London and India Part I


Via the marvels of the Internet it may not be obvious but I’ve been traveling quite a bit recently. I’ve got writer’s cramp from filling out so many landing forms. I spent a week in London and then headed over to Hyderabad, India for a week. All in all, close 12,000 miles in two weeks time. I’m still not done though. I have a funeral to attend back in Los Angeles so I’ll be planting my butt in another airplane seat this week for another 12,000 miles and a whirlwind three-day weekend in LA.

Gay ABBA Party

So here’s my itinerary:

Left Gib Oct 29th on the 7:15pm flight to Luton. Took a bus from Luton into London.

I’ve been to London many, many times and have always enjoyed myself there. It’s quite expensive though so it’s not a place you can get too fond of if you’re staying in a hotel. Here’s a good rule of thumb for London hotels; a good one is priced the same as one in the states except the price is in GBP which means multiply the cost by 1.9.

More calling cardsI ended up in a Radisson near the British Museum. I also happened to be there over Halloween so I had the opportunity to see how they celebrate it over on this side of the pond.

I tried to see a sneak preview of the new Borat movie in London but every showing sold out long before I even got to the theatre. I know that it’ll be months before it comes to Gib (if at all) so that was a bit of a disappointment. I guess I’ll have to try and cram it in during my US trip.

Worked in the London office Monday – Friday and then caught the 7:05am flight from London to Frankfurt. Short layover in Frankfurt and then I’m flying non-stop to Hyderabad, India., India.

Mind the Gap

I arrived at Hyderabad International around 1am Sunday morning. Having been to Bangkok a few times in the past, the warm stench that hits you when the doors to the plane open was not new to me. Polluted cities mixed with extreme humidity just take on a smell which can’t really be described but you know it if you’ve ever been.

I grabbed my bag and proceeded out into the night expecting to see a semi-orderly line of taxi cabs waiting to whisk travellers off to their hotels but was instead greeted with a chaotic scene which made what was to happen next come as absolutely no surprise. I approached some taxi drivers and negotiated a rate of 250 rupees. That’s about $6. I jumped into a beat up old cab that took several attempts to start. As we travelled down the dark streets towards the hotel (I hoped) the driver shouts over his shoulder “You give me $100 tip? I have big family.” I laughed but I knew he wasn’t joking and my mind immediately started racing through possible scenarios and how I would get myself out of this jam.

View from Hyderabad Marriott

When we arrived within the compound walls at the Marriott Hyderabad I realized how incompetent of a shakedown artist I had encountered. The doorman grabbed my bags from the vehicle and took them inside. I pulled a 500 rupee bill out of my pocket (the smallest I had) and told the driver to give me back 200 rupee which would have left him a 50 rupee tip (20%). He demanded, “No you give me 4000 more tip! I have big family!” I just laughed at him. He got a bit of a pissy look on his face and then I reminded him of the fact that I was at my destination, my bags were in the hotel, and he was shit out of luck. He angrily slapped a 100 rupee note in my hand and claimed he didn’t have any more change.

Typical Hyderabad Traffic

The next morning the curse of the cleaning lady rears its ugly head when I hear tapping on my door at 9am. It’s freakin 9am on a Sunday. I only checked in 7 hours ago! And so the dance begins.

Oh sorry, sir. When should I come back to clean the room?

You don’t need to clean it. I just checked in at 2am this morning. [head still buried in the pillow]

Oh. Okay.

Of course, ten minutes later the phone rings.


Yes, this is house keeping. We were wondering when it might be okay to come back and clean the room.

I told the woman I didn’t need the room cleaned today.

Yes, so maybe later this afternoon?

No. Not at all. Come clean it tomorrow.

Oh, okay, sir.

More to come . . .