Day 8 – Ranthambore to Jaipur

Thursday, November 17, 2022 – Temperature 11-27 C ( 53-80 F )

It was a travel day. We had our traditional breakfast at 7 am and left at 8 am for Jaipur.

We spent about 3 hours weaving between the cars, trucks, tuk-tuks, motorcycles, mopeds, cows and buffalo as we made our way to Jaipur. Shail explained to us that driving in India is organized chaos, but it works for them. I did notice that even when someone has the right of way, they will yield for someone who is in their lane. Several times our bus driver would turn in front of traffic and they would stop and let him turn without honking their horns. When drivers honk their horns, it is usually to let others know where they are.

While we were driving I had noticed several Massey Ferguson and and a few John Deere tractors in India. Shail explained that there are manufacturing facilities for both companies in India.

The population of Jaipur is about 5 million and the city is a blend of old and new architecture so as we approached the town center, it understandably got more crowded.

We arrived there around 12:30 pm and Shail took us to directly to a bazaar, not far from our hotel.

While walking along the streets of the bazaar, I saw a couple of men connecting the wiring to a breaker box while using a wire-reinforced wooden ladder. It amazes me how nonchalantly the locals seem to take their electricity and yet they seem to know enough so that they don’t get electrocuted.

When we left the bazaar, we drove to the Radisson Hotel. As we approached our hotel, I noticed the large bamboo scaffolding behind the hotel. There were several men working on the scaffolding and I f you look closely at the top of the building, you can see a man plastering the walls while standing on the bamboo structure. It seems to be sturdy and work quite well, so it might be something I could use back home for changing the light bulbs that are 25 feet high in the church sanctuary.

This is a view of what the bamboo scaffolding looks like from my hotel room window.

We had a quick bite to eat at the hotel and then went to a local cinema to watch a Bollywood film for an hour. There were no subtitles but we could follow some of the script by what they were doing. It was a story about 4 old friends, one of whom died suddenly and subsequently the other 3 decided to fulfill their friends dream of climbing up to Everest Base Camp ( EBC ) together and there they would spread his ashes.

After the movie, we stopped at a local shop for a cup of Lassi, which is a type of liquid yogurt that you typically drink from a ceramic cup.. It was a little bit sweet, but it had a nice flavour.

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at Bhandari Jewellers, where we could shop for jewellery and art, however, I opted to stay in the bus. When the shoppers returned, Danny gave me a delicious samosa which he had bought in the shop for me.

When we returned to the hotel, we were on our own for supper. I wasn’t very hungry so I had a light meal in the hotel restaurant before returning to my room to work on my journal.

Day 7 – Ranthambore

Wednesday, November 16, 2022 – Temperature 15 – 28 C ( 59 – 83 F )

We got up at 5:30 am, had tea and cookies at 6 am and at 6:30 am we left for a safari ride through the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. We got to the reserve at 7 am and we spent 3.5 hours driving through the park. We saw a lot of different animals in the wild, such as deer,


And birds.

One bird perched itself to the back of the wagon behind Lonnie and Malcom.

We also saw mongooses.

We saw a footprint from a tiger, but we weren’t lucky enough to spot any tigers.

At 10:30 am we had to leave because they close the park for lunch, so we went back to the hotel, had breakfast and rested for a while. At 1 pm, we had a light lunch and at 1:45 pm we headed back to the reserve.

There are several different routes in the park and when we returned, we had been scheduled to take a different route. On this route, we saw more deer, birds and at 4:30 pm we started heading back to the exit.

We also saw several large banyan trees in the reserve. The banyan is a fig tree native to India.

Most of us were sorry that we hadn’t seen a tiger, however, when we were halfway back, we noticed that a couple of jeeps were congregated on the path we were taking to exit the park. When our guide asked them what they had seen, they pointed to a tiger that was heading our way..

