It was so nice to hear English and read English signs again. Immigration took our photos which were HILARIOUS considering that we had been traveling for over 26 hours at that point.
When we got into Portland, the first thing I noticed was how clean everything was. Then the fresh air. And then how few people there were. How much space we had. Going to India forced me far out of my comfort zone. I wasn’t prepared for the experience and at many times felt uncomfortable with what I was going through. I’ve always known how lucky I was to be born in the US, to be educated, have a good job and good health. But you never think how your life might be if you were born in rural India for example. I probably wouldn’t have gone through more than a few years of school. I would have married young and would now have several children. Money and opportunity would be scarce. My life would be difficult by all standards.
Would I go back to India? Heck yeah. For everything was that’s that great, there were hundreds of awesome things. I think India helped me become a much better world traveler. I’ve always traveled in safe places were the culture was almost identical to my own. India was very different and that’s good. Now Andy and I are looking at our next adventure.