As written before in my previous post, we have arrange in advance with the hotel that we want to stay for a pickup at the airport. I highly suggest to all first time traveler to India to pre arrange a pickup, so you don’t need to waste your time looking for a taxi that most of the times with take you or try to persuade you to go to his chosen hotel, maybe he got some commission, so to make things easy, book your hotel in advance and ask your hotel to send someone to pick you up.
We have to wait for almost half an hour for another car or van to come in, the hotel just send one car to pick us up, maybe they think it was good enough but when the taxi driver saw us with a few big backpack, he call his friend to come over. Actually our hotel does not send us a car but a small taxi which I can call a small van. It was hot and dry at night, currently Indira Gandhi Airport have some renovation, in fact next month in July they will start operating from the new building, they will host this coming Commonwealth Games 2010 in India so a lot of major upgrade work are taking place. The new building look futuristic at night.
Forget to tell you that our hotel charge us Indian Rupee or Rs 600 for one car and we have to pay Rs 1200 for two cars. The journey to Vivek Hotel which is located at Pahar Ganj will take us around forty five minutes according to our taxi driver. It was almost 11:00PM already and the road towards our hotel are quite busy. The first thing that I notice is that I can hear the sound of horn almost non stop, back in Malaysia even in the busy area of Kuala Lumpur City Center, we can hardly hear people press horn like it was some kind of game. In India I guess it is a must, in fact it is written at the back of many taxi or Auto Rickshaw here that stated “Please Horn”.
Another thing that I notice on our way to the hotel is that a lot of cars here got scratch in the body. Scratch here, scratch there and after awhile, I think it is “normal” here in India to have a scratch car. According to Lonely Planet book, Pahar Ganj is a Main Bazaar where a lot of souvenir being sold here and this is where most traveler stay in New Delhi. The reason why I choose to stay at this area is because I can easily walk to the train station from our hotel, New Delhi Train Station to be exact because we don’t plan to stay here in New Delhi for to long, we have a long journey to go so we need to stay close to the train station.
Forty five minutes seems to be very short, maybe because I was busy looking around at the new environment, the temperature here is quite hot compared to Malaysia. The road to Vivek Hotel was quite small and narrow an I can see a lot of cows along the way and I said to myself, welcome to India, just like what I saw in the magazine or TV about India road, finally it is alive in front of me.
From quite a distance I can see Vivek Hotel but I’m not so sure whether it is our hotel, yes, I can see the signboard clearly but it is hard for me to accept the outside condition of our hotel, totally different from what I see from the internet and totally not like what I have imagine, I thought our taxi driver have taken us for a ride, have taken us to the wrong hotel or maybe we will get robbed in the black alley there, all kind of bad things comes in my mind. First two pictures above is our hotel, Vivek Hotel and it’s quite scary at night, I mean the first night on our arrival because we haven’t “get used to it”.
Since I don’t want to write my blog like it was some kind of a fiction novel, I will go straight to the point, yes it does look scary, it was dark here in front of our chosen hotel, but before we unload our pack, I go to the reception counter with one of my friend to confirm back with the hotel about our reservation and thank God, it is our hotel as recommended by our trusted Lonely Planet Book.
A little bit advise to those of you who plan to travel in India or anywhere else, it is good practice to have a photo copy of your Passport, they need your passport before they allow you to check in. If you don’t have any photo copy, no worries though they can do that for you but do you trust stranger to handle your Passport? So to make thing easy please have a photo copy of your Passport ready before you check in.
We spent almost more than half an hour at the reception, filling out our name and address each person individually, so it is quite a process and before I forget, they ask all of us to stare at the CCTV Camera on the wall while the reception hold a white placard with our hotel room number written on it and show it to the CCTV as well, maybe different hotel have different way of welcoming their guest. We are very tired actually and all we need is a pillow to rest our head.
We take two rooms because there were five of us, one room for two person with air condition at Indian Rupee Rs1100 and the other room with three beds for Rs700 but no AC just a ceiling fan. To make thing easy and fair for all of us, we decided to share all our expenses together so we combine the two room bills together and divided it by five.
The room was quite nice, there is a roof top restaurant if we need something to eat or drink but by the time we reach this hotel, it was closed already, In India most shops are closed at 10PM, maybe there are few shops or restaurant that are still open but we are too tired to find out. Just to let you know, the room for two person with AC is a lot more nicer to stay though.
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