First Impressions

According to our tour leader the going rate is INR10 per porter-carried bag. The same applies to serviced public toilets while for meals a minimum 10% tip is expected. This makes an awkward situation when a traveler has literally just landed in the country with only INR500 or INR1000 notes. The taxi driver extends his hand for an enthusiastic “handshake” and the porter lingers unnecessarily after turning on EVERY SINGLE SWITCH IN THE ROOM. Tipping is an awkward procedure for me as I’ve had practically no exposure to it. I’ve been aware of tipping being standard practice in certain countries but always saw it as an annoying play on customers’ guilt and ego. Until the other day when my tour leader described his point of view…he related an experience he had in a country where the service charge was included in the total bill and the service was terrible. In India service charge is not included so standard practice is to tip it. I now understand the preference of tipping according to service. In theory you would think this would result in excellent service. In reality (well in Indian reality) it often results in porters stalking you in hotel corridors or lobbies trying to grab at your luggage – no matter how small or lightweight.

Steering back toward different point of views, over the past four days India has presented me with different perspectives and pleasant surprises. From the moment I laid eyes on Delhi from the airplane I was expecting smog and congestion but that was only the case for about two minutes. As the plane continued its decent the smog began to clear and I spotted the white sails of the Lotus Temple. Although my camera was on my lap ready I was so taken by awe but the sight of its perfect symmetry glistening in the midday sun that I forgot to take photos 😦 I really was taken by awe at the aerial sight of Dehli. I found it fascinating. The cityscape consisted of flat roof houses, blocks of condominiums and lush bodies of water fronted by mansions sitting on perfectly manicured estates of grass. By the time I remembered my camera we were over the tarmac, which by the way, houses are built right up to. Talk about dense! Welcome to India!

Delhi airport was a pleasant surprise; clean, modern and no more crowd than at Perth airport. The walk from the arrival gate to immigration felt very organized and that first glimpse of the arrival hall was delightful. Maybe I’ll upload a sketch later because I don’t think words will suffice. This will probably be the case for most of India. A camera with a full battery and large memory space is invaluable. That being said, I’m finding the need to control myself from snapping away at every street corner. There is so much happening at every point of the journey. I am already making notes for my next visit here.

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