Bhutan

Thursday 10/04/07 - Arrival in Delhi

The flight went quickly and before we knew it, we woke up to a breakfast of croissants, Knott's berry jelly, and orange juice. We looked at the loud guy and the woman next to him seemed to be ignoring him. It was pleasantly quiet. Craig said jokingly "See, they slept together and now they aren't speaking." The coffee was horrible. Craig said, "Tom Waits says it's getting harder and harder to find a bad cup of coffee. He ought to try flying coach!" Craig was on a roll this morning! We laughed and said "We ought to get a notebook to write down these gems" (a reference to a recent episode of King of the Hill).

We landed at Heathrow at 6:45 am. We deplaned and got into the security line for our connecting flight on Air India. The staff were adamant that you could only take one piece of carry-on luggage per person,and that included a purse. I needed my purse, but all of my emergency clothes and toiletries were in my backpack, so I did a panicky shuffle, pawning off some of the bulk into Craig's backpack. I managed to stuff my purse into my backpack so I was down to one piece of luggage. Nothing said anything about water bottles, and we had our full $3 water bottles in our backpacks. This was apparently a no-no and marked us for special hand-searching. We were getting nervous because this was taking a while and we had no seat assignments as of yet. It would be a long flight and we wanted to be able to sit together as comfortably as possible.

We got to the Air India counter to get our seat assignments. There was only one person in front of us in the line, but he took forever. We made a mental note (and not for the last time) that we would hate being contestants on The Amazing Race. This kind of logistical stress is the worst thing about travel, in our opinions. We had no trouble getting two seats together near a window, which was quite a relief. We sat in the common waiting area. While there, I shuffled some of my stuff so that I would have a little pouch of essentials (camera, journal, etc.) to keep at my feet on the flight, while putting my bulky backpack in the overhead compartment. Our gate was announced and we headed over to it. The flight was late boarding, and bags were randomly hand-searched on the gangway. The flight had lots of empty seats.

At 10:30 am we were still at the gate. They served orange juice before the flight even took off. After takeoff, they came around with drinks (we opted for more orange juice) and two packets of Ghasitaram's Premium Quality Namkeen containing gram pulse, lentils, gram flour, peanuts, and peas. It was a spicy mixture, quite unlike any other airplane snack we had ever eaten. Soon afterwards they served the meal. The flight attendant was saying something I couldn't decipher. It turned out to be "Veg or N/Veg?" (meaning vegetarian or not). We chose the "N/Veg" option, which was chicken curry with basmati rice, potato, veggie mixture, salad, sour yogurt, a roll, and badami Phirni (a dessert like the Afghani pudding we had had in the past - it was like a white pudding with pistachios on top). They also served tasty tea.

We watched our progress on the map on the TV monitor. We took naps and before we knew it, another meal had arrived. It was a cold "grilled cheese and veg" sandwich, mandarin orange yogurt, a Kit Kat bar, fresh fruit, a banana muffin, and a cup of tea. There was so much food that we couldn't eat it all. They came around with coffee, which I didn't want. I said, "No thank you" but I think they focused on the thank you rather than the no, and I got it anyway. We passed through all kinds of crazy timezones in the areas around Afghanistan and Pakistan. I filled out the paperwork (landing card and customs card).

We landed at around 11:20 pm, breezed through immigration, and waited until around midnight for our luggage to show up. We had a pimped-out luggage cart as opposed to the more ghetto ones which I stood near as we waited for the luggage. I had to keep moving as they were wheeling line after line of carts and storing them right where I was standing. Our luggage was some of the last off the plane, but at least it arrived! Cheesy muzak versions of already cheesy '70's songs were playing in the airport. There were interesting colorful tourism posters, and I really liked the ad campaign.

We exited the baggage claim area to a sea of people on either side of the walkway. I saw a sign with our name on it from the Radisson. We met Bohara, a very nice gentleman who immediately took our luggage cart, went to get the nice car, and picked us up at the curb right outside the airport. The air was cloudy with smog and pollution and smelled of something (tires?) burning. It was 86 degrees at midnight. Bohara drove us to the short distance to the hotel. On the ride he chit-chatted with us and tried to teach us some Hindi. We told him about our itinerary and he said he's from Assam, "a couple of hours' run" from the Bhutanese border.

We got to the Radisson hotel at around 12:30 am. There were two sets of doors to the hotel. The doorman, all decked out in traditional clothes, opened the first set for us. We opened the second set ourselves, which made him all flustered. We could tell this would be a fancy place. The lobby was quiet and calm. I was a bit surprised at the patriarchal treatment we got, even when it is a female desk clerk. I am the one who handles paperwork and I have an easier time with accents, but they automatically address Craig and even hand him back my credit card. When we checked in the woman at the desk gave me a yellow rose. We were shown to our upgraded business room (364), which was delightful. It was air conditioned and smelled like flowers. There was a red rose on the bed and a Gerber daisy on the desk. We had complimentary water and amenities such as a TV, minibar, and coffee maker. Although we would only be here for a few hours before heading back to the airport, we really needed to take the time to shower. It was a very pleasant experience, and we were glad we had taken Toni at Myths and Mountains' advice and gotten a hotel room rather than camping out at the airport.
Lobby, Delhi Radisson

Lobby, Delhi Radisson

Weary traveler with a yellow rose

Weary traveler with a yellow rose

Room 364, Delhi Radisson

Room 364, Delhi Radisson

Room 364, Delhi Radisson

Room 364, Delhi Radisson



Previous Day Trip Overview



Back to Craig and Steph's Vacations
Next Day

Read our guest book   Guest book Sign our guest book
Please send any questions or comments to steph@craigandstephsvacations.com All photographs and text copyright 1996-Present www.craigandstephsvacations.com except where noted.