India: Immediate First Impressions

I landed in Hyderabad India just a few short hours ago and here are some of the things that immediately stood out:

  • Everyone here is super nice — I knew that coming into this trip, but I figured it was worth calling out. 
  • Immediately stepping out from the airport, the air felt warm and tropical, but there was a scent in the air that smelled as though something was burning — more like incense than anything particularly unpleasant.
  • They drive on the left side of the road — I should’ve guessed knowing that they were colonized by the Brits — but who knew?!
  • The cars are tiny (like most of the rest of the world) but the trucks are HUGE! The cabs of the trucks remind me of a NYC Garbage Truck, much taller and wider than Tractor Trailers in the US with huge glass windows and no doors.
  • Speaking of trucks, many of them have colored lights on the side of them — including a few that looked like they had Christmas lights on the side.
  • I had been warned that people drive crazy, but I didn’t quite know what that meant. Essentially, people will drift in and out of lanes and they generally honk when they’re passing because they want the person to not drift into their lane. I haven’t seen any elephants on the road yet, though.
  • As strange as this might sound, the commercial area I passed reminded me a lot of burning man. Everyone on motor bikes (rather than bicycles), people clustered together riding in groups and sitting on the back, people walking in the middle of the road, tiny little cars that I’d consider mutant vehicles, against a desert-like backdrop where many of the stores are light up with christmas lights and other glowing things to catch your attention. It’s reminiscent of Black Rock City without the booming techno soundtrack.
  • Security was really tight at my hotel. They searched the car for bombs and then upon entering the hotel I had to go through a metal detector and my bags were x-rayed. The hotel is gorgeous, though.
  • The gentleman at the front desk brought my luggage up to my room and he walked inside with me and insisted that I sit down at the desk while he told me all about the hotel and its amenities for 5 minutes. I felt slightly uncomfortable.

I’ve only been here a few hours and it’s already been an interesting trip. I’m not quite sure what to do with myself now though — I’m not exactly sleepy, but I’m exhausted from travelling… Oh well. That’s Jet Lag for ya.

India Trip Report: JFK to Dubai

I figured I’d do a little blogging while I’m on this two-week work trip to Hyderabad, India as part of my “Trip report.” I feel like I do most of my blogging while I’m traveling — but whatever. Anyway..

I took off yesterday morning at 10am from JFK headed to HYD by way of Dubai. The flight on Emirates Airlines was amazing. Each seat was equipped with a TV with 2,000 channels, hundreds of movies, music, and everything else you could imagine. For each section of four seats, there were 2 power adapters and each seat came with its own USB port for charging (Brilliant!)
One of the coolest features, though, was channel that let you switch between three cameras that were mounted on the outside of the plane to see what was going on outside. Having just about the whole row to myself, I had one TV permanently set to the Tail Camera to see what was going on outside.

With all the film choices, I ended up watching Looper first. I’ve been infatuated with this concept and was really excited to sit down to watch it. I fell asleep 2/3 the way through. Go figure.

I woke up about an hour later and ended up watching a few other films: “Deadfall”, which I rather enjoyed, and “Safety Not Guaranteed” — a clever comedy about a guy that took out a classified ad looking for partner to go back in time with. I think this one was my favorite.

The Dubai Airport is quite nice. I’ve never been to an arab country before and while I would’ve liked to have taken a quick tour of the city, I didn’t feel like I really had enough time and didn’t want to risk missing my flight.