The sighting of the tiger made our trip to the reserve special. Our guide, who is familiar with most of the tigers in the reserve, recognized this one and told us who she was, as well as the fact that she is pregnant and would be delivering her cubs soon. He had reviewed the genealogy of a number of the tigers in the park earlier in the afternoon.

We spent about 20 minutes following the tiger and taking pictures. When she entered into some tall grasses, we drove back to the exit and returned to the hotel around 6:30 pm.

We had a nice traditional Indian dinner and then some of the group went to see the dancers from the previous night preform again, as well as celebrate Prat’s birthday with a cake.

Day 6 – Agra to Ranthambore

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Temperature 13 – 28 C ( 57 – 82 F ) , No Smog Index

We had breakfast between 7 am and left for Ranthambore at 8:30 am. It would take about 6 hours to drive straight to our destination, however, there was a stop planned that would take us out of our way. We spend most of the day travelling to our next destination but the stop made it very interesting.

As we drove to our destination, Shail pointed out too many interesting places and things for me to remember them all.

We had lunch along along the way and our first stop was at Chand Baori. Before we entered the site, he asked us if we could guess what it was but no-one guessed correctly.

The attraction was called Chand Baori  and it is a stepwell situated in the village of Abhaneri in the Indian state of Rahasthan.  It extends approximately 30m (100ft) into the ground, making it one of the deepest and largest stepwells in India. Stepwells are large wells or ponds with a long corridor of steps that go down to the water level. They are examples of the many types of storage and and irrigation tanks that were developed in India, mainly to cope with seasonal fluctuations in water availability. It consists of 3,500 narrow steps over 13 stories.

Originally there was only the well. The upper structures with the columns and palace were added much later. It was quite impressive.

We decided to take a group photo with the well in the background.

Back Row ( from Left to Right ): Kirk, Bijaya, Prat, Shailendra (Shail ), myself, Carol, Paul, Karen, Maurice, Mardi Front Row ( from Left to Right ); Mihkel, Danny, Malcolm, Lonnie, Jean

From Chand Baori we drove to the Tigress Hotel in Ranthambore. This is a beautiful 5-star hotel and, as with the previous hotel, we were each given a guava drink and a flower Lei.

We unpacked our bags, freshened up and had dinner on the top floor of the hotel. During dessert we had some local entertainment and the dancer convinced several members of our group to join her.

We were tired from the long drive, so we did not stay up very late, especially since Shail had arranged for the hotel to give us wake-up calls at 5:30 the following morning,

Day 5 – Agra

Monday, November 14, 2022

Temperature 14 – 29 C ( 57 – 84 F ) , Smog Index – 103 ( Moderate )

We had an early breakfast and left the hotel at 7:30 for the Taj Mahal. At the entrance to the Taj we had to clear security, similar to the other sites we had visited. Looking through the entrance of the east gate, we caught our first glimpse at the Taj Mahal. The large gate was impressive with its sandstone and marble construction.

When we entered the gate, the Taj loomed magnificently in front of us. The sun gleamed off the white marble, and the central pool and greenery accentuated its beauty.

Prat took a picture of myself and Mikhel, the only other Canadian in our tour group, in front of the Taj. She is a teacher from Toronto, on a 1-year sabbatical, whose husband had elected to stay at home with their two children.

We also took a group photo in front of the Taj Mahal.

Back Row ( L to R ): Lonnie, Malcolm, Danny, Paul, Prat, myself, Maurice, Kirk, Shailendra

Front Row ( L to R ): Mardi, Carol, Jean, Bijaya, Karen, Mikhel

The closer you get to the Taj, the more impressive it gets.

It is hard to describe the Taj Mahal. It is one of the man-made wonders in the world and no pictures will adequately depict the beauty of it. You have to see it in person. The size and attention to detail in the marble carvings is just amazing.

After extensively touring the Taj, we drove the short distance to the area where the ancestors of the stone artisans still live. Along the way I noticed that some of the rikshaws in India are powered by horses and camels.

