Sunday, October 24, 2010

First Day in Delhi

Sculpture in airport
Made by another Satish Gupta
October 24, 2010
My first day started in the Delhi airport. The new terminal is huge. You have to walk at least half a mile to get to the immigration line. The airport is spotless and looks like any other major international airport. My plane was late taking off from LAX so it was about 30 minutes late getting into Bangkok. A stewardess was waiting to take us to our connecting flight. We had to walk fast/run to the new gate. It was at least a mile away. I made it to the connecting flight but one of my two bags did not make it. The baggage people at the Delhi airport knew it and told me it would come on the next flight. The process of filing out papers and getting it approved from the government official was a long one. I did not know my address in Delhi so I gave 
Goel’s cell phone number to the person filing out my papers and asked her to call him to get my Delhi address. She said she did not have a phone. It was such a lie, I almost lost my cool. It is such a common thing in Delhi to speak without giving a full explanation. She should have said, I can not call your friend because the rules forbid me to call outside. She had a cell phone in her pocket.

The drive from the airport to the Medical School was all freeway and a nicely landscaped road. There was not a beggar or a roadside slum to be seen. If I did not know better, I could have been easily fooled.

The guest house in the medical school has a large very impressive sign/billboard. Inside it must be a very neat hostel with nice big rooms, marble floors, attached bathrooms and plenty of closet space. However, time and poor maintenance has taken its toll. Anyway the room is spacious and the location is great.

Goel and I went to a small cafeteria next door for lunch. It was opposite the boy’s hostel, where I had spent five years of my life. I could not recognize the hostel at first. The trees around it have grown tall and hide much of the view of the building. There is new parking lot in front. During my time, that area used to have two or three motorcycles. Now the parking lot had about twenty cars and forty motorcycles.

For dinner I went to a 24-hour kitchen in the hospital. I could not eat the potato-peas, it was much too spicy. They do not ask if I want my spices mild, medium or hot. I guess I better get my tongue trained. I have been to the toilet three times already. Hope I am not coming down with Delhi-belly. This is only my first day here!

In the evening I took a walk to the hospital. The hospital has several buildings connected with covered walkways. They are like corridors except that there are no walls on the sides, just screens. They have added so many new buildings here and there that the corridors have become a maze. I think the overall design of maze was done by a woman. Once you enter the maze you cannot come out without asking for directions. I was not about to ask for directions! After a while some guy looked at me and asked me where I wanted to go. I must have looked lost. He gave me directions. Then I had to ask for directions one more time before I could get out of the same door I had entered. Real men do not ask for directions, except in the maze of Irwin Hospital.

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