Saturday, October 27, 2007

In answer to the questions that have not been flooding in, i can say the trip is close to planned.

I leave dulles at 530pm on thursday november 1, and land in New Delhi at 1-something am on the 3rd, after stopping in Munich (2hrs at the lufthansa international first lounge will do much to revive me) and Frankfurt (5 hrs rejuvenation there). Did you know that munich was voted best airport in europe for the past three years? And that it is the fourth best airport in the world? I didn't either, but that's what they say at skytrax.
Unfortunately, the voting public doesn't think as highly of Del.

we fly into New Delhi, arriving about 90 minutes apart...give or take, considering we'll be on indian time.
My sister arrives first (1145p), and will be met by a driver, and then it's off to a hotel near the airport. I arrive at 115, will be met by the same person, and deposited at the same hotel. We'll be sharing a room most nights, but i told the agent (yes, i've had to use a travel agent) not that night.
Sometime before noon the next day, or at noon, it's off to Agra to see the taj mahal, the forts, the other tombs, and such. The next evening, we take the high speed train back to new delhi. Call me crazy, but there is no way I was going to visit India and not get on a train. We won't get the "whole experience," of course, we're not going to be on a slow, overcrowded, overheated train of the kind you've seen in movies....but i'll still be able to say I was on india rail.

We're in new delhi through the 7th, and then off mid -morning on the 8th (no choice in this ---we couldn't leave on the 7th after the meeting ends because the only flight left at 1030 am!) to Khajuraho, another unesco world heritage site (just like agra).Khajuraho is home to the love temples, 85 temples built between 950 and 1050 dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Jain patriarchs. (you'll notice that i'm trying not to offend the gods, and am remembering to capitalize their names, even if i can't be bothered with place names and the like!) Since I haven't been there yet, I can't speak about it with any authority. But, the state tourism board can: go here for more info.

Around noon the next day, we fly to Varanasi.NKK's trip ends on the 12th, so she doesn't have a lot of time to play tourist. When we started planning this jaunt, I asked what she really, really, really, REALLY wanted to see in India, and it was Varanasi, a city that's been an important religious and cultural center for thousands of years. Actually, it's one of the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. That, and a couple of other vague facts ( Varanasi is a city on the Ganges, and it is where the funeral pyres are set off. And that thousands of Hindi and Buddhist pilgrims flock there each year. ) sums up my pre-visit knowledge of Varanasi.

We stay in Varanasi 2 nights, and back to New Delhi and home for NKK, and on to Kathmandu for me.
I'll arrive late afternoon on the 11th, stay in central Kathmandu for the next two nights, and then go off to the royal chitwan national park, where i break the bank and stay at a lodge that "practices environmentally responsible and sustainable conservation tourism."

For years, I'd been saving my hilton hotel points, trying to get to the magic number of 180000, or 200000, or whatever it used to cost for the two person african safari. It was a great deal, a weeklong trip for two, all inclusive. And then, when i was only about 20k points short (less than it sounds, because i could have bought them for a couple hundred bucks), they discontinued the reward. With very little notice---by that, I mean that they left a very small window between the day they announced they were killing the award, and the last possible day you could reserve and actually go.
So, that was the last serious thought I'd given to any kind of safari. Until I started reading about Nepal, where a few of these still exist.

(that's one of my own photos, btw. I took it at a zoo in Australia a few years ago)

Then, back to Kathmandu for another day, before heading off to one last night in New Delhi, before getting on a plane at the relatively civilized hour of 10am. That's because I'm not able to take the more direct del-fra-iad option, I'm going back the way I came....except that I've now got a 20 hr layover in Fra. Which is pretty cool, because I may get a chance to visit with the meandering one.

And that's it.


Blogger Mony said...

(umm, think Goober)

8:04 PM  
Blogger Mony said...

Johnny says he hopes you get a 'new deli' sandwich.
I left the room before he could pun on Kathmandu.
we will obviously be thinking of you and waiting with bated breath for reports

10:26 PM  
Blogger jk said...

i was hoping to find a cooking class...but it doesn't look like that will happen

11:28 AM  

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