Cows have right of way in India and can do whatever they want. They sometimes walk along the roads and even the highways. Vehicles will give them right of way and try to drive around them, however, they normally stay away from the center of the road. The buffalo also wander on the roads but they are more likely to walk down the middle of the road.

At the marble shop, we learned how to carve marble from the ancestors of the original artisans who carved the marble for the Taj. Mikhel volunteered to take a turn at carving out some marble on a table top that the family was working on. After the carving lessons, we were given a chance to buy some of the marble carvings in the shop.

By the time we had finished our tour, it was almost 1 pm and we were on our own for lunch. Six of us hired tuk-tuks to take us to the ‘ Pinch of Spice ‘ restaurant. I had the Garlic Chicken, which was very spicy and delicious.

After lunch we toured Agra fort, which is a historical palace fort, also known as red fort. It was built during 1565-1573 for Mughal Emperor Akbar. It was the main residence of the rulers of Sikarwar clan of Rajputs until mughals occupied it and Mughal dynasty until 1638, when the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi. Before capture by the British, the last Indian rulers to have occupied it were the Marathas. In 1983, the Agra fort was life inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is about 2.5 km northwest of the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as the walled city.

There were several school groups that visited the Taj and the fort while we were there and several of them would ask the members of the tour group to take pictures with them. Mikhel was popular with them, especially the young school girls.

From the fort we drove to an Indian home for some High Tea.  The home owner is a lawyer and his wife is a principal in a private school.   We had a wonderful tea with some finger foods, such as samosas, and a Masala tea ( similar to Chai tea ). After the tea, Mikhel and Jean, volunteered as models, as we were shown how to put on a saree.

While wearing the Saree, Mikhel had a henna drawing made on her hand.

By the time we got back to the hotel, it was after 7 pm. Some of us, such as myself, elected to skip supper and relax for the evening before going to bed.

Day 4 – Trip to Agra

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Temperature 13 – 28 C ( 57 – 82 F ) , Smog Index 344 ( Very Poor ) in Delhi – 102 ( Moderate ) in Agra

We had breakfast at 7 am, as usual, and then packed our bags, put them in the hallways and met downstairs at 8:30. At 9:30, after all of the bags had been stowed on the bus, we left for Agra. The drive to Agra takes about 3.5 hours, however, we made a few stops along the way, so it took longer.

Along the way Shail showed us some points of interest, such as the National War memorial.  

We hadn’t gone far before we came to our first stop at the Swaminarayan Akshardham Mandir ( Hindu Temple ) in central New Delhi.  We were not allowed bring cameras inside, so we took pictures from the outside and then went for a tour inside.   The security was very tight and we couldn’t bring in wallets, cameras, belts, shoes etc and we were scanned at the entrance to make sure we didn’t bring in any forbidden items.  

This temple took 5 years to built and was completed in 2005 by a Hindu sect that follow Bhagwan Swaminarayan ( 1781 – 1830 ), as well as the traditional sages of Hinduism.  It is very ornate and was built using sandstone, marble and gold.  There were many people working there and the grounds were very clean. The intricate designs carved in the marble and the inlaid coloured designs were very impressive. As with all Hindu temples, we had to remove our shoes to go into the temple.

We had driven about an hour before we stopped for lunch, where we had a choice of going to Burger King, Jolly Go, Subway, Starbucks, Domino’s pizza or Bikanos. I opted for the more traditional foods at Bikanos.    At the stop, we noticed a number of Lamborghinis and there owners who belonged to a local club, in one of the parking lots.  When we got back on the highway, it didn’t take them long to catch up and pass the bus.

