Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Doubletree by Hilton – Gurgaon (New Delhi, India)

Think I got caught up on my sleep this morning. I was in bed early the night before since I was up at 1:15 a.m. for the drive to Agra. Though still a bit tired as I made my way to the lobby to meet my driver at 11:00.

When I arrived in the lobby no one knew the location of my driver or that I even had one scheduled. It took 15 minutes to straighten everything out. I ended up explaining what I wanted several times before I received confirmation. Much of the Indian style of communication seems to be totally opposite of mine. I’m confident and know what I want. It must throw them off.

In any case, I found out that my driver’s name was Ashok, the same name as my driver yesterday. He said he was Ashok #1 and my driver yesterday was Ashok #2. At least that was easy. My itinerary was simple. I first needed to go to an ATM, then get my haircut, then return to the Qutub Minar so I could tour the whole site, which I didn’t do on Sunday.

The ATM was easy. Ashok understood that I needed a large bank’s ATM and not a local grocery store’s ATM, he then found (eventually) a place to get my hair cut. We arrived at Qutub Minar and he helped me buy my ticket.

The Qutub Minar attraction is very popular but today the number of people was probably 10% of that on Sunday. The minar is a companion to the grand mosque next to it. Though the mosque is more of a ruin now, the minar is in perfect condition. The whole site is quite large and has been a gathering place for nearly 1,000 years.

At the end of my visit, while waiting for Ashok to get the car I visited with a tour guide from England. She brought her group to the site today and told me that she has lost several people of her tour. Has no idea where they are. She was great company while I waited.

I asked Ashok that we reconsider adding another stop to today’s itinerary since it was one hour away from 3:00. I had asked for only a four hour tour. We agreed to stop at the Hanuman Temple since it was on the way.

I’ve forgotten to write about the cows the roam the streets. After a while you forget that many places outside of India do not have livestock blocking the main roads or hanging out on the sidewalk. There are none around the hotel but a short distance away they are here and there and drivers weave around them. I asked Kannan about who knows who owns which cow. He said that people just know and there are few problems. I guess there is no need for a branding iron in India.

Not sure what exactly is part of the Hanuman Temple since there seems to be other temples in the same area. Ashok took me into one building that had several shines and a small museum dedicated to one of the well-known figures in the Hindu religion. It was all very nice but I was tired, hot, and hungry. It was time to return to the hotel.

We made it back to the hotel at almost exactly four hours since we left. Excellent. I got the feeling that Askok felt he let me know. Perhaps it is customary to extend a tour longer than planned. I assured him that it was me who needed to rest and I would give him a good review.

After a rest I had a quick dinner in the lounge and returned to my room to write my travel blog. The concierge stopped by my room to see how I was doing and confirm my booking for a ride to the airport tomorrow.

I’m looking forward to visiting Nepal. I’ll be there five nights and hope to arrange a helicopter ride over to the Himalayan mountains. We will see.

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