Day of Frustration
Turns Into a Night
|Christine and I with our sarees
October 27, 2007
Today tested my patience. Where are yoga breathing techniques when you need them?
We were aware that our flight from Delhi to Varanasi was cancelled. A snag, yes. But there was a solution – we would find
another airline that would take us to Varanasi when we arrived at Delhi airport.
That would have been a great plan had we not been delayed getting into the Delhi airport. By the time we arrived, all of the
flights to Varanasi on all of the different airlines had already left.
Christine and I had just expressed our excitement the other day at having never to go back into Delhi. Somebody up there was
getting back at us for something because now we had to stay in Delhi. Oh wait. We were offered the ‘retiring lounge’ option
where we could have spent the next 24-hours in a room in the airport with masses of other people – people who would most
likely be picking their noses, picking wax from their ears or hacking up everything that they have breathed in from Delhi over
the past many years. This would take a big fat ‘pass’.
We also knew we didn’t want to venture all the way into central Delhi. We wanted to stay closer to the airport.
These hotels are either really nice (considered ‘5-star deluxe’) or really basic. We’ve been doing basic for a while now. But the
nice hotels seemed like they were going to be quite pricey. And there was no access to internet anywhere near the airport to
check rates online. So I suggested that we go to the Hyatt Regency – I stayed there last year and knew they had a good café
and restaurant. At the least, we could get lunch (since it was after 3pm and all we had all day was toast). And we were on our
We arrived. It felt like déjà vu. Everything was just as I remembered it. The difference? Last time I got to use points to stay
here. This time we were being quoted $450 for a room. Plus we knew we had to use the internet to check different things out.
That was going to be another $25 for the 24-hour usage.
We told the manager this was too much for our budget. He called around to all of the other hotels in the area (how sweet of him
as he did not owe us this at all). Everything was either sold-out or relatively the same. If I was here by myself, I would have
left and stayed at a basic place (I probably would have done this anyway). But Christine was craving a place like this. She was
willing to splash out the cash. Now it was all on me.
I needed a minute…or ten…to think about this.
Finally I caved. I do really like this hotel. I had one stipulation – I wanted to see if I could use points to upgrade to the Regency
Club like I had last time. Christine went to ask and the manager (Negi) said that he would do a complimentary upgrade! What
a kind, kind man. That was all I needed to hear. I was now sold.
I was going to make the most of my stay here. We now had free access to wireless internet. We got beverages all day. We
would get cocktail-and-appetizers in the evening. And breakfast in the morning. I was now looking at this $225 expense as not
just a ‘hotel room’…but a ‘hotel room with board’.
And then it would get better.
We saw a wedding getting set up outside. By the time ‘last call’ happened and our wine glasses got topped off, I was feeling
good. I asked Christine what she thought of crashing a wedding. I thought this would take some arm twisting. I was wrong. She
agreed to it right off the bat. It was all in the name of putting our sarees to use.
We put on our Hindu attire and headed on down to the party. We passed the hostess at the restaurant who asked if we were
attending the party. We didn’t quite know what to say – we totally stalled. She told us that we could go outside and look at it.
Before doing that, we wanted to verify our sarees looked very saree-like when it came to our saree-tying abilities. She let out a
little chuckle and straight out said ‘No’.
She came into the bathroom with us and wrapped us to perfection. I want to take her home with me so that she can help me
get ready for Halloween next year. My saree looked amazing once she was done with me. Now we were ready to go outside.
We passed the security guards and walked around the pool where the party was taking place. But we weren’t seeing many
sarees. A few. But not many. Several stylish dresses like we would see at home. No hennaed hands. We stood out (though there
were other westerners there). We weren’t sure if everyone knew that we didn’t belong there. I just assumed that people would
have just thought we were invited by some other relative. The name of the game was just owning it. And we did. We scanned
the different food station and settled on the Swiss Station and some raclette that we would wash down with the red wine we
had already gotten from the open bar. This was a posh party. We were loving it. I got a few pieces of dim sum and Christine
tried (and loved) some spice-ified raclette. Then more wine and some dessert – chocolate fondue with fun dipping items for
Christine and a mangosteen and crème brulee for me.
And compliments to the deejay – I was very much enjoying the hip hop selection that was being played.
We were waiting for the bride and groom but not much was going on so we eventually decided it was time to hang up our
sarees and retire for the evening. We never did see the guests of honor.
This morning I woke up at 7:30am. Normally I would have gone back to sleep. But not today. I had to take advantage of
everything our hotel had to offer!
I started with some coffee and a call to my sister using Skype. It was good to talk to her – it was only the second time I have
talked to her since I have been gone. By the sound of Clarke’s excitement (or lack thereof) in his voice when he heard my voice
on the other end of the line when he answered, you would swear I call them everyday or something. Ungrateful brother-in-
Then I had some lox and cheeses and tropical fruit salad for breakfast. Mmmm….
And then came something I haven’t seen for two months – a gym! Oh, how nice it was to be back in one of these. It felt good.
Oh so good. Funny how one loves a gym when they have no access to one any more. When I was leaving, I noticed the locker
room had a sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi. I made a mental note of this.
I went back upstairs and tried to research a bit more since I had the wireless access. When I was researched out, I put on my
bathing suit and headed downstairs. First I sat by the pool for a bit. Then came time to utilize the locker room facilities. It felt
like a day at the spa. I showered and started in the sauna (the only one I have ever been in with a built-in television). Then I
showered and moved on to sweat out Delhi and Kashmir in the steam room. I felt my skin getting more and more naturally
hydrated and moisturized every minute I was in there. Then I showered again and moved onto the Jacuzzi. Ahhh… It felt like
a spa day. So now my $225 was going towards ‘hotel with board and spa services and gym’. Oh yeah. And Hindu wedding.
Just a bit later it was time to say good-bye to our wonderful Delhi haven. As Christine said “Staying here could make a person
really like Delhi.” Negi even arranged for us to have a driver to the airport. On the house.
Expensive? Yes. But an excellent experience? Ohhh, yes!
We realized something this evening. We don’t think we actually crashed an ‘Indian wedding’. Thinking about it, we think we
just crashed an ‘Indian party’. That would explain the different range of attire that was worn. And the un-hennaed hands. And
the Usher that was being played.
Oh. And I realized that I left my favorite Nike sports-bra back in Delhi in the hotel room. Booo!
Putting on a saree by myself.