Wednesday, January 18, 2012

From Lucknow to Delhi

Sign at the Lucknow Airport

Very Yummy Food! 



We had a mid-afternoon flight (delayed by fog for a about an hour) back to Delhi. The airport in Lucknow is not a world destination airport. In fact most people we talk to our surprised we went to Lucknow. We enjoyed the history and architecture and the extreme traffic congestion (since we weren’t driving and didn’t have to arrive anywhere at a specific time). In Lucknow we often had a feeling that we were being stared at. It must be unusual for them to see a small group of American tourist.



A word about the New Delhi Airport, built for last years Commonwealth Games. It is fabulous. It is probably the nicest airport we have ever been in. It is very efficient and clean. Two adjectives not usually associated with India. It is a pleasure to transit through it.



We returned to the Imperial Hotel in Delhi. It is magnificent. After checking in, and a quite comical interlude reminiscent of the Marx Brothers, where we needed to pool some money, and got totally confused who had given what to whom; we proceeded to our rooms and then down to the bar for drinks.


Courtney and Ferris, whom we are travelling with, will proceed to the South of India, where we will eventually meet, we will be travelling on to Rajasthan and a literary festival in Jaipur. Courtney / Ferris decided to have a light dinner and a massage, Cathy and I decided to go out to a restaurant that the concierge had recommended on our last stay here located in South Delhi. We took a taxi and drove the 30 minutes through Delhi traffic to the restaurant. The driver as expected, asked us how long would dinner take, he would wait for us. We agreed to meet him in two hours.

The restaurant is named Keya-Kainoosh and is located next to the most upscale mall in Delhi. After going through security to enter the mall, you are in an environment that could be anywhere in newly rich countries. All the names you would expect to see on Rodeo Drive: Gucci, Armani, Tom Ford, etc. These malls could be interchangeable. I guess people like Labels that are easy to recognize. There were a few Indian equivalent luxury stores in the mall. After surveying and not buying anything we proceeded to dinner.

The restaurant was of the Indian Glam variety. It had very flashy architecture. The food was truly great. We started with a quite large lobster appetizer then proceed to a vegetarian dinner. Great rice, black dal, rice pilla and naan. We had plenty of left over food and we asked them to pack it for us. We met our taxi driver waiting for us as promised, and gave him what I am sure is the most expensive dinner he has ever eaten. He probably thought later that night when he ate it, why do Americans like such bland food. Oh well.

The traffic was much lighter returning to the Imperial as we sped through Delhi. Tomorrow we get picked up for our flight at noon. A few hours in the morning for some sort of Delhi treat!

Cathy and I have been taking Hindi lessons. We will never be able to converse with anyone, but we try to drop Hindi words into our English conversation with the Indians. They are usually surprised and amused. I don’t know why, but they speak very, very (bahut in Hindi) fast. They must speak more sounds per second then any other race! We can read Hindi and it is fun reading the signs. Interestingly many Hindi words are simply the English words transliterated into Hindi. So as we sound out the letters we are saying an English word. This is especially true in advertisements. 


For example the Bank of Baroda (the 3rd largest bank in India is written in Hindi as:

बैंक ऑफ़ बड़ौदा


But when spoken these letters actually sound as "Bank of Baroda".

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