When we arrived in Agra, we stopped at the Tomb of I’TIMAD-UD-DAULAH (1622- 28 AD), which is the precursor to the Taj Mahal. It is the Tomb of Mirza Ghiyas Beg and his wife Asmat Begum. He hailed from Iran and served Akbar. He was the father of the famous ‘Nur Jehan’ and grand-father of ‘ Mumtaz-Mahal ‘ of the Taj Mahal fame ( where she is buried ). He was made Vazir ( Prime Minister ) after Nur-Jehan’s marriage with Jehangir in 1611. He held the title of I’TIMAD-UD-DAULAH ( The Lord Treasurer ) He died in Agra in 1622, a few months after his wife death. Nur Jehan built this tomb for her parents between 1622 and 1628.

While driving on the new toll highway from Delhi to Agra, I noticed several places where entrepreneurs had set up stands along the highway to sell their products. People would stop their cars on the left side of the highway and barter with the shop owners.

It is the fall season and the farmers have started to plant their new crops. Shail mentioned that a large contributor to the smog around Delhi is from farmers burning the plant remains ( particularly mustard plant ) after the harvest.

Around 5 pm we arrived at the beautiful Jaycee Palace Hotel & Convention Center in Agra and at 7:30 we had a wonderful buffet dinner. Before we ate, we had one of the waiters take a group picture of us.

One of the things I noticed while in Delhi, is that there are a lot more educational programs on TV than in North America. There were specific channels for different engineering studies ( ehemical, electrical, etc.), mathematics, social sciences, accounting, etc. I watched a bit of the Electrical Engineering channel and the presenter was explaining how to calculate capacitance in a circuit. We could use more channels dedicated to education in Canada.

It had been a full day and after dinner I was looking forward to a shower and going to bed early, however, I spent several hours working on my journal and it wan’t until 11 pm that I finally went to bed.

Day 3 – New Delhi

Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022

Temperature 14 – 28 C ( 58 – 82 F ) , Smog Index 366 ( Very Poor )

When we went for breakfast at 7 am, we met some of the other travellers in our tour group. Several of the people in our group have travelled more than 10 times with Gate1 travel and one couple was on their 5th tour this year with Gate1. Shortly afterwards, Shailendra, or Shail as he is called by his friends, arrived to have breakfast with us.

After breakfast we boarded a large air-conditioned bus and travelled to the site of Qutub Minar, which is a soaring, 73 m-high tower of victory, built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak immediately after the defeat of Delhi’s last Hindu kingdom. The tower has five distinct storeys, each marked by a projecting balcony and tapers from a 15 m diameter at the base to just 2.5 m at the top.

The tower is a combination of traditional Islamic architecture and southwestern Asian design. It stands next to the remains of a mosque and was built on a slight angle away from it so that it would not fall on top of the mosque, in case of an earthquake. Most of the walls and the entrances of the mosque are still intact and each of the pillars inside have a unique design.

In the center of the mosque, there was an iron pillar which is a structure 7.21 metres (23 feet 8 inches) high with a 41-centimetre (16 in) diameter that was constructed by Chandragupta II (reigned c. 375–415 AD). It is famous for the rust-resistant composition of the metals used in its construction. The pillar weighs more than 6 tonnes and is thought to have been erected elsewhere, perhaps outside the Udayagiri Caves,[3] and moved to its present location by Anangpal Tomar in 11th century.

As we toured the site, Shail described some of the vegetation on the site, such as the tamarind tree which is native to Africa.

From Qutub Minar, we drove to the old section of Delhi and we were treated to a Rikshaw ride through the busy narrow streets.

For a more personal view, you can click on this link –!Anh-wX1eFJ-8o0Oa8MlGIV4UjH-O

It was a unique experience and I felt sorry for the driver who had to maneuver around vehicles, people and potholes, particularly during the uphill sections of the ride.

I have always had a fascination with electrical infrastructures and the agglomeration of wires hanging above the street, was intriguing. I would be difficult to troubleshoot and electrical problem and I’m sure that a few people have been ‘ shocked ‘ when they tied into an existing electrical line.

After the rikshaw ride, we drove to Raj Ghat, the memorial and burial site for Mahatma Gandhi.

