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  1. #1
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    aeronaut and medium cafe bag at indra gandhi international airport, new delhi, india

    those orange tags you see on all of the bags are security tags. these get stamped when you go through the security check. when you approach the gate to board your plane, a security officer verifies that your bags went through security.
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  2. #2
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    now, this tag said "HEAVY." i know my bags weren't at all heavy. i wonder if they were trying to tell me in a not so subtle way that i should lose some weight...
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  3. #3
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    some people riding in the back of a truck on G.T. Road. this is not an uncommon site.
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    stopping for gas along gt road, somewhere near jalandhar.

    this was a fairly nice looking gas station.

    the second picture shows a view of gt road from the gas station.

    gt road is an interesting drive. parts of it are like a paved highway where you can travel at 120kmh provided there isn't traffic to slow you down. they've built, and continue to build, overpasses (called flyovers) in recent years when you pass through cities. it used to be that you would be driving along this highway and would come through a city and would all of the sudden be sharing the road with pedestrians, cows and rickshaws. some parts of it are still like that, but india has spent quite a bit on infrastructure recently.

    it's also interesting, and this isn't just gt road - it's india in general - you don't have passing lanes. in fact, even if there is little traffic, a driver will not drive in the right lane or the left lane. you'll find the vehicle in between the two lanes@ so you can imaging you're zipping down gt road at night and there isn't much traffic. you're going about 120kmh. then you come upon this truck that's probably going 50-60kmh. and it's right in the middle of the two lanes. and you have to honk your horn until it moves. it sees a car approaching. even if it was in the passing lane, you would think it would move over or that you would pass in the other lane. no - it's right between the two lanes. you come up honking your horn and hitting the brakes and it takes its time moving over. i saw this not once, not twice, but over and over as we went down gt road. you have no idea what this does to your back. i had my noise isolating earphones in my ears even though i wasn't listening to anything. next time, i should bring some eye shades. just thinking about this puts a knot in my lower back. okay, i'm going to breathe and continue. sorry for the rant.

    the third picture is of buckets of sand at the gas station should there be a fire.
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  5. #5
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    some rather colorful trucks on gt road. again, not an uncommon thing in india.
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  6. #6
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    some signs on the back of a truck that was in front of us.

    if someone can read gurmukhi, i would love to know what the green one in the middle says.

    but i wanted to bring your attention to the two red ones on either side of the green one.

    "NO LIFE WITHOUT WIFE." this is something i've heard indians say when they're trying to coax you into getting married when you're quite happy remaining free. i find it very annoying.

    "NO KNOWLAGE WITHOUT COLLAGE." this one leaves me at a loss for word.
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  7. #7
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    a worker in a toll booth is pictured here. let me draw your attention to the big steal beams that surround and protect his office, should a vehicle come flying at him really fast.
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  8. #8
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    Thanks for sharing these... very interesting!

  9. #9
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    wow very interesting. would love to visit one day.
    and love the pic of you and your areonaut....hot... always nice seeing how the bag looks on people as it looks so comfortable.

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    Great pics! I esp. like the bumper sticker that left you at a loss for word ;)

    Can you explain the "Horn / Speed 40 KM" sticker? Does that mean it's OK to honk if it's going less than that speed?

    This increases my desire to go to India ... next Spring, maybe? We shall see. Now that I have an Aeronaut (and slept through the "Tristar at original price" time window -- which I regret, but Hey, it happens), I'm looking forward to the next chance to use it ;)

    timothy

    timothy

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluedenim View Post
    wow very interesting. would love to visit one day.
    and love the pic of you and your areonaut....hot... always nice seeing how the bag looks on people as it looks so comfortable.
    okay, now that i've finished blushing and feeling flattered, i see the "hot" obviously refers to the aeronaut! :) though it could also refer to the 110 degree high temperature in the afternoons in new delhi...

    the backpack straps on the aeronaut make it extremely comfortable to carry. if you aren't carrying too much weight, it's easy to forget that it's there.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by timothy View Post
    Can you explain the "Horn / Speed 40 KM" sticker? Does that mean it's OK to honk if it's going less than that speed?
    hi timothy,

    the "HORN" signage on the left goes along with the "PLEASE" signage on the right.

    you will see this on the back of every truck as well as other commercial vehicles in india.

    not that drivers in india need an invitation to blow their horn.

    here, you may just pass someone and do nothing out of the ordinary. you will flash your turn signal if you're changing lanes. you may flash your high beams once if you want to pass and someone is driving in the passing lane.

