Friday, October 6, 2017

India Road Trip (6-Aug to 9-Aug 2016)

Technically my business trip to Gurgaon ended on 5-Aug-2016, and the beautiful famous sights of India was actually quite nearby as Gurgaon is near Delhi, so with the use of the weekend, and the Singapore National Day holiday, I decided to extend my stay in India and book myself a private 4 days 3 night tour. It was those decision which I thought over daily before deciding that if I don't do this, I will regret it. So I went ahead and book a tour for one. Yes, for ONE. That was how important this trip was to me. But my overprotective husband decided to join me in the end, and his flight there was probably more expensive than our whole tour package! So from today onwards I will be blogging about my road trip in India. And what is more fitting as a header photo than a sign of Highway Masala pit stop along the beautiful highway of India!

Here's my tour programs to give you some idea of where we were headed. I booked via India n Holiday Private Limited, and it comes with a car and a drive that will accompany us through out the trip. Hotels are included for all 3 nights, which covers the daily breakfast part of the trip. I requested to stay at Trident Hotel since I was comfortable with the level of service there, and they booked for me 2 out of the 3 nights. The driver took us to restaurants for lunch based on his recommendation, and we either find dinner on our own or have it at the hotel, or skip it all together.

Here's a photo of us before the start of the trip at Taj Vivanta Hotel Gurgaon. My husband arrived on 5-Aug-2016. I have booked an airport transport for him from the hotel, and the concierge asked if I would like to follow the car to the airport. I said yes and took a free ride to the airport with the driver. His flight was late for 2 hours. Luckily I took some bananas from the room with me and share it with the driver. I spend 2 hours walking around the airport just exploring and ended up buying two books there because they were so cheap: a Murakami, and a Rumi. Love them both. Each was around SGD8 to SGD10. I found out later that printed book prices are subsidised by the Indian government. Why don't we have such things in every country? Awesome policy.

Our first day was a tour of Delhi (another post), and the book us in a hotel at ITC Hotel Dwarka. You know the warning not to wonder outside at night in India, and not to eat the food outside? Yeah, that went out the window on our first day as well. Thankfully my husband was rather well trained by now and we took a walk to the shopping mall just next door to the hotel. Above is what it looks like, kinda reminds me of any Malaysian mall actually. And things were very cheap there! We also had our dinner there at a family restaurant. Nobody seems to care much about us, although we did over ordered in terms of food.

There was a supermarket at the mall, so we took a walk inside as well. Look what I found! Singapore Curry instant noodle! I didn't even knew that was a thing here. 

I also found that you can buy canned Indian desserts home with you. I love both these two desserts! But I didn't buy any cause they were so heavy. 

Next are some sights of India as seen from our trip. Above is the Tut-Tut cab you can find everywhere in Delhi area. I didn't managed to take one before cause well, business trip always provide us a car, or the hotel would provide us some transport, or we took a taxi cause there was always a group of us going out together, or we walk.....Maybe one day, I'll try this...

As were were travelling on the highway, we saw lots of trucks and lorries, and they all were colourfully decorated with signs on them. Most have the "Horn Please" sign on them. Maybe its to keep the driver awake on their long drive? The whole road was an orchestra of horns. But strangely they were less loud than in Mumbai, so I was actually quite ok with them. 

The towns we pass through on our way to attractions were also quite fascinating. For example this was my first time seeing an actual camel on the road, being used as a transport animal like a horse or buffalo. In the past, I've only seen camels in zoos before. I love camels, cause one of my favourite character from Discworld is You Bastard the camel. Yes, that is the name of the camel. So every time I see a camel, I tend to call it You Bastard, and people would give me a disapproving look, lol. I'll leave a reference below in case you think I'm bluffing you!

There were also the usual carriage being pulled by horses, cows etc. They look so cowboy town.

And we also saw some farmer pilgrimage along the way. These were mainly on our way towards Jaipur. It was nearing the Monsoon season, so our driver told us that they were mostly farmers, walking towards a worship site in prayer of rain for their crops. The whole highway has a festive feel to it when we were headed to Jaipur. There were pit stops for these pilgrimage people, and at each stop, there were music to cheer them on, free drinks, fruits and food to fuel their journey.

Herds of goat crossing the road reminded me of home as well. Don't believe me? See this post here. So I guess, I felt pretty much at home here. 

Road side shops selling traditional cakes and fruits. These are sights that I love seeing cause these are so different from anything I've seen before. Isn't these what travel is about?

And lastly, here's me at the Delhi Airport on the last day before flying back. I looked so tanned! I actually threw up from food poisoning the night before in celebration of Singapore National Day (I did the merlion, get it?). I wasn't angry or worried about being sick. In fact I was quite happy about it cause now I had experienced the true India experience! Hahaha. 

I slept at the back seat on the ride back to the airport, and that too reminded me of my childhood where I would sleep at the backseat and look out the window staring at the sky, wondering where I was. At the start of the trip, I sat next to the driver and chatted with him all the way and he was just happy someone was keeping him company. I get a lot of stares from passing car. Interesting enough, I got used to it and it doesn't bother me any more. It's interesting how travel change your mindset. After surviving through the rough of India, or China, or the mafia Italy, the crime of UK, nothing really shakes you up. And you just kinda feel at home no matter where you are. You just blend in. 

It was a wonderful trip. And I have no regrets. Next stop? Kashmir? Varanasi? Iran! But before another crazy adventure in India, the next few post will be on the places that I visited in this road trip. Stay tune!

Discworld - You Bastard

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