We had to remove our shoes to visit the site where the eternal flame is lit by the grave where his ashes are buried..

When we left the gravesite, we went to a restaurant for a late lunch and then drove to see a Hindu Temple.

We weren’t allow to take our cameras into the temple, however, Shail gave us a detailed tour of the temple and described the significance of the various depictions, statues, carvings and aspects of the temple.

From the temple we headed back to the hotel and Shail pointed out many buildings and places of interest along the way. It had been a full day and there was too much information for me to remember it all.

It was almost 5 pm when we returned back to the hotel and at 6:30 pm we met for orientation and dinner.

This was our last full day in Delhi and we are scheduled to travel to Agra on Sunday.

Day 2 – New Delhi

Friday, Nov. 11, 2022 ( Rememberance Day )

Temperature 18 – 28 C ( 64 – 82 F ) , Smog Index 301 ( High )

When we got up, we had another large breakfast due to our lack of restraint from the many choices we were given.

During breakfast, our tour guide Shailendra Singh Rathore, joined us and we had a quick introduction of our tour which would start the following day. After breakfast, Prat ordered an Uber ride and we drove to to the site of Humayun”s Tomb.

Just outside of the wall surrounding the tomb, there was an entrance to Isa Khan’s garden-tomb, where some musicians were in the process of setting up for a concert on the lawn in front of the tomb.

Build in CE 1548, Isa Khan’s garden-tomb precedes Huymayan’s Tomb by two decades and is the culmination of an architectural style used for royal tombs in Delhi during the Sayyid and Lodi dynasties from the early 15th to the early 16th centuries. It is the only surviving octagonal tomb enclosed with walls, mosque, and gateway intact.

A plaque for Huymayun’s Tomb reads:

‘ Hamada Banu Begum, the grieving widow, built Emperor Humayan’s mausoleum, precursor to the Taj Mahal, it stands on a platform 0f 12000 m2 and reaches a height of 47 meters. The earliest example of Persian influence in Indian architecture, the tomb has within it over 100 graves, earning the name ‘ Dormitory of the Mughals ‘. Built of rubble masonry, the structure is the first to use red sandstone and white marble in such great quantities. The small canopies on the terrace were originally in glazed blue tiles and the brass finial over the white marble dome is itself, 6 meters high ‘.

The site where the tomb is located, has a large wall surrounding it, with 4 gateways, one in each wall.

The mausoleum is extremely large as can be seen in the following picture with Prat & Bijaya standing in the foreground.

The immense size of the lower building’s footprint can’t be adequately shown on a picture but a side view gives you an idea of how large it is. Each of the indentations of the wall contains a grave.

Although not as large, the upper building is quite big.

Upon entering the center of the structure, the large domed area, gives access to several tombs.

To adequately show the size of the area within the walls, an aerial picture would have to be taken.

When we had seen enough, Prat ordered another Uber ride and we drove to see the government buildings. We couldn’t get close to them for security reasons, so we had a picture taken of us in front of them.

As we exited the area, an auto rickshaw (tuk-tuk) driver offered to give us a ride back to the hotel, and after some negotiation, Prat excepted his offer on our behalf. The back seat was a little tight for the three of us but we managed to safely get back to an area near the hotel.

Bijaya did a little shopping and then we walked back to the hotel for a nice lunch and then a little relaxing time by the pool.

At 6:30 pm, we walked down the street to the Kwality Restaurant Bar. This was an excellent restaurant.

We choose Kwality Channa ( Chicked Peas cooked in secret spices in an overnight process ), Kasturi Kebab ( Boneless chicken thighs marinated with dry fenugreek leaves, ginger garlic and yellow chilli, coated with eggs, cooked on glowing embers of charcoal ), Lachlan Parantha & Rotti ( Naan breads ) and Kwality Kali Dal ( a combination of black lentil cooked overnight in a clay oven ).

