Account of travels across the world. This blog provides descriptions of travels in different parts of the world. Pictures related to many of the blogs can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/7330879@N05/ and for more information I can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
June 20, 2006
We started our trip by dropping Snowy off with Linda the night before and on June 20 we left from home on a cab at about 9:30 in the morning. The cab driver was from Canada and he had loaded all the bags which were a nice thing. It was an eventless trip to the airport and we reached in plenty of time. Security was not too crowded and we made it to the gate and relaxed. I had dropped the bag with the computer and it seemed to be acting up. At the airport we bought a small roll on suitcase since one of the checked bags was too heavy and we needed to redistribute weight. The fight to Charlotte left on time and we had just enough time to make the connection because it was a very tight connection. The flight to Newark was uneventful and we got there on time. We had to wait quite a bit to get the van to the hotel.
After checking in at the hotel, Bebo went for a swim. I was with him at the pool and we hung around there for some time. Then we got back to the room and ordered the room service dinner. This was a nice hotel (Courtyard by Marriott in Elizabeth, right next to a mall and quite good) and we eventually called it a day.
June 21, 2006
Had an early morning start and took the 6 am van to the airport. Thankfully, the driver dropped us at the terminal in stead of the P4 train station so were checking in quickly and with the Virgin Premier special check in that was a breeze. Security took a while since things were really backed up and after a cup of coffee we boarded and left on time. The flight was quite pleasant although we did not have any window seats. Watched some TV, some computer shows and generally relaxed. It was a quick flight since we had a good and strong tail wind. When we reached London it was still really nice and sunny. We were on hold on top of Heathrow for a little bit and then reached terminal 3 and ordered a cab. The cab came quickly but we had to wait quite a bit of time for the driver to get us at the parking lot. Took about 20 minutes to get to the Courtyard at Chavley (exit 6 off M4). Checked in, had a drink or two and then went to the restaurant for a dinner of mutton vindallo and rice. They were having a vindaloo festival and it was quite nice. Srijoy had pasta and prawn. We were not at all tired since the time difference was in our advantage. At any rate we forced ourselves to go to bed so that we would have the energy to do stuff the next day.
June 22, 2006
We got up on the later side and headed out of the hotel around 11:00 am. Ordered a taxi and went on to the Slough station (cost is 5 Sterling). Got an all-day return fair ticket for 10.20 Sterling per adult and 1.00 Sterling for Srijoy. Then we caught the 11:38 non-stop Great Western Line train to Paddington. It was a nice and sunny day in London. We waited at the wrong bus stop for a little bit but figured it out eventually and took the number 23 to Piccadilly (it takes about 30 mins if Oxford Street is crowded). Got off at the stop after Carnaby Street and Srijoy successfully guided us to the Garfunkel’s in Soho. Shows that he is starting to recognize the place. Had the usual traditional English breakfast there and then strolled through Piccadilly (it was really crowded) and Srijoy again successfully guided us to Trafalgar Square. There were tons of pigeons there and Srijoy hung out there for some time. We then walked over via Whitehall to Parliament Square. As always Big Ben looked marvellous. Crossed the bridge and went on to the East side of the Thames and strolled over to the Aquarium and the Big Eye of London. This is a huge giant wheel and one can ride in it and get a very nice view of the central London. The tickets were expensive (about 20 Sterling for all of us) and we waited for about 25 minutes for the 30 minute ride. It was an OK ride and we got the expected view of the city. After the ride walked over to the magic car ride and Srijoy was able to ride on a little motor scooter around the track for some time. This gave us a chance to rest a bit. Then took a taxi to the Currys.com on the Strand. The Dixon store has been bought out by Currys.com and did some electronics shopping there. Then strolled over to Charring Cross and Srijoy had an ice cream and Mikku had some tea. It was getting to be time to meet up with my distant uncle and so we walked on to Charring Cross station, and took the underground (with one change) to Shepard’s Bush on the Central line. Got there about 10 minutes after 6 and Kaju Mama was waiting for us and we got in his car and drove for about 25 minutes to get to Kew Gardens. Went to a pub there and had a drink with him and just kind of chatted. It was really relaxing and the weather was perfect. Then he drove us over to Slough and dropped us at the hotel. We ordered room service and did some packing and hit the bed.
June 23, 2006
We really had a late start. So, before leaving the room and checking out we had made some tea in the room. The taxi driver who had taken us to the airport the day before struck a nice deal with us and said he would take us to the train station at slough, pick us up and drop us off to the airport in the evening. We took a later train to Paddington and then had brunch at the Garfunkel’s next to Paddington and decided to take the bus to Tower Hill since Srijoy really wanted to go to Tower Bridge right next to the Tower of London. We took the number 23 and got to the top of the double decker. It is a long ride (about an hour) from Paddington to Tower Hill but it goes past most of all that is cool in London (except the palace) and we got off near the Tower of London and walked over to the bridge and across the bridge. It was a strenuous and long walk and so we took a bus back to the underground station and took the train to the Bond Street stop after a very lengthy walk and change of trains at the Monument station. It was getting a little tiring. But we did go to the book store on Oxford street and got some reading material for Srijoy and then to Selfridges to stroll around a bit. Being a Friday night it was really busy and crowded. Eventually took a cab and went on to Paddington and tool the 5:22 non-stop back to Slough. The cab was there in a few moments and we got back to the hotel where we had stowed our bags. Collected and loaded the bags (driver was not pleased to see so many bags and was wanting some extra money, which was actually fair) and headed out to Terminal 3. Check in was a breeze and we then went through fast track immigration. Collected the VAT refund at the airport. This requires that the form given by the store be stamped by a VAT official. It was bizarre that the person who looked at my form was of Indian origin (as is most of London!) and she happened to have lived in Winston-Salem. She was overjoyed to see another family from Winston-Salem and we struck up a conversation and after getting the stamp got the money back. We then headed to the Virgin club house and hung around there for the evening. The new club house is really nice and had a nice selection of food. The flight boarded around 9:30 pm and we had excellent seats on the plane. I watched a bit of TV before going to bed at 30,000 feet.
July 24, 2006
Flight reached Delhi on time. Immigration and bags were very quick. Actually quicker than I have seen in many other cities. There was the driver from the hotel with the Qulais car. It was deadly hot (about 110) hot so we stayed indoors all day. Ordered a room service lunch and freshened up. The parents of Mayank Gupta (my student) came to see us and spent a little time with them. Then Arindam (Chiku) stopped by for a bit and then Ketoki and family came over. It was a nice evening for all of us.