Monday, 24 October 2011

ktm - del: first glimpse of india

as my flight to my next destination, india, was at 2.40pm, i had planned to sleep in for a bit since i couldn't sleep early the night before due to all the noise. but the blardy koreans were up early and making the same racket as the previous night! 

also, after they've left, there were still some loud talking on the corridor outside my door, this time in nepali. i opened the door a crack, and saw the guy from the front desk talking to a nepali lady. the lady was talking rather animatedly with big hand gestures, as if complaining about something. the front desk guy was facing in my direction and saw me open my door, so i put on a scowl on my face and raised my finger to my lips in the universal shushing sign. the guy nodded his head and said, "ok, ok" but didn't even bother to apologise. and the worse thing is, they continued talking in the same volume for a few more minutes before going away! this hotel is SO not getting a good review from me on tripadvisor!

with my sleep interrupted, i decided it's futile trying to go back to sleep, so i washed up and went down for breakfast. it's the same breakfast from my first night there.

after breakfast, i contemplated if i wanna go down to do some last minute shopping, but decided not to. i think i've had enough of thamel for now. so i just roamed around the hotel for a bit to take pictures. the hotel is quite a labyrinth, coz it consists of a few rows of the upper parts of shop-houses.

connecting bridge towards the cafe

they even have a lil garden with some rabbits in it

after exploring the hotel for a bit, i went back to my room to pack up and get ready for the travel agent's driver to come send me to the airport at 12.30pm. but 12.30pm came and went, and still no sign of the driver. after some 15 minutes, i brought my luggage down to the front desk and asked them to help me call the travel agency.

after more waiting, my guide appeared, sweaty and somewhat out of breath, but still no driver! he said he's also been trying to contact the driver, but couldn't reach him. so they've arranged for another driver to come, but the guide decided to come see my in person to reassure me. luckily the airport is not so far away, so i managed to not miss my flight. gosh, i really gotta stop rushing to the airport like this!

an extremely crowded city from the air

my flight from kathmandu was uneventful and i arrived in a rainy new delhi in 1.5 hours. i got a taxi from the airport to my hotel, coz my indian colleague warned me not to trust any other form of transportation other than the airport taxi.

the indian tuk-tuk, or auto-rickshaw. compare it with the nepali tuk-tuk here.

i had my first glimpse of new delhi on my way to the hotel, and my first impression of the place is, "good grief, the indian drivers are all crazy! they swerve into your lane as and when they like without giving any warning or signal. and that seems to be the norm, coz no one honks at them unless they're just inches from colliding into one another."

i was taking in the sights of the city when we passed through a housing area and i saw a dog on the streets. the dog had its backside facing me and i thought, "wah, what a big assed dog!" coz it's really big! but when i look at it properly, i realized it's not a dog at all. it's a PIG! imagine a pig running around the streets like a stray dog!

anyway, i finally arrived at my hotel and as the taxi driver is driving through the gates, we were stopped by the security guard.

waiting in line for security check

all cars going in would need to be frisked and checked, all the luggage need to go thru the x-ray machine and everyone going in would need to step thru the metal detector. at first i had planned to check-in, dump my bags in the room and then venture outside to explore the city for a bit and have dinner. but seeing the tight security, i decided the new delhi outside the walls of the hotel would be just too scary for a lone fair-skinned girl like me to roam about!

ah... at last, i'm able to get a night's sleep in luxury! ;)

you can see into the bathroom from the bedroom thru the glass window...

view from the other side...

so happy, like a cookie monster! :D

tandoori chicken with mango lassi from the hotel restaurant

as i will be checking out at an ungodly hour the next morning, i decided to go for an early dinner. after checking out the hotel restaurant and seeing a lot of foreigners (ang-moh, japanese etc) eating there, i guessed it should be safe to dine there, it being a 5-star hotel and all.

seeing this made me go, "damn, why didn't i think to pack my swimming suit?!"

after dinner, i took a walk around the grounds of the hotel, but after a few minutes, i felt some discomfort in the stomach as well as slight nausea. it felt like the onset of a food poisoning! omg, i was in a near panic state, coz i still need to travel to agra the next morning, a 4-6 hour trip by car!