    in india, you'll blow the horn when you're passing someone (regardless of whether they are in the way). this is to warn them that you're passing and to protect you so that they know you're passing. the other driver will also blow his horn in acknowledgement.

    you'll blow your horn as you go through an intersection.

    you'll blow your horn as you park your car.

    you'll blow your horn as you pull out of a parking space.

    a friend of mine visiting from the u.s. was traveling by car in india. he was accompanied by someone who lived in india but was originally from the u.s. the one who lived in india had been there long enough to know how things work in india.

    my friend who was visiting commented: "wow, we have a great driver! it's so nice to not hear the horn blowing 10 times a minute." the one who knew the ways said: "no, it must be broken." then he reached up from the back seat and pressed the horn button and said: "here, see." and sure enough, it didn't work.

    if you're not used to it, the stress of riding in a car in india is similar to the stress of having a wild teenager who doesn't come home when they're supposed to. you end up with this awful tightness in your lower back after riding in a car there.

    but it's better than driving there! i couldn't do it.

    when you rent a car in india, by the way, it comes with a driver. you don't drive yourself. you shouldn't drive yourself.

    with regard to the "SPEED 40 K.M." - i believe that means that this truck goes 40km/h. that seems really slow, but repeatedly, we would be going down the road at 120km/h and have to hit the breaks because a truck in front of us was going 40km/h. it was passing one that was going even slower. we'd approach with the horn pressed and either pass the slower truck behind this slow truck or wiggle from the right or the left or in between.
    Last edited by maverick; 05-30-2009 at 07:44 PM.
    -m

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by timothy View Post
    This increases my desire to go to India ... next Spring, maybe? We shall see. Now that I have an Aeronaut (and slept through the "Tristar at original price" time window -- which I regret, but Hey, it happens), I'm looking forward to the next chance to use it ;)

    timothy
    despite everything i described about the driving in india, it is an amazing place to visit and i definitely encourage you to go!

    there is so much history and culture to be discovered that you could get lost in india for a month and still not get to see everything! this has partially to do with how slow and late the trains usually run.

    in addition to the historic places, there are so many different types of cuisines to be enjoyed. punjabi food is different from south indian food which is different from gujarati food which is different from other cuisines found in india.

    when you are making your plans, let me know when you're going and how long you are going to be there and i'll provide some suggestions of places to go.

  14. #14
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    Maverick: If I end up being able to go next spring, I'll be sure to ask for advice here -- thanks for the offer. It will depend on several things, though:

    - Will I have taken the bar, and felt confident about passing? If not, I might not feel good about going on a big trip.
    - What will the airfares be like? There have been some great ones in the last year, but a year hence ... hard to say. I paid a lot for my tickets to Israel, not in global-historical-cost-per-mile-divided-by-hourly-income terms, but Hey, I've got a fair amount of school debt I'm chipping away at.
    - Global political situation, though I have no *special* worries about that wrt visiting India. Friend of mine visited the Kasmir region 2 years ago -- something that I'm sure the average tourist agency would discourage, but he had a good adventure.
    - Visa hassles; I hear they're pretty bad for visiting India. (Semi-) funny story: a different friend of mine, a real world traveler in general, got cheap tickets there from London ... and (uncharacteristically foolishly) didn't realize that a visa would be needed for a short stay. So she flew there ... and had to fly right back. Which I can chuckle at now, but I did something similar once. (I assumed that I could visit Korea for a short time with no special visa -- and while I was happily correct, realized with heart-in-throat that there could have been some document necessity I'd overlooked only on disembarking in Seoul. I shall remember that feeling of dread forever ....)

    timothy
    Last edited by timothy; 05-31-2009 at 01:05 AM.

  15. #15
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    hey folks:
    Maverick: great pictures! I have a great time going home--and it is still "home" although I have lived in the US now far longer than at home! But I love all the craziness of it---and I guess I still drive there, although it gets harder and harder!! I think travel at home is like being on a roller coaster in an amusement park here...heheeheh!!! So I guess I don't get so worried..it is just part of the madness....Rome comes quite close to this I was surprised to realize! Maybe that is why Sonia Gandhi (an Italian) is so comfortable being in India!!!
    I think you should all visit; I am from the South of India..so any tips you need let me know.
    Also: visa--it is not hard to get a tourist visa! Most Americans assume they don't need a visa to go anywhere cos we are used to visiting Europe without them! But yes, we do--just as other folks need one when coming here!

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