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Published: December 12th 2019
Well, we’re here at last, though I must say this trip hasn’t got off to an auspicious start...
Due to the chaos in Sydney Airport on Tuesday because of bushfire smoke cloaking the city, Ginny missed her flight to Brisbane. There were two unannounced boarding gate changes which she, and a lot of other passengers it seems, were unaware of. So, she had no choice but to purchase another seat on a later flight. Well, this flight also had four unannounced boarding gate changes, but thankfully, eventually left on time with Ginny on it.
Our flight to Singapore on Wednesday morning when off without a hitch, though we had a 50 minute delay with the Singapore to Hyderabad stretch, finally departing just before 9.00pm. We eventually arrived in Hyderabad 18.5 hours after leaving Brisbane.
Hyderabad, The City of Pearls, is Telangana state’s largest and most-populous city and the major urban centre for all of south-central interior India. Hyderabad’s rapid growth has led to its merging with it’s ‘twin city’ Secunderabad. The best way to get your bearings here is to refer to the two large bodies of water flowing through the city. The Musi River flows from east to west, to the north of Hussain Sagar Lake.
Situated on the southern bank of the Musi River is the walled Old City, the Historic Centre, and home to most of the attractions we’ll be visiting during our time here, including Charminar, Birla Mandir and Chowmahalla Palace. Golkonda Fort is also considered part of the Old City, despite its location on the northern bank of the river.
Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, where our flight landed late last night, is located about 24 kilometres south of Hyderabad.
I had organised a hotel pickup when I booked our accomodation months ago, but he never showed up, so we needed a taxi for the 40 minute trip into the city. No shortage of offers there but I also needed an ATM first to stock up on rupees. I had none with me as it’s illegal for foreigners to bring them into the county, though Ginny had smuggled a small amount through. The fourth ATM I slipped my card into finally gave me what I needed. I was starting to stress by then, just waiting for my credit card to be swallowed up by one of these uncooperative machines, never to be seen again.
It was a 40 minute drive to our hotel, only to find it in total darkness with locked front gates when we got there. Some energetic horn beeping got a security man up and he opened the gates and let us in. By the time we checked in, it was after 1.00am.
Our superior room at Amrutha Castle Hotel had a few problems...particularly with the bathroom - the loo seat almost falling off, the mixer tap in the shower very loose, and no hot water. The floor was glossy tiles with no lip around the shower area so it flooded, the water heading across the floor towards the door if left on too long. Those tiles are deadly when wet, so we spread towels over the floor to soak up the water and make it safer to walk on. I put a bottle of shampoo on the vanity to have it slide down the surface and onto the floor as the vanity wasn’t level. We laughed about it before hitting the bed, just wanting to sleep, but the next morning it wasn’t quiet so funny after a second shower on those dangerous tiles.
We explained our concerns at the reception desk on the way out on Thursday morning, said we’d like to change rooms and would return after lunch to get it sorted. They seemed agreeable enough at the time, though it took a ‘take no prisoners’ session over the reception desk with Ginny to have us upgraded at no extra cost, later in the afternoon.
This is what I mean when I say India isn’t an easy country to travel in. it’s fascinating, colourful, chaotic and full of friendly people but sometimes things just don’t work, or work out, as you’d like. We’ve had a great first day though...
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