Mission: To respond thoughtfully and responsibly to my experiences of drinking and dining at restaurants with regard to the quality, service, preparation, presentation and overall experience received thereat. The standpoint is one who respects the crafts of the chef and sommelier and who seeks to understand their choices in the kitchen and cellar and grow in knowledge. In this, I will seek to be fair, reasoned, direct and constructive and aim to keep my ego in check on our mutual journeys through the worlds of food and wine.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


View from Jaipur Hilton
IWFS Delhi, Agra and Jaipur Day Eight - Monday 6th March 2017 - drive to New Delhi Airport and home

Not much to say here. Packed ahead of breakfast, same deal as the day before, checked out at reception, bags got loaded into the car at 9am for an uneventful five hour (make that six with lunch) drive to the airport. More chit chat with driver, passed the time, had a forgettable chapati and dhall lunch at some roadside air conditioned place on the way.  The aim was to get there ahead of the expected jam that would kick in around 4pm which would apparently add another two hours to the drive time. Which I could quite believe. The advice of our friends to fly everywhere came to mind at this point. So it goes. In the unlikely event that there will be a next time, this is what will be done. 

Boy trying to sell pots at a toll booth
The downside is that one spends an inordinate amount of time sitting around and waiting for check in gates to open. And there is not much to see and do at New Delhi airport. There are some hotels in the Aerocity complex, but then the hassle of getting the bags onto a cab to get there and then to get back in time for the flight - couldn't be arsed. So we parked near a coffee stand and shared a sandwich of something and idled the time. I walked around the Hall a few times just to exercise. Couple of shops, two Elephant statues that lorded over all, loads of people of all colours and backgrounds. 

Eventually the gate opened, all got checked in (no memory) through and onto the plane (no memory) flight and landing at KLIA (no memory) and into the KLIA Limo and home (no memory). 


Camels also got... 
India (well, the Golden Triangle of New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur) is hot, dusty and demanding, and I pity anyone having to live there in the squalor and dilapidated conditions we saw in the towns outside of (and sometimes inside of) the cities we visited or passed through on the bus or in the car. The roads and traffic seem to demand constant attention, though perhaps this is something that one can acclimate to since there were was only one minor accident I saw throughout all the hours on the roads. The constant blaring of horns to either tell people you were near or to remind them to get out of the way was headache inducing - noise pollution at its absolute worst. The congestion is desperate, though traffic somehow seemed to keep moving albeit at a dreadfully slow pace - rarely was there an absolute stop. 

The corner shop
I think it was the cows that got to me. Taking their own sweet time to cross or amble along the middle of the road in search of a mosquito free space seemed….  inconsiderate. I know that the cow is holy and that the middle of the road is the best place to sit so that mosquitoes are prevented from getting there due to the pollution generated by all the millions of cars. But it somehow seemed to summarize one of the prevalent attitudes of many of the nation. We are happy to sit on our arse and be free of mosquitoes and be worshipped. And we will beg. And people will give to us. Yes and thank you. Hmmm....

Let's MOOOOOOOO-ve it ladies!!
The frequent and seemingly random changes of rules I got hit with at some occasions also rankled - limits on payment in cash at the Leela, can't take in cameras to the President's House, can't have your walking chair (oh, maybe you can) - annoying and irritating. Incredible India? More like Incredibly Irrititating India…

Our lunch destination
And the poverty is…   wrenching. Families parked together at the roadsides and traffic lights, hands outstretched for any scraps that might be dropped from any white skin visitor who is clearly light years distant in terms of wealth and income. Though in contrast there were signs of enterprise and survival in this harsh and unforgiving roadside environment. I remember on the ride back to the airport, one (he must have been) eight year old at a toll gate in the blazing sun going from truck to truck trying to sell clay fired pots. There seems to be an occasional grit in the people, that no matter how poor, somehow they will make something out of what they have. Though the easy way is to beg from the massively wealthy visitor who is clearly light years away in terms of wealth and income. 

So that was India. Been there, done it, got the t-shirt and the photos, no desire to return if the rest of India is the same (I am assured it is not - the South is much more relaxed, doing the House Boats in Kerala). Having been there, when you come back there are some things you take so much for granted at home that get thrown into complete relief. For me, it was so good to be able to clean teeth with tap water and not have see the darn cows in the middle of the road and no horns blaring - despite the occasional road rage from the Mat Bikers, in comparison to India, driving in Malaysia is a breeze.

Inside lunch - bread and dhall as I recall, maybe some chicken...
It was also nice to come home to some Char Siew Rice - the tastes of the world are wonderful but there ain't no food like the soul food. If anything, that is what all these overseas jollies reinforce time and again. Treasure the local delight but your belly always knows where its spiritual home is. Cheers!!


<<back to start 

The Road to Delhi
The  Elephants at New Delhi Airport



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