My recharge day in Delhi was just what I needed – a bit of a gym, pool, reading for my project, fantastic massage and a nap. Highly recommend Westin in Gurgaon for airport stay, very professional and great service. Watch out for the high taxes though – 10% luxury tax and ~13% sales tax ramp up the bill a bit!
At noon, I ventured out to the airport again, for my domestic flight. I anticipated a mess so left a bit earlier, mostly because my original flight was cancelled, I was moved on a 330 pm one but got a message that it was moved to 240 pm – who changes a flight to earlier time?
Air India does. At the airport, I realized why I like rules – because they give you some level of predictability, clarity and transparency. At the counter, the rules got adjusted a bit as the 20 kg limit for luggage changed to 15 kg – well what a surprise. After a few faces and “are you serious” comments, it was suggested I take the 5 out and carry to the gate. Given I have mostly clothes for 3 weeks, full backpack of heavy stuff to make the 20 limit – that was not an option. Magically, a payment option was offered after all this back and forth – so for $12 the luggage became acceptable. Could have avoided a bit of a hassle from the beginning.
Airport is modern, not crowded and airy. I met my team at the gate and we got on our plane.
I spent the 2 hours on the plane talking to Ashish from IBM’s government affairs about the governmental structure as we are going to be working with the city – let’s just say it is not simple, enough said, my head was spinning.
The airport was interesting – it actually wasn’t an airport at all but an Indian air force base. We were warned not to take any pictures so this is my first picture right outside of the warehouse looking building. And a few pictures as we drove to our hotel (scroll over for description)
The drive felt as if we entered a city forgotten in time. This will definitely not be the metropolitan city type of India. Very old, very basic, lots of animals and kids running around – will explore more.
Our hotel welcome was traditional Indian, with flowers around our neck a bit of a bindhi/rice and then a small download of information about our package. We are staying in the only 4 stars hotel in Allahabad. The rooms are comfortable, with A/C, nice clean bathroom and a TV with bunch of mostly Indian channels. Free wifi for one device – so most of us keep logging out one and logging into the 2nd one – but no complaints. Sunday will be all preparation for Monday kick off and bunch of presentations so off to bed for everyone!