Who"s davidlian?

My photo
davidlian is an ultra-geeky chinese dude that works for a technology PR agency. He loves fiddling with techno-toys, plays Warhammer 40K, and shoots pictures wherever he goes. Here, he rants about PR, Technology and anything else. Don't expect balance and un-biased, he ain't no journalist. Anything said on this blog are solely davidlian's personal views. Don't confuse them with company mantra, client's views or views of any organisation he may be part of.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Thoughts on India

About 10 days ago I was in India for a company offsite which I returned from with a "Delhi Belly". Thought I'd get back and straight up to posting about India, but because of recurring lethargy and the sheer amount of work that had piled up whilst I was gone meant it was delayed until now. But good stuff is always worth the wait, right?

I think it's been said before that Delhi's a land of extremes, but I don't think you'd ever realise how extreme it is until you've set foot there. From landing in the Delhi International Airport, the bus ride to the hotel was perhap's the best was to tell the story: Stately old Buicks driving right next to sleek BMWs. Dirt roads giving way to tar-covered highways. Shanty towns neighbouring modern complexes.

You can see a grand old shopping complex like KLCC surrounded with armed guards situated right opposite a very,very poor settlement. By opposite, I mean, right across the road!

Traffic in india. Notice the all-kinds-of-transport.

And the traffic. If you thought Malaysian roads were hazardous (a generalisation, perhaps) then Delhi roads would be enough to make you mad. For starters:
1. Everyone drives as if they are in some terrible hurry trying to rush a relative to the hospital.
2. Drivers believe in the optimisation of space, thus cars are driving as close as they can to each other and every obscure angle, nook and cranny is filled with a part of someone elses car - e.g. the front right corner of the car's nose.
3. Nobody waits at roundabouts. It's a game of who dares wins.
4. Honk please! Seriously! Almost every car has that at its back end. The streets are filled with loud honking.

We stayed in a plush hotel. The Intercontinental Eros. It's a world of difference from what's outside the Hotel. That's my colleague Corina in the picture.

Meet Ashish, my room mate. He's smart and very intelligent. He also taught me how to dance like a Bollywood superstar.

The water's supposed to be unfit for drinking, but after talking to my Indian colleagues, i think it isn't as bad as people make it out to be. Tap water is drinkable if you boil or filter it first - gee...that's just like Malaysia. The food, though... wow...if you thought the Indian food in Malaysia was spicy...wait till you check out what Delhi food is like! I must've had so much Tandoori that my stomach was flaming and paining by the time it was time to go home. And, I noticed (at the hotel at least) the eating utensils provided are usually fork and knife - even if you're eating rice. I had to request for a spoon on more than one occassion.

The Bahai Temple is one of the picturesque landmarks. You have to keep silent in the temple.

If you're thinking of visiting Delhi for the sights, then expect a very authentic historical and spiritual journey. In Delhi alone, I think I counted four or five spiritual sites including the Bahai Temple (one of Six around the world), a Muslim Spinarret and temples to other Indo religions.

The marketplaces are colourful. We went to this place called Janpath market on the second night.

Semi-precious stones are some of the best buys in India.

The streets of Delhi town. It's really a colourful place, full of culture and a unique ethnic identity you don't find in Malaysia.

America's most famous export has special burgers in India. Like the Chicken Aloo burger.

The shopping was quite the experience too and tourists should normally look out for cloth items (clothing, bags etc.) or semi-precious stones. I think I spent more than RM 300 on semi-precious stones for my mom and Lydia. But you have to bargain (goes without saying). I think a good benchmark is to get at least 50% off and be prepared to walk away. I'm told the bargaining threshholds for locals and foreigners are different, so if you're a foreigner, expect that you'll still be paying more than a local for what you buy.

Just to conclude this post, my regret was we didn't get to see the Taj Mahal on this trip as there weren't enough people signing up for the trip. Maybe one day I'll make another trip: Back to India!

No comments: