After our brief layover in England, it was time to begin the Indian portion of this trip. We had a very short (just about eight hours) flight from London to Delhi. In spite of its short duration, I was able to get a few (couple?) hours of rest in the luxury of our business class accommodations. Unfortunately, our seats were directly behind the first class cabin and, so, we were able to catch a glimpse of that extra tier of luxury. One can only long for such sumptuousness.
Joan had made arrangements for us to be picked up upon arrival by the Holiday Inn folks. Based on the confirmation she had received from them, we weren’t certain if that was going to happen. We should have had more faith as there was a gentleman with sign waiting for us as soon as we found our way into the arrivals hall. A quick drive to the hotel and we were checking in by about 10 a.m. We were delighted that we were able to go to our room straightaway. We had feared that we might have to hang out in the lobby for some indeterminate period since check-in was officially 3 p.m. Once again, our lack of faith was unfounded.
One problem with staying at airport hotels is that being close to the airport usually means they aren’t close to anything else. Not really anywhere to walk. We spent the day in the hotel trying not to doze. One of us was more successful than the other.
After nap time, we went to the travel desk to arrange transportation to Agra for the following day. Every request here is met with a pleasant assurance that it will be met; a smile and a wag of the head and a not-to-worry-it-will-happen attitude. We set the time of departure, the length of the agreement (three days: to Agra and back), and the cost (a lot or not depending on your point of view) but we didn’t actually write anything down or provide proof of payment.
But all came off just as it should. I had my first masala dosa for breakfast, which was just as good as I remembered (an exceptionally thin, very crispy crepe-like thing made from chick pea or rice flour, with just a dab of a spiced potato filling, all rolled up and eaten with various chutneys and sambar (a thin vegetable soup)). Our driving arrangements materialized just when needed.
Our driver is Rajesh, he who picked us up at the airport in his nice, largish Toyota something or other. Crazy driving in Delhi traffic, through NOIDA and Greater NOIDA, to get into the country. Rajesh told us that you need three things to drive successfully in India: Good brakes, good horn, and good luck.
Lots of potato harvesting going on. Women in the fields bent double picking up spuds; huge trucks on roads piled high with sacks of spuds; small tractors pulling trailers piled high with sacks of spuds; potatoes everywhere. Guess the filling for my masala dosa has to come from somewhere.
Arrived at the Radisson Blue Agra Taj East Gate around 3 p.m. We were upgraded to a business class room . . . We must exude an attitude of superiority . . . Or maybe I am just so large that they know we need a bigger room.
As always, click on small image to make it bigger: