I’m now sitting in the Deco Suite of the Imperial Hotel New Delhi signed on to their wireless network as if I were anywhere in the world. But I’m not. I’m in Delhi, India. 4028 miles from Paris, and approximately 9012 miles and several civilizations away from Lyday Farms, Honey Grove, Texas.
As you might imagine, it’s already Monday here while it’s still yesterday there. Hmmm. As much as I’ve traveled over the years, I still can’t quite get my mind around the concept of it being a different day in a different geography. As I’m typing this, I’m looking out the window of the hotel room at a fairly grey sunrise, but into the midst of a tranquil art deco garden with influences of the Raj and the mugal empires, and then I notice a male peacock calmly strutting by oblivious to all.
S. is still resting as we didn’t arrive here and get settled in our room until about 1:00 am. We both indulged in little yellow pills thinking that we’d need them for any sleep at all. But the twenty-four hours of non-stop travel had worked it’s toll, and I suspect we could have slept with no artificial aid.
We’re scheduled for a guide/driver led tour of the high spots of Delhi today and I’m having drinks with the founder of a call center company here this afternoon before we move on to Agra tomorrow. We’re hoping for a fairly relaxing day.
Just a note on the cultural differences that we anticipated but didn’t fully appreciate. In arranging for a meeting with the founder of the company, I had talked to his assisstant in the US before leaving. He mentioned that he’d like to have someone meet us at the airport to help with “arrangements”. I thanked him saying that we were already well taken care of through the service that arranged our tour. However, as we stepped out of the jetway, there was a young man holding a sign with our names on it. I was momentarily confused, but he grabbed our hand baggage while introducing himself as a representative of iIntelligence….the company I was going to meet with later in the trip. He took off at a near trot, brushing aside the mass of humanity moving towards gigantic queues in the immigration hall, and went to a small desk at the end of the hall marked “handlers”. We were whisked through by the immigration official before we had collected our wits and were onward to baggage claim.
Miracle of miracles, our luggage all made it in a fraction of the time that it would take at DFW and we were now led by our “handler” who had been joined by a colleague towards the parking facility. I hesitated and said we were being met by our service and needed to look for them. Handler man said, “no Mr. Gary, we have official car for you,” and thrust a cell phone into my hand. The chap on the line was a higher level assisstant of Mr. Anil A., of iIntelligence welcoming me to Delhi and explaining that their “official car” was ready to meet my every need. I explained we were being met by a prearranged service, and said, “ok, my people will stay with you until you are situated.”
After some confusion finding my service, and more than a little pressure to take their “official car” a polite tug of war ensued over taking care of us. We finally wound up in the hands of the agents of our travel service and had an uneventful trip to the hotel, but I wouldn’t have been surprised to see the two “handlers” from iIntelligence following us to the hotel.
It’s time to try to rouse S. and our first Indian breakfast.