so i quickly went back to my room where i had diarrhoea twice. and to be on the safe side, i stuck my finger down my throat to induce vomiting. did that twice. luckily i felt much better, tho' still a bit dizzy. i quickly took a shower, packed up my stuff so that i'll be ready to go when i wake up the next day.

sigh... it was such a comfortable room in a nice hotel, but just a short stay for me. felt a bit cheated... :(

anyway, before i finish off, let me leave you with an excerpt of a conversation between me and my friend on facebook chat:

stargal: eh, what's india's national animal ar?
dm: i dunno. kutch kutch hota hai?
stargal: hello, itu lagu lar! elephant?
dm: oh, animal. i thot anthem hehe
dm: india... snake? snake charmers?
stargal: i found it. tigers lar
dm: indians - double headed snakes
stargal: kakakakaka...
dm: oooh that was a bad one
stargal: teruk LOL!! u think i'd get thrown out of the country if i innocently say that to one of them here?
dm: oooh, i would try! hehehehe...
stargal: u cakap saja. i bet u won't dare. will kena ban for life
dm: they won't throw u out lar. they'll just make u marry a local tamil
dm: with mustache!
stargal: omg, that's like 10x worse! dun wan!
stargal: esp the mustache part!
dm: u'll have to put coconut oil on ur hair everyday
stargal: ok, cukup! i'll get nightmare tonight
stargal: eh, but hor, maybe i'll look hot in a sari ler
dm: oh yes, i'd have to agree. n can eat curry everyday!

hahaha... damn racist, right?

Saturday, 15 October 2011

one year anniversary post

first of all, my apologies for not updating for so long. i can't believe i only put up one post in september! work has been a crazy whirlwind since i got back from my vacation and there's a few pending posts up my sleeves that are waiting to be cleared. my vacation series is still stuck in kathmandu! will get those out soon, i promise!

anyway, 12 oct marked the one year i've been in sandland, so i'd like to make a note about it here. i was reading back to the posts from my first days here, and it seemed like a lifetime ago! but at the same time, it felt like only yesterday that i stepped off the plane, puffy-eyed, into the summer night of the land of the shimmering sands. time does play tricks on us like that, huh?

was having dinner with the ooi's the other day, coz ryuu was here with his mother and boyfriend (a stopover on their way back from london), and he was asking how i find sandland, it being my 1 year anniversary and all. hmm... i've not really thought about what i like and don't like about this place, so his question set me thinking. what DO i like about sandland? and DON'T like, for that matter?

so here's the like and dislike lists, in no particular order.

1. the streets are relatively safe. at least safer than back home.
2. the shopping is great, with more varieties of things to choose from.
3. public transport is very convenient, especially now they've opened the green line, coz there's a station quite near the place i stay. of course, it'll be better to have your own car, but we can still survive comfortably with public transportation.
4. the cool winter months.
5. working with an international group of colleagues. in my last count, we have about 15 nationalities in my department alone!
6. opportunities to try new things that i've never dreamed of doing back home, such as taking horse riding lessons, camping in the desert, picnicking in the park (ok, we can do this back home too, but it's never been the trend) etc.
7. the labour law dictates that everyone gets 30 calendar days of annual leave each *woo-hoo!*

1. too many people of certain nationalities here! nations that start with I, P (they're neighbours, but not very friendly/neighbourly with each other) and another P (m'sia's neighbour across the south china sea). at least too many in the area where i stay...
2. the summer months.
3. the taxi drivers, which incidentally, are mostly of the I & P nationalities mentioned above. from the way they drive to the way they sometimes try to con you by taking the longer route (to get more mileage in the meter). and also their body odour! *phew*
4. the price of things here are comparatively more expensive than back home, coz most things are imported.
5. eating out costs a bomb.
6. we only have 10 public holidays in a year!
7. the work-week (sun - thurs) is different from the rest of the world

ok, that's all i can think for now. 7 - 7, so it's a draw... as for how long i plan to be here, well, i've not really given that much thought. it really depends on where life brings me next. but i hope i won't be here for more than 2 years, coz really, there's so many more places to see and things to experience, and life to live, right? ;)