First day in India!

My flights via Brussels on Jet Airways were good, and thankfully not full!
Despite landing at 1am and making it to bed in my little hotel room in Triplicane (a part of Chennai) by 3am,
I woke up 6 hours later and feel pretty good.

During the flight, I finally did some more trip planning (most of the 2nd flight I was buried in my Lonely Planet guidebook) and it looks like I will have to cut the desert state of Rajasthan due to time constraints (and not wanting to be rushed everywhere).

I had a tasty late breakfast; I ordered a little too much food (2 items), with 2 teas, for all of Rs60 ~ $1.50
I will spend some time today getting more organized, e.g. a SIM chip for my phone, seeing if a trip to the Andaman Islands is feasible (i.e. hotel availability) since the inter-island ferry schedule will make me stay 1 or 2 extra nights on the main island.

So far, India doesn’t seem any tougher than other 3rd world countries…
And in many ways looks like other 3rd world countries (choked streets with no real “lanes,” half-built buildings, lots of tiny shops…)
Oh yeah, on the taxi ride in last night (it was 22°C when we landed at 1am) I had the window open for the breeze (and some exhaust fumes) when suddenly there was a nasty odour. I thought, we must be near water now, and sure enough we then crossed a river in town.

This Sat (Jan 26) is Republic Day, a big national holiday in India. Not sure yet how that will affect things like opening times and travel…

Leaving for the airport in an just over an hour

What a temperature change this will be: from a hi/lo of -7/-12°C (feels like -14 with the windchill!) in Toronto to a hi/lo of 30/22°C in Chennai, in the southeast of India. You can check out weather in Chennai, India at weather underground.
I still haven’t planned much, but now I’m considering flying to the Andaman Islands (1000km east in the Indian Ocean, south of Burma, but still part of India) and back to Chennai.

Update: here is a map of the path I ended up taking through India.

Leaving for India in just under a week!

I finally bought my ticket yesterday, and I’ll be leaving for India in less than a week, on Mon Jan 21!
I still have lots to do to get ready…


See map of my India trip (made after the fact)

Exchange rate at time of trip:
Indian Rupee (INR)
INR 1 = US$ 0.0256147
US$ 1 = INR 39.04
(update: as of mi-Dec 2011, the exchange rate is US$ 1 = INR 52.74, i.e. the rupee has gone down 25% in value vs the dollar in 3.5 years)