Groggy, but here. Well, most of us. One of our compatriots was delayed 5 hours in Dubai and missed his flight to Raipur. Then the two airlines fought over who had to issue a new ticket. But it is sorted out now and he’ll be here soon.
I can’t decide which is worse: being crammed into an airplane with your feet swelling, your knees complaining from not moving, people encroaching on your space, wanting to sleep but it’s impossible and accidentally ruining your head phones – but at least know that you are moving closer to your goal – or waiting interminably on a layover. I think my vote might be on the layover.
Today is all about settling in. Well, that, and the first few shocking moments of riding in a car in Raipur. Imagine a very narrow road, one lane in either direction. Your driver is driving down the middle of the road, honking as he passes slower vehicles going in the same direction as you: bicycles, overladen mopeds, rickety auto-rickshaws. One the other side of the car, the same collection of vehicles drives in the opposite direction. And in front of you are two cars driving side-by-side down the middle of the road towards you. The same middle of the road, I might add, that your car is currently occupying. And then, just to add color, 2 cows and a water buffalo wander out into the middle of the road. The only thing that can be said for it is that at least they don’t drive too quickly. If the same thing were happening on a road in Russia, there would be head-on collisions at 90 km or more per hour. But so far here I haven’t seen any accidents. They all seem to understand the language of the honking and they figure out who has to slow down or pull over.
Anyway, the hotel is very nice, and very security conscious. When our car pulled up to the hotel gate, the guards checked underneath for bombs, and we all went through a weapons scanner before entering the hotel. The nearby mall also has a weapons scanner. I’m not sure what that says about the possibility for violence in Raipur; I can’t tell if it’s because they really do have something to worry about or if it is more a kind of security theater.
The hotel room is lovely though. And everyone is very nice.
**Edited to add: Bruce reminded me of the hotel bombing in Mumbai a few years ago, and Shruti confirmed that all the 5-star hotels do this now. Even the mall does it. So I guess that is why we are staying in the Hyatt and not Hotel Babylon as originally planned.