The Road to India and The Golden Triangle

It’s been two weeks since I’ve returned from my last excursion. I’ve been battling bronchitis since I returned. And, the extent of my bad luck stretches before the start of my trip as well.

I received an email on the morning of January 22, I was scheduled to depart at 9:30 p.m. The email informed me that my flight was canceled. I had booked a British Airways flight from Los Angeles to New Delhi, with a layover in London. I later found out that London was experiencing icy fog and that caused my flight to be cancelled. The airline re-routed me in the opposite direction, to Tokyo and then New Delhi with a much later arrival due to a very long layover in Tokyo. This would be a small bump on the road to India, so I thought. I boarded the flight, spent several hours at the Tokyo airport. An hour before the flight, I made my way to the departure gate. I sat down and I was surprised by a page by the airline. They asked if I had the proper paper work to enter India, I did, and if I had negative Covid test within the last 48 hours. I didn’t and I was never notified by the airline that I had to. I was not allowed to board the plane. They had a testing center but it was in the domestic terminal which was connected by a shuttle. I didn’t have enough time. You can imagine my confusion and frustration. The airline rebooked me for a flight the next day. What was I to do? An airline employee helped me with proper documentation to enter Japan since I hadn’t planned on doing so and had nothing prepared. I took the shuttle to the testing center and got my negative result back within an hour. And, while I waited I booked the nearest hotel to stay for the night. The hotel was connected to another section of the airport so I was able to take the same shuttle. Anxiety, stress, and total frustration got to me and I fell asleep with the lights on at approximately 8 p.m.

The next day, I was on my way to the international terminal where the airline crew had to help me with some more forms since I was now entering India from Japan. My original itinerary had me entering India from England so I didn’t need a Covid test but I was rerouted and now entered from Japan. I was told Japan had been placed on the high risk list of countries, a short list of Asian countries who had China to thank for this honor. China’s Covid numbers just spiked and counties were being careful of receiving travelers from the country. Japan’s proximity to China made it a target as well.

During this hectic time, I was constantly in contact with my tour company in India. They had been amazing in working on all my delays and then shortening my tour from seven days to six. I finally entered India on an evening arrival so I didn’t see anything but the hotel. The next day my much anticipated tour of the Golden Triangle began. The tour would be hectic but in a more pleasant way than the 24 hours I encountered in Tokyo. The Golden Triangle consist of New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur with the Taj Mahal as the main attraction. New Delhi is the capital of India and the location of the international airport which makes it the obvious location to start the tour. India is magnificent and it definitely exceeded my expectation. Not only was I impressed with the history, culture and architecture of the region, I was blown away by the high level of craftsmanship and artistry of the people. I’m definitely a frugal person but I ended up buying more art work than I ever had at one time, or at anytime I guess.

I was also captivated by what I saw along the road of the Golden Triangle. There are 1.4 billion people in India and you’ll definitely see some of them along the trip. The traffic, lack of driving etiquette, and the animals found along and on the road aren’t found in western countries. I found the animals to be amusing and constantly asked the driver for a closer look. The most common creature along the road was the cow. They’re sacred animals in the Hindu religion so they are free to roam the streets. People often feed them in hopes for good karma. Camels were more common in Jaipur. I even saw a camel pulling a cart. The tour I booked was for a small group tour but it was the off-season so I found myself on a private tour. It was just me and my driver. We picked up a tour guide at each city and sometimes at specific locations that were outside the city. The tours were private as well. I definitely got lucky with the VIP treatment without paying for the private tour. This personal touch surely made my time in India that much more enjoyable.

I’ll break down the tour in upcoming posts. This video best depicts my experience on the road of the Golden Triangle.