Monday, 6 December 2010

Friday 3rd/Saturday 4th December - Delhi/Varanasi


After only a short delay of an hour our flight took off. We were hoping the flight would be quiet and we would have a spare seat, no such luck.  Upon arrival in Doha we found a smoking room.  I had time for one quick ciggy before we boarded the next plane.

India Ghandi International airport had changed so much in just a year we hardly recognised it.  Clean, air conditioned and organised.  The only downside was that instead of coming outside the terminal and jumping into a car you now have to walk for miles to get to the multi storey car park.

We were taken to our hotel by a nice man called Francis who advised that Vinay, our travel agent would be meeting us there.  The Star Rock hotel in South Delhi was very nice, clean rooms with large flat screen on the wall with cable tv.  The bathroom was so state of the art we had to have lessons on how to use the taps and shower.

After travelling for 19 hours we were tired and a bit wiffy.  After a quick sluice in the ultra modern shower we were ready for a good long nap.  Of course as our heads hit the pillows Vinay called us on the internal phone to say he was here.  We said our hellos handed over payment for our trip and give him his present of two bottle of Glenfiddich chatted for a while and decided to meet up in the morning to go over the itinerary.

We went back to our room for our longed for nap.  After a few hours we woke up and as instructed, called our friend Gurdip who lives in Delhi.  We were expecting to meet his sons, see his dogs and go for something to eat.  However, Gurdip neglected to tell us that we would be attending an engagement party.  We were dressed for Delhi not Delhi society.  Will was wearing cammo shorts and a tee shirt proclaiming “Dos Chevesas por favor” with an attractive picture of two pints on it.  I was a little better for a change not wearing cammos.

We went to Gurdip’s house and were surprised at the size, the lounge was huge, as big as the ground floor of our whole house.  We greeted a chap at the door warmly as we thought he was a family member, he turned out to be a servant.  Gudip’s mum was an amazing lady who kept us entertained whilst the boys showered and put on their good suits. 

We drove to this fantastic venue with hundreds of people dressed to the nines.  On our way there Gurdip came up with the idea of telling people that our luggage had not arrived.  We were greeted warmly by the families.  There were so many staff bringing fantastic nibbles constantly.  Then came the ring ceremony where the affianced were on a large stage under a beautiful canopy of pink silk.  After the ceremony the bar was opened. 

Gudip was pouring Chivas Regal down Will like there was no tomorrow.  Luckily all the food soaked most of it up.  The evening was a little chilly, I was glad I bought a cardie as then Gurdip advised us that food would be served outside.  We thought the nibbles were the food!

Outside there must have been at least 100 staff serving all manner of food.  There were two massive salad stations, pasta, bread being cooked while you wait and various chairs and sofas to sit at.  We had a big plateful of food and then went back to the party.  The females from the girl’s side of the family did a dance and then the bride danced on her own.  There followed more dancing and drinking.  Some of the dresses were amazing, covered in rhinestones and tiny glittering jewels it really was a spectacular sight to see.

By midnight we were flagging badly so Gurdip drove us back to the hotel where we slept the sleep of the dead until 9am on Sunday morning.

We had a good breakfast then met Vinay.  Our flight to Varanasi was delayed so we spent a few hours at the airport eating some of the best samosas you have ever tasted.  Finally the flight was called so we went and queued at the gate.  It turned out they had changed the gate so we were in the wrong queue.  We found the right gate and joined the queue.  This again turned out to be the wrong queue but finally we made it. 

After a short flight we arrived in Varanasi and were taken to our hotel.  The Hotel Industan International.  We unpacked our bags and were ready for a cup of tea.  A sign in our room proclaimed that tea/coffee making facilities were available on request.  Not our request though, lucky we brought our trusty kettle.  The next problem was the sockets are not the same here as in Delhi and our adapters didn’t work.  We again called housekeeping who brought us a four way adapter with a blown fuse.  Once more the poor man came back with another adapter and it worked, we were able to have tea.

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