The food was excellent and afterwards we went for a little walk. On our way we stopped at a restaurant that was selling ice cream on a stick at a window at the front entrance. The ice cream had pistachios in it and it was a nice topping to a delicious meal.

We had to walk a little further to burn off a few more calories before returning to our hotel for the night.

The following day we would begin our official tour with Gate1 Travel.

Day 1 – New Delhi

Thursday, Nov 10, 2022

When we arrived at the hotel in early hours of the morning, we tried to negotiate an early check-in but there was nothing available, so we waited in the lobby. At 5 am, a hotel employee made us cappuccinos to drink and some fruit to eat, while he was preparing the restaurant for breakfast.

The temperature outside was a comfortable 21 C ( 70 F ) so we walked to a nearby restaurant suggested by the hotel staff. The streets were well lit with little traffic with people sleeping in the shadows along the streets and several stray dogs looking for something to eat. Most of the shops and restaurants were locked up, however, the few that were open, had some people around them. When we arrived at the outdoor restaurant, the food and the locale was a little “ sketchy “, so we returned to the hotel.

Shortly after we arrived back at the hotel, its restaurant opened and we enjoyed a very good breakfast.

At 10:30 am, we received access to our rooms, so we took much needed showers and slept for several hours. At 4:30 pm we met in the lobby and went for a walk around the streets of New Delhi. The temperature had risen to 28 C ( 82 F ) but the smog kept the sun from beating down on us so it didn’t feel hot.

There is a market area next to the hotel and we walked through the outskirts where the street vendors had set up to display their wares. As is common with street markets, it was quite crowded and people continually prompted us to buy their products.

When we got through the street market to the road that circles the center of the city, we were in the shopping district. Bijaya found a jewellery shop where she successfully bartered with the owner for a necklace.

Apparently the government had made the rent in the shop district so cheap, that it helps the vendors make money in an area that would normally consume most, if not all, of their profits to pay for the rent. Unfortunately, the owners of the buildings don’t make enough to pay for their maintenance, so these ornate buildings are falling into disrepair.

We walked around the shopping area until we found a Pind Baluchi Bar & Restaurant, where we could eat some authentic northern Indian food. We ordered some Masala chicken and a chickpea dish, both of which were very spicy and very good.

After supper, we continued walking along the shopping area. Although most of the shops are traditional Indian stores, you can find many different North American franchises, such as McDonalds, KFC, Taco Bell, Starbucks, etc. Since India was under British rule during the advent of the automobile, driving is similar to that in England. The steering wheels are on the right side of the car and they drive on the left side of the road, however, they don’t adhere to lanes.

The traffic was very busy at 7 pm and even though there are cross walks, pedestrians need to be careful while crossing the streets. You continually hear the sound of horns as the cars, motorcycles and tuk-tuks* continually maneuver and jockey for positions in the street.

As we walked back to the hotel, I noticed that the areas around the shops and restaurants we had seen in the earlier in the morning, had been swept clean and they looked quite different.

Just before we got back, we bought some bottled water and I had a cappuccino at a bakery near the hotel.

We were still very tired since we had little rest for a few days, so we went to bed early. The next day would give us an opportunity to do some of our own sight-seeing before we would join the tour group on Saturday.

Note: * – Tuk-Tuks are three-wheeled vehicles, also known as auto rickshaw, baby taxi, mototaxi, pigeon, jonnybee, bajaj, chand gari, lapa, tum-tum, Keke-napep, Maruwa, 3wheel, pragya, bao-bao, easy bike, cng and tukxi.)

Trip to India & Nepal

Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022

In the summer of 2022, two of my classmates from University, Pratim ( Prat ) Bose with his wife Bijaya and Sauro DiGiacomi with his wife Marianna came to visit me in Niagara for several days. Shortly afterwards, Pratim and Bijaya invited me to join them for a tour of India and Nepal. Prat and Bijaya both grew up in India and spend several months each year in their condominium which is located in Kolkata.

