Saturday, November 15, 2008

On Inja

Boydee giving his campaign speech for the JCI EVP position.
Of course, as a biased wife, I'd say he wowed them :)
Boydee is now 2009 JCI EVP assigned to Area B.

Here we are, back from India, Boydee and I. On our 4.5 hours flight from New Delhi to HK via Cathay Pacific, 2 hour lay over in the airport, and the 1.5 hours flight from HK to Manila, I couldn't hold my excitement of seeing Bric again. After immigration, customs and getting our luggage, I took fast steps outside of NAIA 1 and who do I see peeking out of the car?! Our darling baby with a smile that was from ear to ear!!! Aahhh... home at last!!! :)

Here are some random thoughts on India before I forget all about them.
...It's winter in November in India so apart from the smog, visibility is low because of the haze.
...the HQ hotel of JCI World Congress was overpriced at ~P14,500/night!!! So imagine the hole in our pockets since Boydee had to stay for 9 friggin nights!!! There goes my kikay allowance.
...Indians love getting TIPS! Nope, not helpful advices or notes but TIPS as in moolah. For instance, our hotel's housekeeping personnel for our floor would be right outside our room and smiling at us, saying they were the ones who cleaned our room. One of them would say he'll be off duty by 2pm so if we check out early, we might not see him again. Parinig... But then, the consuelo is they give us unlimited water bottles and whatever toiletries we ask for in excess, like moisturizer, vanity kits and soap.
...AVOID local taxi cabs as much as possible. They'll try to cheat you however way they can so they can earn an extra buck! Once, I took a ride on this dilapidated mini van of a taxi all by my lonesome since Boydee was in a meeting and the shuttles were already off at 5pm (grr...). The driver insisted on bringing me shopping or around even when I already stressed that I wanted to go back to our hotel! In another instance, we asked this driver to bring us to Karol Bagh, a local market. He said he'll charge us R300 roundtrip. Of course, it was apparently too good to be true. This driver took us to this tourist shop. We found out it wasn't the place we wanted to go. When we insisted, he in turn insisted that we pay him R500 one way or R1,000 round trip! The nerve!!! We lost our appetite for shopping and asked him to bring us back to our hotel. We paid him R250, after asking help from some of our Indian friends.
...Zoo animals can be seen on the road. Camels pulling a cart, elephants, monkeys and huge cows.
Bargain sale on the streets. This isn't even crowded yet.

...If you think Philippines is poor, wait til you see India. Their sidewalks are like tiangges that are densely populated.
At Bukhara, rated Top 50 Restaurants of the World

...Indian food are either red, green or yellow. Hehe... Seriously, while some of our friends were sick and tired of Indian food, I was ok with it. Thanks to Moti Mahal Deluxe and Bukhara. :)
...McDonald's in India does not carry hamburgers! Only chicken, veggie burger and filet of fish!
Authentic Roti, made by hand on a burning 'oven'

...I had my fill of roti!!! Yum!
...Most Indians do not have a sense of personal space and they're very vocal. They push, shove to get to where they're going. They also speak their minds. They're not shy to ask people for 'favors'. On our first night, several Indians asked me to have a picture with them. Boydee was on the side and saying, 'hey, that's my wife.' The Indian misheard and said, 'Ah yes, smile!'. That same night, a LOM president of a chapter in India took me from my table at the diner for a picture. He was waving his ribbon that said 'LOM President' and asked me to put my hand on his right shoulder saying that it's customary in India as a sign of friendship. I said 'No thank you', smiled at the camera and said goodbye.
...When shopping, always haggle. Even at more than 50%

It took my breath away knowing I was actually seeing one of the
Wonders of the World with my own eyes.
Taj Mahal is beautiful!!!

...TAJ Mahal is really a sight to see. Our guide was right when he said that the photograph can not capture its beauty. It stands serene and beautiful, a monument and testament of love - of a King to his wife, and the vision of the architect and its laborers who arduously labored over each minute marble inlaid detail. Shakeel said everything was symmetrical and to think they only had their eyes and a really long string to measure everything. No computers, no measuring tape, nothing!
...We had a "welcome to India" experience going to and in Agra. On our way from Delhi to Agra (4.5 hours without traffic which is impossible), we had a flat tire. In Agra on our way to the Agra fort, our car was hit by a tanker. Our driver was so outraged especially since the tanker driver ran off. A policeman who was in the vicinity rode on our car while we sped on trying to find the tanker. Sadly, we couldn't find it so we went on with our tour. I was glad I was travelling with Boydee. In times like these, he's my security blanket.
...Most of our time was spent in our hotel since Boydee was running for JCI EVP and there were GAs, meetings, events to attend, we really didn't get to see much of India. But the trip wasn't wasted since it was a good time for the Philippine delegation to rediscover, renew, build friendships with each other. Wink wink...

Colorful saris worn by Indian women as they stroll along Agra Fort

Would I go back to India? Yes, definitely. But unlike some places in Europe especially where it's nice to immerse in a country's culture and 'do as the Romans do', India is better left explored in luxury as a tourist. The sites are just waiting to be visited but going there, I'd so much rather ride on a bus or a private car, in a 5 star hotel and purely escorted by an Indian English speaking tourist guide like Shakeel, our guide in Agra.


Nongnong said...

Wow! Minus the hassles, India should be fun!
Thanks for the TIPS! (Ha ha ha ha, not the Indian way, of course!)
Congratulations for having seen the Taj Mahal. One of the places I want to visit one of these days!
Welcome back, Congratulations to Boydz!

Zharmagne said...

Beautiful! what an experience, Bang! Inspite of the negative impressions on India, I would still love to see it. Taj Mahal is so beautiful. Wow...
But thanks for sharing these first hand tips.