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Friday, June 30, 2006

The guy at Champaign's Indian grocery store was right: Delhi and Champaign are different!

It is very difficult not to say that India is just like the movies when you're staying in the Taj Mahal hotel. And when you turn on the tv you instantly see two super-recognizable faces (Johny Lever and Farida Jalal, for those of you who are interested).

Flight was long but passed in a snap. Customs easy. Airport big. Left airport to feel a wall of heat - really just like opening the oven door, I know that's trite but it's true - and then glasses fogging up on the a/c bus. Saw both dogs and cows by the side of the road immediately upon hitting the highway out of the airport, as well as a snack bar with posters of Aishwarya Rai drinking Coke. Autorickshaws, scooters, trucks with handpainted signs (and one with a series of pictures of movie stars along the door - perhaps Salman Khan is good for overtaking?), Ambassadors. And fireworks off in the distance.

Hotel is posh and dignified beyond all sense. Literally. We were greeted with fresh lime juice and garlands of jasmine, which I never want to be without ever again. When you put your key card in a slot by the door, the music turns on. The curtains are automated. There were fresh flowers on our pillows and little cards of beautiful stationery printed with a quote by Keats about the joys of sleep. And a candle. And slippers. And the hugest bath towels I've ever seen. And a marble tub. And architectural fragments displayed on the walls. And a sweeping marble staircase down to the pool. And a marble fountain, two floors, with floating flowerse and candles. And. And. And. I really am not a hotel princess but this is beyond anything I could even imagine. And I have been greeted and "ma'am-ed" more times than I can count and it's only 9 in the morning. I do not feel worthy of staying here.

I realize how stereotypical all of this sounds, and believe me it frustrates me that I don't have something more nuanced to say, but every word of it is true. A group of us are getting ready to go to the National Crafts Museum; we have no idea where it is, but we figure a taxi ride through the city will be a treat no matter how circuitous the route.

Good morning India!


At 7:51 AM, Blogger babasko said...

Ok, now my shade of envy about your trip to india just turned into very very green. i´ve been dreaming of staying at a Taj hotel forever....

have fun, take pictures

At 11:07 PM, Blogger t.HYPE said...

That sounds absolutely fabulous. Reminds me of Pretty Woman in a way...

At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow wow wow.


- Rachel


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