In Niagara on the Lake with (from left to right): Prat, Bijaya, Marianna and Sauro.

The process for making the arrangements to India was quite long and involved a lot of steps. First of all, I had to make sure I could get a visa, so in early September I took an application form to the Indian consulate, where they informed me that I had to go to a BLS office for pre-screening. At the BLS office, I submitted my application and my passport and 2 weeks later I received my passport with a 1 year Indian visa.

Then we began the process of determining where we would be going and what we would be seeing. We finally settled on a tour from a company called Gate1 and made the arrangements for the trip.

Once we had decided on the duration of the trip, I had to purchase my flights to India and back home again. Then I had to fill out a self declaration form for India on the Air Suvidha website to make sure that I had all of the required covid vaccinations, as well as, my flight and travel information.

For Nepal, I had to arrange my own flight back to Delhi and then gather the information and pictures required for a visa. The application for the visa could be filled out online, but only ~ 20 days before your travel to Nepal, so we will have to do that while we are in India. I will be on my own when I fly back to New Delhi from Nepal because Prat and Bijaya will be flying to Kolkata for a few months.

Once all of the arrangements were complete, it was just a matter of making sure I had my bag packed and purchased any special emergency medications ( i.e. Imodium ). The weather is supposed to be very warm in India and cool in Nepal so I packed clothes that I could layer and wash easily.

My flight was scheduled to leave at 1 pm on Tuesday, Nov 8. I didn’t want to leave my car at the park&fly in Toronto for 3 weeks and I didn’t want to have someone drive me, so I checked into something different. I reserved a ticked for the GO bus to the airport on the weekend which would only take 2.5 hours to get me there. My brother warned me that the GO bus drivers were preparing to go on strike Monday and the buses were not going to be available. He was right, so on Monday I contacted GO Transit and the agent suggested I take the GO train. That worked out quite well. The train would get me there in plenty of time and with the seniors discount ( half the adult rate ), it only cost about $15.

I picked up my brother just after 5 am and we arrived at the Niagara Falls Go Train station in time to take the 6 am train to Union Station. I boarded the train and my brother took my car back home. Thanks bro.

From Union station I took the UPExpress train to Pearson airport and arrived there shortly after 9:30 am

I was at the gate 4 hours early so I had a good breakfast, topped off with a cappuccino and a double chocolate brownie ( and I’ll admit that I indulged myself ). I had lots of time to relax and start my journal before boarding my flight to Atlanta, which left shortly after the scheduled time of 1 pm.

I arrived in Atlanta around 4 pm and had a quesadilla for lunch while I waited for my 7:35 pm flight to Amsterdam . The 8 hr flight to Amsterdam left about 15 minutes late but we arrived 30 minutes early.

I had a 2.5 hr layover in Amsterdam before catching my 8 hr flight to New Delhi, arriving at 1:10 am, Nov 10, which is 2:40 pm Nov 9 in Niagara Falls since the time in New Delhi is 10.5 hrs ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Prat & Bijaya were flying from Washington to Delhi, with a stopover in DuBai, so when I arrived in Delhi, I waited for them at the airport exit. It didn’t take long for them to contact me and we met the agent from Gate1 travel service, who was waiting for us. Before leaving the airport I purchased a SIM card for my phone at a cost of 500 Indian Rupees ( ~ $ 7 Cdn for 1.5 GB of data and unlimited calling within India for 1 month ).

The travel agent had arranged a cab ride from the airport to our hotel and it was obvious that driving in India was very different from driving in North America, It was more like driving in China or South America. Lane markings are “ suggestions “ and you honk while moving back and forth. However, we easily made it to the Park Hotel in Downtown New Delhi around 4 am.

The temperature in Delhi was 21 C ( 70 F ) when we arrived and the smog had a distinctive aroma to it so we kept our face masks on until we got into the hotel.

After travelling 1 1/2 days, we had finally arrived in Delhi to begin our adventure.