Uh, hey there. Although we’re starting off slow, 2011 is actually shaping up to be a great year for CCC, so bear with us and stay tuned for more great stuff!
As mentioned in a previous post, my passport’s first action in 2011 was for a whirlwind two week trip to India and Nepal. The trip was a first for many reasons – first time in two new Indian cities, first time taking a trip with more air segments than you can count on one hand (or maybe two), and first time in the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal. As usual during my work trips to India, I tried to make time for at least one new and exciting adventure in each city. Here are some highlights from 12 days and 4 cities in India:
- Bangalore – With a whole day free of work obligations, and an old friend/former colleague in the “San Diego of India”, I was looking forward to some new sights. We ended up taking a three-hour car ride out of Bangalore to the ancient palace at Mysore. Conclusion: Mysore = Indian Disney
- Hyderabad – I spent a few days in the city by the lake in 2009 and saw the major tourist sights, but this stay was a brief 24 hours. The highlight of Hyderabad is definitely the billboards, though. It was tough to snap pictures as the car whizzed by in traffic, but throughout the city I spotted a sign advertising a Bryan Adams Indian tour as “the greatest singalong concert of all time” (it could be true), one for a Bollywood movie made by Disney (who knew?), and a sign for a public toilet that was handpainted on a piece of wood and said “P & P Toilet Ltd.” Maybe I’m the only one that chuckles over a toilet operated by “P & P”, but I would be surprised.
- Pune – Again, only 24 hours in the city, but I was intrigued by the description the locals gave me as one of the most beautiful places in India. I’m sure people from every region will be quick to tell a visitor why their home is one of the most beautiful, but this story was actually corroborated by others in various cities. Something to consider for a future trip, perhaps.
- New Delhi – On a free afternoon in Delhi, I took the opportunity to go on a brand new adventure riding the Delhi metro. I was so pleasantly surprised that this is my new favorite recommendation for anyone planning travel to Delhi. The trains are air-conditioned and clean, the system is well-run and makes sense, and a day pass is very affordable even by Indian standards. In a city that can sometimes feel overwhelming to a pedestrian, the metro can be a welcome underground haven from the traffic, noise, and pollution above. By far the best part, and I’m immediately submitting this to the major transportation authorities in the U.S., is that every train on the Delhi metro has a special car at the front reserved for Ladies Only. I can take a breather from the Indian heat, get where I want to go, and be free from gawkers/gropers/heavy crowds? Sign me up!
- Ahmedabad – Interestingly, the entire state is dry. Alcohol is heavily taxed throughout India, but as far as I know, the state of Gujarat is the only place it’s banned outright. Something to keep in mind in case you’re planning on partying hard.
More to come on Nepal…