Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hyderabad, Secunderabad and All the Bad Things That Are Good

This photo only courtesy of flicker's amit k.

I'm starting to dislike all these train journeys i'm having. Every single one of them have had stories to tell, and every one of them tiresome. You see, every single day, 14 million people ride the extensive Indian railways all over this subcontinent. Some of the services are good, but some of them also leave nothing to be desired. All the platforms are a mind boggling maze, and finding them is a little adventure in itself.

I am very good with finding platforms, but in India, I am just plain clueless.

My train journey from Mumbai ("bombay", to the local residents) to Secunderabad was a pleasant one. I befriended a really delightful Indian and we have become fast friends. He is a businessman who travels all over the country to do some hands-on checking for his family business (spices, dried fruits, etc). His name is Himanshu, married with a child. Had it not been for him, it would have been one dour trip with dour-looking bunkmates (they hardly spoke english, you see, and my only hindi is "namaste").

I got off the Begumpet (which the locals pronounce as "Beg'um Pay") instead of Secunderabad Junction, then got an autorickshaw to my hotel of choice, which was full. Lucky for me, a tout was waving the call card of my next hotel of choice! So I walked from there to the next block.

Hyderabad, as it turns out has a different system. Your hotel stay is 24-hours, not until the usual check out time between 9AM to 12noon; so if you arrive at 6PM today, your check out time will be 6PM tomorrow. Another thing, the local government imposes a travel tax of 10% on all hotel bookings. That isn't so bad. Mine would fetch 55 rupees (PhP55).

Later in the afternoon, I went 20 kilometers out of the city to see the Golconda Fort on the hills. I was with a delightful septuagenarian Indian couple who later turned out to be retired lawyers. I also became a celebrity of sorts. THREE different Indian people stopped me and wanted MY photo with them. I felt like the circus freak, but hey, a photo - or 3 - won't hurt me. Haha.

Fun fun!

Tomorrow will be hectic.


I realized I have seen east, north, west, south, and soon, south southeast of India. Imagine that!

P.S. 2

Hyderabad is a minor cyberhub of India (Bangalore is India's Silicone Valley), thus you would see the noveau riche driving their BMWs and Mercedes on the streets of Hyderabad. Secunderabad is its twin city; much like Old Delhi and New Delhi.

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