India’s Airports and All Trip Hotels

We have exchanged reviews of hotels with many other travelers which has been quite valuable. We’ve also had a couple of e-mail requests for suggestions in various places so I’ve compiled a separate web page discussing accommodation and reviewing hotels for our complete trip. It is: http://hotels.jamesworld.ca Many of the places we’ve been to are empty still, but Claudette and I will work on that over the next several weeks. There are a few different managed websites that allow users to rate places as well. We haven’t done any yet, but Claudette plans to put some in at: http://www.tripadvisor.com

The airports here in Delhi (and probably most of the rest of India) are what I would consider to be a disaster. The international terminal (we saw arrivals only) is small, enormously crowed and a complete unorganized madhouse of taxis, hawkers and scoundrels outside. Even late at night when we arrived, there was such an immense throng of crowded people that it was very difficult to find our pre-arranged guide. After he called the driver, it took another 25 minutes or so for the car to get close enough to the exit to pick us up.

We just went through domestic boarding for our flight to South India, and it was a similar madhouse. First of all, there are two separate terminals for domestic departures not close enough together to walk in between with baggage. Actually, robust go-getters probably could walk the just under 1km distance, but there is no allowances for foot traffic. It would be absolutely suicidal to attempt this without a protective car body around you. Once you figure out which of the two domestic terminals you are going to (it’s not marked on the tickets!) more pushing and fighting begins. In the foyer of the terminal are the ticket counters of the various airlines. We had to go through a secure door first to get to the check-in counters area. First in this area though each airline has a checked baggage X-ray. At the check-in counter all carry-on pieces are given special tags that must be filled out and attached. Security is a crowded unorganized affair starting with two long lines. Women are taken in separately on the left side, and at the front since there are so few of them traveling. As with all security screenings so far, (at airports & monuments) they are checked behind a curtained wall by other women. The men have two badly overloaded x-ray machines for carry-on baggage and jackets. Trays are only begrudgingly offered, and everyone is asked to put their cell phones and personal effects in their bags. This is to prevent theft on the other side, since the lineups for walk-throughs are much longer and bags will sit unattended for a few (or several!) minutes while people go through the body pat-down. After the mad zoo that is security, the noisy and crowded (but thankfully smoke free) waiting room sits, taunting you to find two seats together, (much less four). There are no planes at all that dock at the domestic terminals, so every goes to and fro by tarmac bus.

Delhi is constructing a new airport in time for them hosting the 2010 Commonwealth Games. This will combine all terminals and passenger services into one building thankfully. Driving by it, I have my doubts that it will be completed (and the old ones demolished, cause they’re in the way) in the next thirty months, but I guess we’ll see. When fully completed and operational, they will have a whole bunch of buses looking for a new home. Actually, there are quite a number of new projects on the go for the 2010 games. Very similar to Beijing (who are in the frantic last six months of construction projects before hosting the Aug 2008 Olympics) there is large scale construction everywhere. Subways, hotels, roads and raised expressway construction are constant headaches to the already extremely chaotic traffic.

One Response to “India’s Airports and All Trip Hotels”

  1. Tim says:

    Hi gang – it was great to talk to you all yesterday. Wonderful to hear your voices again.

    Rick, I took your message yesterday and started posting on the friends blog. Perhaps you cna do a post on this blog about the friends blog and provide a link to it so people know where to find it and what it is for. i am trying to not only use it as a communications tool to stay in touch, but also as a way of sending you guys news links that may be of interest to you all.

    I plan to have Ian and Gracie write some posts on the friends blog for the kids.

    Take a peek…