Sunday, October 2, 2011

A great start to our trip to India

This blog will contain posts about our trip to India for the next few weeks. Hold your seat belts for what I hope will be some interesting write-ups.

We left Toronto on 28 September on our Jet Airways flight - a little taste of India right from the start. Wonderful service, full length beds, and attentive service "Would you like some pajamas for your sleep?"

We arrived at the modern Delhi airport where we travelled seemingly endless moving walkways and were picked up by our driver - we're to be pampered by our tour company, who will drive us everywhere and accompany us with guides. We drove down Embassy Row on a wide boulevard with, amazingly, virtually no traffic. Of course, it was 10:30 at night! We first noticed that the lane separation lines were mostly used as a guide for where the middle of the car should be!

At the famous Imperial Hotel, we were greeted by a tall turbaned doorman and escorted into the beautiful lobby, and seated in the lobby sitting room to 'complete the formalities'. There were carnations everywhere in densely packed arrangements and little pots burning scented oil, including in our room, although we had to put that in the hall to enable Wayne to keep breathing!

The Imperial Hotel could well be an art museum, as the walls of restaurants, corridors and guest rooms are hung with hundreds of paintings, mostly by British artists during the Raj. We had been to an exhibit in Toronto about India which featured several of these paintings. The display in the hotel was stunning in its volume. It made walking down the hallways quite a slow process because we kept stopping to gaze.

The Imperial made me feel as if I was some high-ranking Brit from the days the Raj. I had but to look at the elevator and start moving toward it, and someone would rush over to push the button. At the sumptuous buffet breakfast in the 1911 Restaurant (named for the year the British moved the capital from Calcutta to Delhi), waiters whisked away plates faster than you could blink an eye. And when we ate in the restaurant in the evening, service was actually over the top - simply too many waiters and too many people stopping by to ask how everything was. It was a very interesting experience and one which gave some insight into the period of the British Raj.

No comments: