We continued our journey from Salt Lake to Delhi and arrived in the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris at about 7:30 am. While riding the shuttle to the terminal, a few FBErs debated using the layover time to make a quick trip into the city to see the Eiffel tower. Professor Radebaugh said they were welcome to try, but he wasn’t going to hold the plane for them. With only 3 hours before departure, everyone decided to stay at the airport. We passed the time in various ways: some sampled French airport food (the macaroons were great), Ryan Denney took a nap on the airport floor, the Altons played a round of Scrabble, and several students held an impromptu paper airplane contest. At 10:45, our Air France flight departed for Delhi.
The Air France flight was less crowded and more comfortable than our previous flights. Most of us managed to catch some sleep. We arrived in Delhi at about 10:45 pm. The ad displays and vending machines in the airport boasted well-known international brands (e.g. BMW, Pepsi), which reminded me that this trip is part of our global business class. The airport was fairly empty; we were able to collect our bags, exchange some currency, and get on our way quickly. Fast, safe and economical air travel is definitely a flattening force.
Leaving the airport, we met our guide, Raaj, from Greater India Tours. We waited around outside briefly to get on the bus; the bushes nearby smelled wonderful, but the mosquitos started to bite. We got all the bags loaded and rode the bus to the Taj Palace hotel. We arrived at around midnight. The weather was pleasant but it was too dark to see much of anything outside.
At the hotel, security was tight. They have baggage scanners and metal detectors similar to those at an airport, but you can keep your shoes on. The Taj Palace was beautiful inside; the charming staff welcomed us with flower wreaths and a red dot on the forehead for health and prosperity. We took a couple group photos and then went off to our rooms for hot showers and much needed rest.