Earlier in the spring I made my first trip to India and the Philippines, traveling on business. To try to maximize our time while on the road, we planned an aggressive itinerary. We were either traveling, meeting or sleeping for most of the ten day trip. Our trip would take us from Charlotte, through London to our first city in India, Bangalore. We were in Bangalore for two days and then on to Hydrabod, and, finally, Delhi. Once we completed our business in India, we flew through Hong Kong to the Philippines. After a few days in the Philippines, we again flew back through Hong Kong and Chicago on our way back to Charlotte. All in all, we flew about 25,000 flight miles in 10 days.
We were told that we would not be allowed to rent a car, drive, get a cab or take public transportation, while in India, for safety and security purposes. We were assigned a driver to get us between locations. It become evident very quickly why having a driver would be very important. Apparently there are not any traffic laws and every type of vehicle (bikes, trikes, scooters, motorcycles, tuck tucks, cars, trucks, etc) shares the road. There are no “lanes” and very few stoplights. You basically fit your vehicle in wherever you can and constantly blow your horn. It reminded me of the start of a motocross race when everyone is scrambling for position on the first turn, but in India the scrambling is constant.
After a short car ride we arrived at our hotel. The Leela looks like an oasis in the middle of the urban jungle. The hotel has very lush greenery and very ornate metal and stone work. This hotel would rival any hotel that I have seen in any country. One additional thing became evident on our trip: security was very high everywhere we went. When entering the hotel, work, mall and some restaurants, you were required to go through airport-like security (bag screening and metal detectors, etc) Our car (even when it was the hotel car and hotel driver) was also screened before being allowed to pull up in front of the hotel.
More thoughts and photos in subsequent posts.