On the road again, or rather "10 cramped hours in cattle class".
My hotel is a Marriott, not everyone's cup of tea, but I think they are excellent. In my previous job we always stayed in them, nowadays I rarely get the chance; usually the hotel is um, economic. Anyway, the luxury of the hotel is in stark contrast with the surroundings. Quite a culture shock, it is like living in a travelogue.
Stereotypical taxi from the airport, including the dangly bits on the mirror. Streets being brushed by doubled-up women holding rushes, and this at 1:30 AM. The reflective safety jackets were particularly incongruous. And yes, there was even a cow in the road.
The guards, sniffer-dog, and metal detectors at the hotel entrance were a bit of a shock. The helpful and polite staff are overwhelming. I think I have said "thank-you" more than any other phrase since I got here.
Walking out of the hotel on Sunday morning I was surrounded by tricycle drivers wanting to take me for a tour. When I politely declined they disappeared, and I was not bothered again. Just outside the hotel the poverty is heart-rending, yet the busy road ignores them. I have never seen anyone riding side-saddle on a motorbike while wearing a sari before.