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Hi everybody! Hope you’re all doing great. I know it’s been more than three weeks since my last post but…hey I’m back now! Hope you all missed me while I was away…travelling through North India! It’s so good to see that my blog crossed 10000 hits while I was away. To my followers and visitors (whether first time or regular), thank you so very much for visiting my blog! I hope you’ll keep visiting me. Your feedback is and always will be very much appreciated.

This post as well as the next coming posts will be about my recent trip. I hope you’ll enjoy reading my travel diary as much as I’m going to enjoy sharing it with you all.

It was an unplanned trip so I hadn’t carried any maps with me nor did I google for information on the places in my itinerary. At times, I made some last minute changes in the plan for the two-week trip and… the itinerary? Mumbai-New Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar-Dalhousie & Khajjar- McLeodganj-New Dehi-Mumbai

Alright, here we go…

10.06.2013

I took the 8:25am IndiGo flight from Mumbai landing in New Delhi at 10:30am. When I came out of the airport, I was immediately enveloped by the scorching 40-degree Celsius heat.  All of a sudden I felt like a fried red tomato! I looked forward to reaching the hotel. Unfortunately I had forgotten to carry the hotel address and the only thing I knew about it was the name and that it was in Connaught Place. An expensive mistake, I realized later.  Locating the hotel through enquires proved to be a futile exercise. Connaught Place was so huge…

On the way, I had seen a signboard with directions leading to The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa. I decided to stay there for one night.

The room was lovely. “It’s one of our special rooms with a bathtub,” smiled the girl who showed me the room.

My room at The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa in New Delhi

The room had a steam iron which proved to be handy. I had to meet the Mexican Ambassador the next morning and my coat had a few wrinkles despite having been ironed prior to packing.

Late in the afternoon, I went to the South Block which houses the Defence Ministry offices. Reason for visit? To meet the Army Vice-Chief (VCOAS), the second most important person in the Indian Army after the Army Chief (COAS). A totally humble and wonderful person, I had first met him when he was the General Officer Commanding (GOC) based in Leh, Ladakh in August 2010 and a few months later in Shillong in the North East. I was going to meet him for the third time after almost two and a half years. Knowing that he would be very busy with important matters, I just hoped that I could get to meet him….and I did! I was absolutely delighted when my wish was granted. I felt awesome walking past the office of the Defence Minister.

“You look fitter than before,” the VCOAS smiled, when we met. Just the words I was hoping to hear from him! The last time we had met I was a little bit plump, not measuring up to the Army Fitness Standards. Writing books meant sitting for long hours before the computer and though I was a regular at the gym, it didn’t help me knock off the extra kilos easily. But I was determined to get back in shape before I met the VCOAS again. And I was finally successful at it! Thrilled at having spent some time with the kind and fatherly “General,” who had many important meetings with high-profile people lined up in his busy schedule, I looked forward to meeting him again.

Late in the evening, I had dinner at one of the hotel‘s restaurants, Sakura, India’s first Japanese restaurant.

Sakura, India's first Japanese restaurant

I loved the soup I had ordered.

Japanese soup at Sakura

Later, I asked for Wasabi ice cream. The attendant brought the ice cream. ”It is on the house,” he grinned. His words were nothing less than music to my ears!

11.06.2013

I had an 11:00am appointment with the Mexican Ambassador at the Embassy so I had asked for a taxi at 10:15am. The slow moving traffic made me wonder whether I would reach on time. Thankfully, I was at the Embassy at five minutes to eleven.  I was very enthusiastic about meeting the Ambassador and hoped that I wouldn’t stumble over my words in Spanish when speaking with him. But I didn’t have to worry because he was a very warm and friendly person and I felt very comfortable chatting with him. Here’s a proud moment…

Swarupa with the Mexican Ambassador in New Delhi

Yours truly with the Mexican Ambassador to India, Lic. Jaime Nualart.

Late in the afternoon, I shifted to the accommodation arranged for me in one of the Army guestrooms at the Maneckshaw Centre which was near Dhaula Kuan on the way to the airport. The heat was unbearable. I remained inside my air-conditioned suite for the rest of the day watching television. I had been to Delhi several times before and had visited most of the places. However, I was keen on visiting the malls of Gurgaon.

12.06.2013

Late in the morning, I booked a taxi to visit the largest mall in the region – Ambience Mall in Gurgaon.  After satisfying myself with a heavy dose of window shopping, I lunched at Dimsum Bros. It was a delicious meal of assorted momos.

Momos at Dimsum Bros in Gurgaon

My shopping was limited to chocolate goodies at Nature’s Basket. My chocolate binge…

My chocolate binge

For dinner I had the chocolate éclair. The chocolate pastry was going to be the next morning’s breakfast. So I kept it in the mini fridge in my room.

Coming up next : My Travel Diary: New Delhi to Chandigarh and Amritsar

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