Monday, October 6, 2014

Rambling: India, Part the First

The sound of India is the blare of the Car Horn. And the Bus Horn. And the Tuk-tuk horn, and the motorbike horn, and pretty much anything that goes "beeeep" as it hurtles through the traffic too fast that is comfortable into a space that always seems too small until it turns out that it isn't. Its the sound, as much as the wave of heat, even at 3.30am, that reminds that I'm back in the country after two years, on another trip out to see our development team in Ahmedabad, Gudjarat.

We flew out on Sunday morning, 9.30am out of a cold and misty Manchester - is there any other sort? - on a Qatari Airlines plane that looked pretty small for jet that was going to be in the air for the next seven hours. Last time I flew Emirates through Dubai, leaving me with a fierce distaste for that great Fly-Through Shopping Mall in the Desert but this time were going to chance at Doha, and at a more respectable hour at that. Better prepped for the flight this time, I'd filled my kindle with chunky books and not worn my contact lenses like an amateur traveler. So, unsurprisingly I had a much better journey.

Seven hours, The Bone Clocks and Edge of Tomorrow later, we're in Doha, which whislt functionally the same as Dubai manages to hide its intent a little better. It's got a nicer character, basically, it's shopping area of expensive luxuries winding and twisting along, and the central areas have some flavoursome art installations and in memorable instance, a giant teddy bear. I'm also able to find a decent cup of coffee after the half-filled and luke-warm stuff they serve you on any given aircraft. Its a good couple of hours wait but at least I'm not travelling alone this time, and company is appreciated even you're just sat next to each other reading magazines. Airports can be lonely places.

And they go on FOREVER...
The three hour flight onwards to Ahmedabad skips on another three time zones, a smaller plane again that arrives at an airport about the size of Leeds-Bradford that service a city that would utterly dwarf it. That 3.30 arrival time sounds nasty but my body clock thinks its about 11pm, and having spent more of the day cooped up I'm at least alert enough to stand in the queue (next to the scary ebola signs) for immigration and baggage without too much zombie-like staggering around the terminal. From there, back to the Pride hotel through the darkened, late night city streets.

Quite a lot has changed in the last two years. My memory of Ahmedabad was of a city under construction, and whislt there is still a lot happening, a lot has been acheived, too. For a start, it's all lit up now, the small pools of light of the richer areas now spread out along the roads and underpasses. There are a lot more cars on the road too, noticable even in the small hours and hugely noticable in rush hour the following morning. They're still outnumbered by the hordes of bikes though!

Anyway, only three hours sleep last night, and after 9 hours in the office i'm pretty much ready for bed. G'night all, see you in a few days,