‘Impressions of India’ is a trilogy of posts featuring guest author David Bader – a collection of his thoughts and observations during a work trip, told as only he can tell them.

PART ONE: David Bader is on board a British Airways flight, on a work familiarisation (aka fam) trip to India. Kicking off in Delhi, it’s his first visit to the country. How will this Nordic tourism professional, used to colder climes and smaller populations, find it here? Well, let’s take a look and find out, shall we?! Welcome to David’s first ‘Impressions of India’.

Day One | Arriving in Delhi

A world traveller arrives in Delhi

British Airways World Traveller Plus is my new standard.

Star Trek, Bad Neighbours 2 and Independence Day: Resurgence!
Sleeping socks, blanket, pillow, eyeshades – lamb dinner!

Good morning Delhi, here I am – I was prepared for many hours at immigration, but no, a simple ‘Welcome to India, Sir!’

How disappointing. ‘Go to gate 5…’ Where the hell is gate 5?

Wow, that heat!

On way to hotel: times we honked at other cars/bikes/people: 35
Times we got honked at: countless
OK, I think I understand –  honking means: ‘out of the way, here I come whether you move or not!’ Who needs seat belts anyway? Rush hour in Oslo means nothing to me anymore!

Car checked for bombs before approaching the hotel. Do I look that scary?
The Imperial Hotel… a 5-star hotel!! woot woot! Full ‘airport’ style security check before entering the hotel.
Best room ever!!

Breakfast right after check in? Yes please. I don’t know what they feed their pigs here, but the bacon is gorgeous! Nom nom nom, sweet lime juice. Ok, I am eating everything….no risk, no fun!

A short nap before going for a tour around Delhi!


A whistle-stop tour of Delhi city

Only someone born in Delhi, can manage to drive in Delhi! Nobody cares about traffic regulations here. I have no idea where we are, it all looks the same to me!

Humayun’s Tomb, just wow! JUST WOW! Amazing architecture.

Another 1 hour drive, and I again don’t know where we are!
Bazaar and food –  momo dumplings!! nom nom nom
Chicken chop suey soup! nom nom nom
I’m only ordering ‘not spicy’ but it will still be spicy!

Market negotiations in India – I love it. My colleague is negotiating. I only understand the word ‘discount’!
I have some wonderful presents now.

Ok, this guy could sell me his entire store!

Rush hour back to the hotel again. If there’s any small space, there is a bike in it.
Or another car. Or 2 cars even!
Who am I kidding, there is no space.

I have never been that happy to get into a shower!
Relaxing evening with gym and pool.

Must sleep and get ready for tomorrow…



Day Two | Delhi delights and an office visit

Feeling the Delhi heat

Why do I wake up at 6AM?! Ah well, let’s go for a swim in the pool.
And there is still this heat – at 6AM?!?!?!
Noooo, pool not open yet. OK, gym it is.
Can’t remember when I last went for a workout in the morning.
Even the cold showers are too warm!
Why does the waiter girl remember my room number?

Let’s see how I can challenge myself today with food items.
Noodles and lots and lots of chilli please! Nodding the head from side to side is such a wonderful custom…I hope I don’t offend anyone if I start doing it, because I can see how easy it could be to subconsciously pick up the mannerism.

I have 6 guys wanting to bring me a coffee, 5 guys who want to clean up my plate, 4 guys who are watching 3 other people trying to bring me a new juice and 1 person asking me for my business card while instructing others to get me coffee and juice.

It turns out I was faster getting my own juice. I appreciate all the service, but it’s not easy to just eat in peace!


On official business

Time to go to my first meeting. There’s a pickup service at the hotel, do I wait outside? Or do I let the guy go through all the security checks just so he can go out again with me?

Naaa, it’s too hot outside, I’ll wait inside, sorry!

I think I understand the use of the horn now. ‘Hello, I am here, make way. I don’t care what you do, where you go, what you want, I am here now and I want to go past you!’

Parking works this way: You park your car in the second row and leave the handbrake off. If someone wants to drive out he can push your car away!
Tourists are charged more than locals!

We arrive at our regional office – It’s good to see finally meet the people I only know through many many emails. I understand a lot of things better after hearing about them first-hand. Communication – it’s all about communication!!!!
Oooh, there’s a paneer dish on offer. NOM NOM NOM! How good is that?!?!?!


Now a transfer back to the Imperial Hotel for dinner.

I take everything back, I don’t understand the use of the horn here. Maybe it’s: ‘Right that’s IT! I have a horn, others are pushing in, so I will push in as well. TUUUT TUUUUT!!

People are Pokemon hunting while driving at walking speed through Delhi!
Shoot that Pokemon….ratatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatat ARGH!!!
If there is not a father with his wife and 3 kids on one motorbike, it is bad use of space!




Reflections and dining at Dehi’s Imperial Hotel

How many courses was this dinner now? 4, 5 6? I didn’t count!
Why is the dinner outside?! It is like a sauna here!
Going inside is like going into a fridge!
I feel sorry for the valets, in full costume standing outside all day long – it must be horribly warm.

Back to hotel room. Honk honk, here we come! It’s midnight and the streets are still full!
Do you mind if I park here?! In the middle of the street?
Of course not, why should I care about this, there is plenty of space here, there everywhere!

Imperial Hotel, New Delhi. Image by Connie Ma

Above: Imperial Hotel, New Delhi. Image by Connie Ma

Last hotel security check for today!
Norwegian hotels TAKE NOTE: ‘Excuse me sir, when does breakfast start tomorrow?’  ‘At 6, but if it is too late for you sir, we can prepare something for you earlier!’
Yes, I know – staff costs are expensive, blah blah…
Indians invented the Number 0. Because 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, these are not amounts anyone wants to pay!

I keep on looking at the laptop time, which only shows 22:15, but I keep on forgetting that I am 3.5 hours ahead!
Peace out for tonight!


See also: Impressions of India Part Two: A Brief Stopover in Bangalore

Impressions of India Part Three: Mumbai and Home


Disclosure: David Bader is an experienced tourism professional, living in Norway. All views and opinions expressed are his own.