Saturday, February 18, 2012

Around the World: Making Plans

February 18, 1992

When I finally emerged from my cardboard box this morning, it was after 8am. Most cities in India have their own unique night time sounds and Delhi is no different. Last night's noises included gun shots and general localized unrest. Sounds that aren't particularly comforting knowing that the thickness of about 50 sheets of paper are all that stands between me and the goings-on outside.

Connaught Place looks very organized on a map and appears quite orderly on arrival, but it's a veritable maze of office buildings and businesses. It's very easy to get disoriented, something the locals are well aware of. Tempting as it was to be charged a small fee to be willingly led astray, I declined several offers and managed to find Singapore Air's airline office.

Don't let the straight lines fool you. 

The clerk I spoke to gave me a quote of $1900 to reroute my ticket, all the reason I needed to look for an alternative. Next door is the office for Gulf Air. The clerk bobbled his head and refused to help me without proof of my non-existent husband's approval. Yet another reason why I feel the need to change my ticket.

By accident, I found myself across the street from Cathay Pacific's office. The very nice female clerk explained that she could change my flight, but if I went to Emirates Air, I would get a better price. She was right.

A departure from Delhi International Airport spares me the long and arduous journey by train back to Bombay.  My new travel plans include two brief airport transfers, one in Muscat, Oman and another in Bahrain... 

New travel arrangements.

...until I am greeted by the ancient Pyramids in Cairo, Egypt!

I am a whirled up bundle of bliss and joy.  Just when I think this day can't possibly get any better, across the street, tucked behind another building, is the sign for "Wimpy's".  Hell ya, I'm getting me a  B U R G E R!

In India, the cow is a sacred animal so I'm not completely discouraged when I see the menu is reworked to accommodate the absence of beef.  The order queue is kept orderly by metal rails so the masses cannot crowd the counter.  Employees are dressed in garish orange uniforms.  My burger is made from 100% lamb, on a white, squishy bun with all the trimmings, even wrapped in that plastic feeling paper.  Michael Jackson is blaring through the speaker system.  It's west as best as India can recreate it, in much the same way someone from China would appreciate the ambiance of Manchu-Wok.  With nothing but a window separating me and my lamburger from India, all of this is so very much like home and every bite is a little nibble of something wonderfully familiar.

Sniff!  Can I have fries with that?

• ¤ •

One's home is like a delicious piece of pie you order in a restaurant on a country road one cozy evening - the best piece of pie you have ever eaten in your life - and can never find again.
~Lemony Snicket