I’ve been trying to figure out just the right way to talk about my trip without giving a boring travelog. You don’t want to read a step-by-step diary of my travels to India and Nepal. And, frankly, I don’t want to write one.
Instead, I’d rather just go in a non-linear way and write about things in the order that I feel like it. Cool?
First, I have to just take a minute to say how great it felt to disconnect from the world. I mean, we usually had at least some access to WiFi, but I didn’t spend hours on Twitter and Facebook every day, so I was blissfully distanced from all the political drama going on back home. This was good because it was nice to take a break. But, even more importantly, it helped remind me that almost nothing in life, politics, or general news is the end of the world.
(At least until the news starts reporting the actual end of the world, but that’s probably not for awhile.)
So Kelli and I left the states on June 11. It was Sunday afternoon. My mom took us to the airport, but traffic was a mess once we got onto the LAX property, so we were running behind. Our airline, China Southern, didn’t allow online or kiosk check-in, so we had to wait in line to see someone at the counter. And it seriously took forever.
When we finally got to the counter, the very sweet agent checked us in and handed up boarding passes. Kelli quickly realized her seat assignment was different from the one she had selected. And so was mine. In fact, I was now assigned to a middle seat. Kelli pointed out the issue and explained that we had specifically confirmed our seats, showed the confirmation, etc. The agent was very apologetic and explained our original confirmed seats were no longer available. But there were two open seats in Premium Economy. FREE UPGRADE FOR THE WIN!
(Dear United: That’s how you handle seat assignment issues!)
And let me tell you, Premium Economy was AMAZING. We had tons of room. Legroom. Hip room. So much room. And they gave us free slippers. And we had great movie selections. Everything about it was fantastic. I can’t even fathom what it must be like to sit in first class.
Check out the leg room and slippers!
And seriously, this airline meal? Wow.
Oh, and I posted this on Instagram and my hilarity still just makes me giggle.
Yes, that really IS Russia!
But, unlike certain world leaders’ kids, I didn’t stop and chat with anyone…
Anyway, we had a layover in Guangzhou, China. Which was interesting, but not in the way we hoped it would be. Basically, we got there at night and everything was pretty much closed. And we were super tired and couldn’t really do much anyway. Duh. Lame planning on my part.
Yeah, I’d heard about censorship being a problem, but wow. For some reason, I just didn’t think that things like Facebook and Instagram and Gmail would be blocked IN THE AIRPORT. Where we, funny enough, had free WiFi.
Oh, and because we were in transit with a layover more than 8 hours, China Southern Airlines actually put us up in a hotel fuh FREE!
And our hotel had this:
Which was mildly concerning, but at least we didn’t have to find out for ourselves if they worked.
Oh, and when we were still in the Guangzhou Airport, we met this really nice guy named Mike. Mike is from India and was in China on business, but headed back to Delhi on our same flight the next morning. He was super nice and chatted with us a LOT because he was super excited that we were visiting his country.
He asked about our itinerary and when I listed the first three cities, he said, “Oh! Of course! The Golden Triangle!” I’d never heard that term before but I was like, yeah, okay, cool.
We arrived in China on Monday night and left early the next morning.
Our hotel gave us a pre-packaged breakfast which contained yogurt, a hard boiled egg, corn on the cob, and bread. Customs ended up making me throw away my yogurt. Right before they gave me a more thorough breast exam than anything I’ve ever received from a medical doctor.
Like, I honestly feel that TSA goes too far in their security screening.
But they are NOTHING compared to the Chinese authorities who don’t even give you the benefit of a privacy screen before proceeding to give you everything short of a full cavity search right out in front of God and everyone.
We lucked out on the way back and avoided being searched. But now that I’ve written that online I’m probably going to be flagged the next time I go to that part of the world.
Anyway, we got to our gate and were ready to finish this very, VERY long journey.
After a six hour flight from Guangzhou, we made it to New Delhi Airport on Tuesday morning and went through customs. Because we had already applied for our visas online, customs was a breeze. It just required a little bit of waiting in line. But the process was easy peasy. And then we walked out the door with our luggage, not sure if anyone was going to be there to pick us up. And if not, we had no idea how to even begin to figure out how to get to our hotel.
But we walked out the doors into the main airport and saw this wonderful, wonderful man holding a sign that simply said “G Adventures.” Which was the tour company we used. It was our ride! We made it!
This dude whose name I don’t think I got, put us into a private car with a very sweet driver. At some point, the guy who met us hopped out of the car to go pick someone else up from another airport, which we didn’t even know existed. But the driver took us straight to our hotel. Okay, straight isn’t really accurate. There was a WHOLE lot of zigging and zagging and horns blaring and chaos and I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face because we were in INDIA.
We checked into our hotel, took a lovely, lovely nap, and then, that night, we got to meet our group.
It was the beginning of an amazing adventure and some beautiful friendships.