I will include a photo from India despite the fact that India tried to kill me. This is Charminar, one of the stops on the official tour with the government group. As we walked through the shopping area we were escorted by police and warned not to stop and shop. We eventually made it through the crowd and to the top of the tower in the photo.
I posted pictures from my trip yesterday. Today comes my narrative of what we did and how I survived India’s attempt to kill me.
Wednesday of the trip is the first day our daughter and I are on our own while my wife is in her conference. In some cities(Seoul, Helsinki, Livingstone) this has been easy with options of interesting things to do within walking distance. This trip was more like Manilla last year where there was nothing around besides shopping malls. We decided to head the opposite direction from the mall from Tuesday night to find another shopping area. As we were walking, I hit a tree branch with my arm and was bleeding enough I decided we should head back to the hotel for a band-aid. The concierge decided I needed more and started wrapping my arm in gauze. While this was happening, the jet lag, stress, and bleeding all resulted in me feeling light-headed so I asked to sit. The hotel was concerned and after we got to our room they sent the hotel doctor to see me(and then tried to charge me for it at checkout). She tried to make me go to the hospital for a scratch. I did not. I rested a little and then we headed out to the mall across the street just to be out of the hotel. This was the night of the official dinner and every other year spouses of the delegates have been invited. India told my wife I was not invited, so instead of getting dressed up and going out, I stayed in the room watching TV with my daughter. It was probably for the best as this was the night that I also started having some stomach issues that would last for the rest of the trip. I did not sleep well that night.
The next morning, while my wife was finishing up her conference we stayed in and napped to make up for the lack of sleep the night before. That afternoon we were going out on the social program with the group. Unfortunately, it was raining, so instead of the tomb visit we were taken to a very boring museum. I wasn’t sure what was going to kill e first, boredom or continuing stomach issues. We left the museum and they took us to Charminar.It was a very interesting site and saved the day a bit We were able to go inside and tour a little and was also served tea. There was a bazaar in the streets leading up to it, but we were warned not to shop because it was dangerous. After Charminar, we went to dinner where unfortunately for the guy having stomach issues, my wife decided to opt for the spicy food bus. We went to a local restaurant famous for briyani. It was good, but I could ony eat a little of it.
Friday we were taken to Ramoji Film City for the day. We had been told that we would have to pay our own way(all other countries gladly included accompanying guests. India, not so much) but they did end up just paying for all. Film City is kind of like Hollywood studios. We saw film sets for famous Indian films and watched some shows. I was feeling a little better and the buffet lunch had some bland foods that helped. While on breaks, we tried to get someone to tell us where we should go to shop for souvenirs. No one seemed to know. A few said Charminar, the place they said was too dangerous to shop the day before. It was very unhelpful. They finally said that one bus would be going shopping at a market that had a little of everything. My daughter was very excited to get her souvenirs that night so we wouldn’t have to figure it out the next day. Turns out they took us to the equivalent of a Wal-Mart with nothing worth buying. It was right down the street from our hotel. An annoying end to an annoying trip.
Saturday, we ubered out alone to a craft village we had read about. Turn out it was the perfect place to shop for local gifts. I’m not sure why no locals told us about it. We had several hours to buy local handicrafts and every left satisfied with their purchases. We then headed off to the airport where my daughter was flagged for extra security screening and our flight was held an hour after we boarded to wait for connecting passengers who were late. Thus led to our flight to DC from Delhi being held for the 30 or so of us who were late because our flight was held. Air India apparently has the policy to hold flights to accommodate connecting passengers who are late due to Air India. We made our fight(despite crazy, multiple security checks in Delhi airport) and made it back home. I’m finally starting to feel somewhat normal despite India’s attempt to kill me with trees and food.
I don’t have time or energy at the moment for a real write up of the rest of my trip to India. Instead, for now, I will share a few of the pictures I took our last few days there.
Statues from trip to museum
Views from Charminar Ramoji Film CityOutside the craft market
Doing this on my phone from the hotel room. Please excuse typos.
We arrived at our hotel in Hyderabad at 5:30 PM local time yesterday. We didn’t have much time to do anything at all. We walked around the hotel, discovered the pool is closed for renovations and ate at one of the hotel restaurants. We were all boring and got boring American type meals. We all slept pretty good and feel like we have adjusted to the time change somewhat.
Our first full day started with the very nice breakfast buffet at the hotel. American hotels need to adopt this model and offer nice hot breakfasts for guests. We then Ubered(with our Indian government guide) to Golconda Fort.
After the fort we took a break and spent some time reading and watching TV in the hotel. We then called our hosts about going out to the Birla Mandir temple. We again Ubered our with a guide and visited the temple. We were not allowed to take electronics in, so all I have are pictures from the outside after the visit.
We then walked down a the temple to the government offices of our hosts where our guide had someone waiting with a car to drive us around the lake and back to the hotel.
We braved the walk across the street(traffic is crazy here) to the mall for dinner at the food court.
Tomorrow the conference starts so likely no tourism. My daughter and I will probably browse the mall and explore the rest of the hotel neighborhood and then relax. The welcome dinner will follow.
Thursday and Friday the cultural programs begin and we will be on a tour bus full of government auditors from other countries.