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If you go to Delhi...

Be ready!


Mumbai-Delhi. Two cities ten times the size of Slovenia each. Two thousand kilometers. Two hours by plane. Sixty flights per day. Nothing insurmountable! Except that it requires a bit of anticipation. If the delays are not what they used to be a few years ago, they are still frequent between these two mega-cities: when it’s not the fog in Delhi it’s the rain in Mumbai...


For an appointment at 4:15 PM, I had therefore planned carefully. I would arrive at 1:10 + something unexpected (a one hour flight delay) + 40 minutes by taxi + something unexpected (almost anything that could happen on the road and block us 30 minutes) and I still had a 45 minutes safety gap...


Except that... While it had not rained for more than three weeks, nature unleashed in the night before myindia,mumbai,delhi,flight,gurgaon,traffic departure! Naively, I thought I could still take a rickshaw but upon the advice of my favorite Indian I booked a Uber (a first!), and left early. I could only get a SUV and thank God for that: the water level was so high that only our car could pass in some passages, where rickshaws drivers, stuck in the middle of the street with water up to the waist, were forced to push their vehicle on the side. And we, while water was coming under the door, we drove through, pushing water as a backhoe snow! Which enabled me to 1. Arrive at the airport and 2. Arrive at the airport in time, and even a little bit early. Early enough to take the time to call back the driver after realizing I had forgotten my umbrella in his car – since it is not permitted to exit the airport after check-in in India, it is the guard who had to go get it for me, the driver having some difficulties locating me behind the glass door! And early enough to buy a phone charger since mine had gone missing. So here I was, finally ready for the flight!


One hour delay at the time of boarding... How grateful I am for my foresight!


Two hours delay at the time of take-off... Why on earth didn’t I book an earlier flight?? Okay, don't panic. There is still a small chance that the traffic on the Delhi-Gurgaon road is not huge in early afternoon and that there is no major incident...


Finally I land in Delhi. I jump in a radio-taxi. We rush to Gurgaon and reach in 25 minutes! I am fifteen minutes early which means I can pee, pump some milk, freshen up, put my jacket on. Before all that I inform the desk that I am around, just so they know... An employee comes to meet me immediately and make me follow him. Before I know it, I find myself in the meeting room (hungry, with a full bladder, dishevelled, fearing breast engorgement, my shirt protruding from everywhere, in short completely lost in translation!).


My instructions were strict for this meeting: whatever happens, be on time – German-Swiss take time very seriously. Taking this into account, I had calculated that I should be ready to leave by 5.30 PM (it was planned to last 75 minutes max) and could book a return flight at 7:45. How surprised was I to realise it was 5:55 when I left the room! But no need to get excited, with the delay I experienced in the morning, there is no chance that my flight is on time!


india,mumbai,delhi,flight,gurgaon,trafficDespite the craziness of the traffic jam (these I-don’t-know-how-many-lanes of cars are very impressive on this road), I arrive at 6.45 at the airport, sharp one hour in advance... Except that I am on the phone with a colleague and he won’t stop talking. Which is makes it very uneasy to show my e-ticket to the guard... Ten minutes later, I finally hang up and I am immediately told that I am at the wrong terminal! I had completely zapped that Jet Airways flights are not operated with other domestic flights... There seems to be no end to this day!


Another walking-in passenger then offers me to use his car, which leaves me somewhat puzzled. He assures me it’s not a problem, it’s his office car and anyway I won’t find a taxi at the departures... By the time I decide whether to take up the offer, the guard urges me “there, a taxi! Go go!” I spot a white car which is about to leave and stops it. I ask if this is a taxi, and if he can take me to Terminal 3. No problem!! As I can’t see a meter, I assume I will have to pay a bomb but it does not matter, I just want to go home! I still ask the driver what kind of taxi this is and the answer is weird: taxis booked online by companies, especially for foreigners. Well... Twenty minutes later I'm at the right departure gate, and not even late, my flight was announced to depart with delay at 8:30 PM. When I ask the driver how much I owe him, he answers – wait for it – “nothing, it was my pleasure to help you”. Bah ?? Wait wait wait. Am I really in Delhi? The city with a terrible reputation? And two men offer to help me in the same day? I love my life!


I landed in Mumbai with one hour delay. Found a taxi and got home in an acceptable time considering the weather conditions. It is 11 PM and I'm dead...


Coz India is a beautiful country!


Cabin in the trees, head in the clouds

Here is what happens when Jane takes Tarzan for a romantic week-end in the trees…

Jane spends quite a bit of time looking for nice gateways around Mumbai – which are far from plenty – and finally settled for something expensive: a cabin in the trees! With overview on the Western Ghats which are never more beautiful than at the end of the monsoon. There they should get peace, be able to yog and relax and maybe even go for walks (Jane doesn’t think that being at 6 months of pregnancy she can not climb a canyon and, as a matter of fact, she will).

A dream place. But which turned out to have the wrong vibe! Jane and Tarzan did enjoy their stay – mostly thanx to the impromptu trek on the top of the hill and certainly not thanx to the hotel staff. See they even wrote this review on Tripadvisor:

“Stunning views and amazing accommodation (a big WOW to the bathroom of the Forest Machan)!! BUT… Luck was not with us it seems…

We started by parking the car and it just happened that we stopped opposite an open air garbage dump! So much for eco-friendliness… Plastic bottles everywhere, which is not surprising since it is very difficult to get filtered water in glass bottles there.

Then we met the manager who greeted us with a request to pay a 3,000 Rs deposit. For what?

Because there is handicraft in the room… So 1. You are calling me a thief and 2. Haven’t I actually paid in advance 25,000 Rs?? He later turned completely rude when we asked to see another room, for in case we come back, and he said it was against the policy – even if the entire place was empty.

We then tasted silence and peace in our very nice room… Superb! Until our below neighbours came… They would have been in our room it wouldn’t have been nosier!

And came the time for dinner. Non-veg buffet: One yellow dal, one plain rice, one vegetable and one chicken with rotis. For 700 Rs. And it was not even tasty. Food was better the next day though, when it was only the 2 of us having dinner.

There is no consistency in the service. The staff wear track pants and chappals (dressing up for week-end guests). They make-up your bed one night and not the other. They don’t offer cushions to sit on the balcony. I could go on. All this would be okay if the rooms were not SO expensive and the staff unable to be a little friendly… It is an amazing place, just missing some good vibe and this is kind of sad…

But I guess they don’t care, the place is full all the time anyway!!”

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