Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Coming to Vadodara

We rented a car+driver combo to take a short tour through Delhi.  Our driver was super friendly but only spoke some pretty broken English so via pantomime and lots of nodding we hit a few major tourist sites before leaving for Vadodara.

India Gate is a major national pride.  12 people said this to me verbatim.  It must be printed on a coin or something. 

At the Humayun's Tomb we were joined by 6.5 million kids on school field trips.  One of the flickr pictures shows them in an endless line.  As I was walking by one of the little Sikh boys reached up and hi-fived me which I reflexively replied to.  Immediately 400 little arms also went up so I high five-d the entire line like a Jonas Brother which was awesome.

We got suckered into a Kashmiri museum.  You see the Kashmiris have lots of trouble right now so they pay cab drivers and hotel van operators to kidnap people and drop them by to hear about how Kashmiri rugs are awesome and Turkish/machine woven are just offensive garbage .  Oh and by the way you seem interested ma'am, maybe you would like to purchase a handmade shipping?  I knew this little scam existed but thought having the hotel driver would keep us out of the flim flammery.  I now know better.  Also Kashmiris are kind of rude and dismissive of women.  Tina is not down w/ that sort of business.  After sales dude shushed her 1 too many times, I removed the sheep shearing tool she stuck in his eye and we left.

There are some pictures over on the Flickr site but not much was remarkable.  I mostly get bored touring around famous landmark type places.  The fun of travel is in the travel and the people you meet on the way.

Off to the airport w/ our huge stack of luggage which caused a little stir but we convinced Jet Airways that because we were continuing on from an International flight we should get to carry the 40 metric tons of crap in our little trolley tower.  After seeing the plane later I understood why they were concerned.  I think we took the whole carrying capacity of the stupid little prop plane. 

In the airport we just had time for lunch, Sophia and T got Indian.  J got some 'fried chicken' at 4 Fingers according to the signage it has something do with New York, cause you know.....NY makes fried chicken.  The chicken wings were bone in and were the whole wing including the tips.  They were fried and served w/ a huge scoop of plain rice.  Awkward to eat but mostly ok.  I ate at McDonalds.  I don't eat much McD at home but figured I should try it out and see the difference.  Fries are the same, coke is served no ice and kinda warm and there is no beef.  Instead you can feast on the awesome sounding (and > Big Mac) Royal Maharaja Mac Double Chicken Spiced Meat Sandwich.  I also grabbed a paneer wrap which has no analog and was just good.

Flight was fine but we left late because a fat NRI dude inexplicably had to go back and forth from the bus that took us out to the tarmac 3 times.  I learned later that an NRI is a Non-Resident Indian and that this is 'NRI Season'.  Everyone comes back for weddings and such which explains the exorbitant rates on our plane tickets and the general feeling of sold-out-ness I got in booking accommodation and travel.  Most NRIs are fine but a few display a nice blend of rich, pushy Indian and ugly American which is a nuclear meltdown of manners.

We collected bags and were met by the house driver who remembered Tina from previous visits.  He launched into 1,000 kph Gujarati to which Tina replied "Si".  It took her a minute to change gears but thank god she does still speak it fluently making everything smooth for us while in Gujarat.  Tina's cousin is the one w/ the 2 kids having weddings and she is putting us up in an empty flat across the road from her place.  The building is under construction but this one tower seems done and its a nice place.  The shower is a bit mystifying but we have a Western style toilet so by definition are happy.

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