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Published: February 21st 2019
Three flights, as planned, from Manchester to Dubai, Dubai to Mumbai (both Emirates) then Varenesi local internal flight up to Amritsar. Left home at 09.00 Tuesday and arrived at the Ramada Amritsar 16.30 Wednesday... that's 5.5 hours ahead of the uk.
We've left the car and the Meet and Greet at Manchester having taken a careful note and photo of the mileage as we've heard of vehicles being used by the staff while the customers are away.
Security was a farce, We are delighted to see proper security checks carried out to keep us all safe but all we experienced at Manchester this time was chaos. There was so much attention given to totally innocuous and allowed items in everyone's checkin bags, about 50% of which were pulled aside and searched, that a whole gang of terrorists could have walked through armed to the teeth with machetes and machine guns and I swear they would have gone through unnoticed. Surprised they didn't bite the heads off my jelly babies to check they were real !
45 minutes later, with freezing cold feet as had to remove my very open toed low heel shoes and the floor was icy, we
were at last through and the rest of our trip was lovely and uneventful.
Nice and easy flight to Dubai, security a doddle after Manchester and we had a couple of hours to kill so got ourselves a drink and then time for our short hop to Mumbai.
Had to collect our baggage in Mumbai as we were switching to internal flight. Managed to get some Indian rupees from the ATM by only asking for 10.000 at a time. Last year we didn't know that was the limit and ended up with two stopped cards. My Nationwide did get stopped again but I was wise to it this time so had my phone ready to respond correctly that yes it really was me using my card in India to get money and the card was then unblocked and it worked.
Time for a quick snooze before our next flight but ever conscious that we dare not both fall asleep in case we slept through the boarding call.
We really enjoyed the art installation at Mumbai airport. One long wall filled with some lovely innovative displays. Saw it last year but didn't have time to photograph it. This time I
And so to Amritsar. Another quick flight, this time in Premium economy with lots of space and only 2 hours. Request to hotel to have a taxi pick us up worked and a man with a placard was waiting for us.
Initial impression on drive in (after driving past one place with sign reading "trespassers will be shot" ) was it is quite a mess. Absolutely everywhere and in all sorts of ways but then this is India, we've been before and seen what it is like. One loud drive to the hotel, loud because the louder the horn the more pushy the driver. Roundabouts appear to mean absolutely nothing. I really think that if they used them the way intended they would all get round them a lot quicker instead of the absolute mayhem which replaced any rules. All exceedingly entertaining.
We knew our hotel was near the Golden Temple but hadn't appreciated that it was right in the middle of the old city. Stands out rather like a beacon. We had a quick catnap then went for a walk. It was as forecast raining but we were not deterred. Turned down multiple offers of
tuktuks and went out on foot. The old town is a 'market'. Every doorway is a shop and we have never seen quite so much stuff on sale.
We did get a bit wet, clothing and certainly our feet as there were enormous puddles everywhere also rubbish and dogs and bicycles and rickshaws, scooters, motorbikes, taxis, food sellers. Felt quite safe enough walking round even though at night and biggest risk was being hit by a scooter.
At times the rain came down quite hard and we had to shelter but there were so many big drips from the awnings and extensive puddles right across the side streets that staying dry was not an option. They've had very unexpected heavy rainfall here for last 2 weeks. Due to be ok again for our second full day on Friday. The rain didn't seem to faze the Indians though. They were busy busy, selling, buying, riding, carrying or carting or just sitting around in their shops doing not a lot. Could have bought a suitcase full of saris and shawls or sequined shoes, shops full to the brim of them but the shop keepers were not pushy and very good-naturedly accepted
my response of 'just looking today'. Even better, they actively encourage me to take their photos. Love it.
I took lots of photos, very atmospheric with the rain shining all the lights into the puddles and then back to the hotel for a small dinner before bed.
Looking forward to exploring in daytime tomorrow. Looks like a really exciting spot to be.
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