21 July – Melanie gets a Delhi special

We took the red eye flight to Delhi on Singapore Airlines departing at 2:15am and arriving in New Delhi at 5:20am.  It was cheap as we used frequent flyer miles to offset the majority of the cost.  I think Singapore Airlines was thrilled that we used the miles on such an awfully timed and empty flight.

After arrival, we hung out for a bit at a hotel around the corner from the airport (Waves Hotel, Rs2,500 for a room with a view of a brick wall out the bathroom window.  The hotel room itself doesn’t have a window).  We’ve been caught in “bandhs” (strikes) in India before where gangs enforce bans on anyone using any motorized transport.  The airplanes usually still run but you have to get a police escort or walk to get to the airport through the mobs.  We don’t want to walk too far.  At lunch time, we headed out to Delhi’s famous Connaught Place.  It is one of the two main circles of commerce in town.  Melanie wanted to buy a salwar kameez (Indian dress) and she had a recommendation that the place to get a good, reasonably priced one was at Fab India.  As expected, the traffic to Connaught Place was a mess but we were stunned to find out that the main reason for the extra congestion was that all of the roads in this central circle and those around it were torn up down to their dirt base.  In two and a half months, New Delhi will be hosting the Commonwealth Games and someone got the great idea to fix the roads all at once at the last minute.  Mind you that we have been told that many of the Games venues are not close to being ready now but the clever bureaucrats wanted to throw in a spanner to make completion harder.

Another reason for coming into town was to find a barber.  This wasn’t for me, it was for Melanie.  She had threatened to shave her head a few times before but she never could because her bosses would kill her.  A bald, female private banker just wouldn’t be professional, in their opinion.  Now that Melanie has been retired for a month, she is celebrating and demonstrating her independence by shaving her head.  We’ll be in India for five weeks and it should grow back by the time we get back to Singapore.  We hope.  It took a while to find someone willing to do it but I think the guy got a kick out of shaving the head of a foreign woman.

The view out our window in Delhi – nice, eh?

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