We left home at 6:40 on Tuesday morning, October 2, Gandhi's birthday. This trip has become quite routine for us. It is about one hour and 20 minutes from our house to the Clarion Inn at Michigan City, where we can park our car and leave it (yes, free for two months!). The CoachUSA bus leaves from there at 20 past the hour throughout the day. [That leaves enough time to get a cup of coffee or tea at the gas station nearby.] We try to get an early bus, checking into our flight before the crowds get there. It does mean a wait at the airport, and O'Hare's International Terminal is NOT the best place to wait around. Inside security there are no restaurants or bars, just some kiosks with sandwiches, magazines and Chicago tchochkes. At checkin, our nice clerk offered to change our seats from two aisles to a side window/aisle combination without a middle seat, so we did it. This plane is a 3-3-3 configuration and last spring we took to aisle seats on the middle group, which meant no climbing over anyone (or having them climb over us). There is only one place with two seats on the side, at the back of the middle section. But the seats reclines as much as any do and it was nice not to be next to other people. I brought my First Class Sleeper this time and found it really helped my comfort level. I've had it a few years and used it once but hadn't bothered to bring it after that. Since I've developed some back issues, I figure it is best to do everything I can to be comfortable.
Immigration and luggage pickup were fairly quick at the airport, which had signs advertising IGI (Indira Gandhi International) Airport as the number two airport in the world! The new terminal is certainly a tremendous improvement over the old.
Coming out of the airport we crossed the first traffic lane to the official pre-paid taxi booth. For the princely sum of Rs. 350 (ca. $7) we got a rickety old Maruti minivan to bring us to our hotel. This time we are staying in Dan's favorite place in Paharganj, the Cottage Yes Please. The rate is only Rs. 1000 per night, including A/C and internet.
We settled into our room, showering and getting out the necessary items for two nights here. (Packing carefully means only having to open one of our two large suitcases before we get to Mussoorie!) For supper, we went about a block away to a hole in the wall where we had veg thalis. Sorry, forgot to take the camera or the iPod. Probably still a bit dazed from the trip (good excuse, anyway).
We both slept quite well (with a little pharmaceutical help). As usual in Delhi, Dan went out around 6:00 this morning to pick up some freshly made chai. He brings it back in a plastic bag. This hotel doesn't provide glasses, so we bought two glass mugs last evening. We are both quite addicted to having chai first thing in the morning wherever we are!
There are two small restaurants right across the street from Cottage Yes Please (love that name!). We went to the Malhotra this morning. There were a few tables outside on the street, but it was noisy and busy. We prefer the relative peace and quiet inside on the lower level.
Many, many tourists are in this area, known for its inexpensive lodgings. The menu is quite international.
But we like our porridge. Here it comes with bananas and honey, very nice. Unfortunately, a photo of a bowl of porridge isn't all that appetizing! Porridge here is almost always dalia, cracked wheat. This was cooked with milk and was very tasty and satisfying. Chai and buttered toast rounded out the meal. Now we are ready to face the day!