23 December 2001

2. - 23 December: shopping in Delhi and flight to Chennai

Morning with Massimo, an Italian friend who is a diplomat at our embassy here. Has lived in Delhi for a couple of years with his family. It’s not easy he says, despite the obvious advantages provided by the service. They imported a container of mineral water from Italy, which I found a bit excessive: it is definitely not advisable to drink tap water here, but there is plenty of mineral and mineralized water to buy.

They also had a robbery in their house and had to intervene to moderate the reaction of the police that is usually very violent with thieves.

We go for a round of shopping in the warehouses of south Delhi, enormous stores of old stuff from the houses of old nobility, dusty remnants of the era of the Maharajas. I am tempted to buy everything! Prices are reasonable and shipping costs by sea are negligible, but this is big and important material, difficult to keep in a normal home. I end up buying nothing, though that will only plant the seed for a shopping spree in Cochin later in the trip...

In the afternoon transfer to the airport for departure by Air India for Chennai. We stay at the Hotel Taj Connemara. Dinner at the hotel with a rather fake touristy dance performance. But then again, we are almost the only foreigners, so if this is meant for Indians perhaps it is not so touristy after all...

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