Welcome to My Blog

This contains snippets of my journeys from the most mundane to the most exciting. This will contain some reviews as well, mostly of hotels and places visited. At times, this could be filled with gripes and frustrations but in all, it will most likely show how truly fascinating life is from my vantage point. My personal mantra, however troubled or distorted things may seem to most, is rooted from the movie "3 Idiots" - - All is Well. Thus, I am a fervent believer of limitless possibilities. Live well. Cheers!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

My India Adventure...One Down in my Bucket List

We recently took a trip to India (early October 2011) because our family friend and co-worker, Ms. Alice, won two tickets to India. When I found out that  she and my sister would go, I literally begged them to bring me along.  They asked my mom if she could sponsor me on this trip and she did (thank God) and so our 2 days one night stay in India began.  I know right, how is that possible?  Let me discuss the details shortly.


Premier Inn

Since Philippine Airlines had a strike and many of its employees walked out on them, our flight got delayed by a day. When we finally flew to India with a stopover in Bangkok, Thailand, we arrived at the airport at approximately 1 am and reached our budget hotel, Premier Inn http://global.premierinn.com/in/hotels/our-rooms.action in Delhi 40 minutes after. The hotel, being a budget hotel is not so big but its pretty new and decent. Our modest room had one queen size bed and one extra bed.  The entire place was purple inspired - - the hotel design, the uniforms of the staff, the linens, even the ballpen color is purple. The bathroom is clean with towels, toiletries, and hot and cold water so this being said, its a good place to go to especially when you are on a tight budget.
We even took some room photos before hitting the sack.
Our beauty rest lasted for about 3 hours because we had to wake up and prepare for our tour of Delhi. But before that, we got to take our breakfast at their restaurant, Linx. Its a modest buffet breakfast with limited choices of Indian dishes, western dishes, bread, butter, cheese, and coffee/tea, juice, cereal, and fruits. Nonetheless, the ambiance was clean and modern plus the food servers tried their best to be attentive to our needs.
The places we got to visit on this day were as follows: the India Gate, a memorial built in memory of the soldiers who died in world war I, Raj Ghat where the creamation of Mahatma Gandhi took place (I am not so sure about this one), Qutb Minar, the highest stone tower in India buld in the 12th Century by Qutubuddin Aibek, Jama Masjid, the largest Mosque in India and Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Mahatma Gandhi near the India Gate


Maan got some herbal meds from this Ayurvedic Doctor

India Gate
We seem to have accomplished a lot in one day.  My sister and Ms. Alice were telling me that never in their wildest dreams did they imagine visiting India but this is definitely one down in my Bucket list as I have been dreaming of going here for the longest time, having been an Asian History teacher back in the day (limitless possibilities in action here).
My sister and I at Qutb Minar
My solo shot at the Jama Masjid

What is so funny is that while we were taking photos of ourselves in these different locations, there were Indian locals who were also taking our photos using their cameras or cellphones.  We were a bit surprised but maybe they found us interesting (perhaps alien-like...ET phone home, twilight zone-ish interesting) as we find India (and them...there, I said it) interesting.That evening, we had a full day's rest. The day and night flew by so fast because next thing we knew, it was already day time and we had to travel far to Taj Mahal and Agra Fort.

The Taj Mahal which is made of marble is the resting place of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan. This structure was built by Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal who died during childbirth. This was built in 22 years by approximately 20,000 skilled workers.

The Agra Fort, on the other hand, was built in 1565 by Akbar and was later expanded by his son Jahangir and grandson Shah Jahan.

Agra Fort - - Ms. Alice with our
Tour Guide, Bigotilyo (harhar)

Taj Mahal - - Inside Taj Mahal, some of the marbles glow in the dark.
If you will notice in the photos, it seems cold in India but in our trip, it was really hot and we were fanning ourselves like crazy.  Still, we noticed that locals were mostly clad in formal wear.  Men were wearing pants and polos (short sleeves and long sleeves). Women were in colorful long dresses. Some dresses were even shiny. Cows were everywhere because cows are deemed sacred. Most of the locals, especially in the stores we visited, were quite good in the English language so there is no such barrier in terms of this. However, some of the vendors were really persuasive and would peddle their wares to us insistently. According to our guide, the way to deal with these people is to give them a stern look in the face with a matching hard enunciation of the word "NO". This was difficult for me because I am usually very cordial (a Filipino inherent trait). Still, it might be necessary to go this direction because Indian vendors are a persistent lot. We also got to visit other places before finally heading back to Delhi for dinner and then to the Airport.

This guy is creating a design out of marble stone.
This is one example of a marble art piece.
Some parts glow in the dark.
A dancer and a musician (probably his dad) outside
the restaurant where we had lunch
Overall, India is fascinating.  Its culture is really evident everywhere and people are very religious (with so many effigies of their gods everywhere). The caste system still exists and according to the driver I interviewed, it is still based on their surnames (Brahman, warrior caste, merchant caste, etc.) but people are gradually becoming more liberal about it...well, at least the younger generations. India has great potential as there are so many smart people here (from what I heard in Cupertino where many engineering geniuses are Indian). 
So that is how our 2 days and one overnight stay ends.  It was a quick but long journey as well as an experience of a lifetime. Now, off to Mesopotamia (Parts of Syria, Turkey, and Iraq) and China, the other earliest civilizations.

2 comments:

  1. Awesome blog! Hope you bring me next time to Mesopotamia (Is that Iran now?) Can't wait to read more of your traveling adventures...

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  2. what a great experience!! Happy to know that you have fulfilled another dream trip... and what a treat to be able to do it with your sister and as a gift from your mom :)

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