I’m on the road again. Or rather I’m in the skies and generally racking-up the air miles. It’s buying season and there’s no rest for the wicked. In another life I must have been a very bad person!
Having departed a red-hot Delhi at 01.10 this morning I’m now in damp and dreary Hong Kong. Typhoon Khanun is passing by, bringing with it the kind of weather than would not rattle a teacup in England but which seems to create high drama here. So much drama that the inhabitants of my room have decided to stay put, making me a refugee in the hotel lobby. OK, so the lobby is a palm court and I’m drinking Assam tea from a bone china cup, but I need a bed and sleep more than serenading and finger sandwiches.
It always pains me to leave India as I love the atmosphere, the people, the shopping and, most of all, my hotel. I have waxed lyrical about The Trident before, so I won’t bore you again (you can read my previous post here), but I will never tire of admiring and photographing the immaculately designed complex of buildings and gardens which are transcendent in early morning or late afternoon light. Even pigeons look heavenly perched on the edge of the deep blue pool in the central courtyard.
By happy chance, Helen of Oz happened to be in town so I had to show my hotel off after a long, hot lunch at Olive, near the Qutub Minar. Helen described the look as ‘Balinese’, which I can appreciate, although the last time I was in Bali was 23 years ago and I certainly couldn’t have afforded to stay anywhere like The Trident. Whatever the day has thrown at me, the moment I step through the monumental arch into the hotel’s magnificent forecourt I feel calm and serene again.
Over a bottle of chardy we both agreed how fortunate we were to have the opportunity to travel for our work. Although it can be a hard slog, we do get to stay in some wonderful places, eat well and experience different cultures. Occasionally, we also get to meet up and share those experiences.
India is changing, but much that I witnessed in 1995 on my first visit endures; the omnipresent poverty, chaos and inappropriately located cattle included. In another twenty years, who knows, all of this may have vanished. Uncomfortable though the poverty is, it’s a sobering reminder that such deprivation still exists in the world. The chaos and cattle have a different place in my heart, and I’ll miss them when they’re gone.
NB: I cannot take credit for the photograph at the top of this post. Full credit goes to Helen of Oz for snapping it, and to our driver for slowing down at a busy intersection to let us admire this handsome beast at close quarters.