Yesterday morning, over breakfast at the lovely home of a European ambassador, I met a very nice Indian lady entirely by accident. There were four tables of ladies and we just happened to sit next to each other at one table.
I asked her, as an ice breaker: "Are you from Sri Lanka?"
Scroll down to read more...
She spoke with an accent that I could have sworn was Sri Lankan. Having just returned from Colombo last month, living a Travelife, the familiar Sri Lankan intonation was still ringing in my ears.
It turned out that she was Indian. So much for my ability to distinguish accents.
I then said: "Oh, I'm headed for a holiday in India next week."
A REALLY BIG COUNTRY
She was quite surprised to hear this.
"Where in India?" She wanted to know.
As you are very well aware, India is such a vast continent that I was sure there would never be any cases of serendipity between the two exotic places I was headed for and this nice lady I was sharing a table with.
Both cities I've chosen promise history and adventure, too much good food, and a bit of shopping.
And neither is well-visited by tourists, who tend to head straight for the tourist magnet destinations like Mumbai, Delhi, Agra or Jaipur.
SO EXOTIC THAT
THEY'RE OUT OF THE RADAR
Meanwhile, my two choices for this trip were so much on the exotic side that this friend coming along with me on a Travelife had only vague name recall for one destination.
As for the second destination, he'd never even heard of it until I'd actually brought it up.
I saw him at the opening of Solaire last Saturday, and he'd said to me: "I saw the itinerary you sent but I still can't get excited over the first city. As for the second place, I still have no idea about it at all."
So basically he's coming along on a wing and a prayer. Good thing he's game.
TOO MANY TRIPS, TOO LITTLE TIME
Meanwhile, being Travelife on a never-endingly eventful Travelife, I of course had a better idea of the destinations -- but still not enough.
I'd focused last week solely on finalizing this India trip, with just a little effort in advance for planning a holiday in Tanzania and Kenya at the end of the year.
And as of today, almost everything for India is booked, planned and done -- except for stuff like stores to go to that are off the tourist track, logistics like how to get from the airport to the hotel, and a spa treatment or two -- or maybe half a dozen -- that still need to be booked.
What an amazing coincidence then that I met this lady yesterday, who's turned out to be a veritable treasure trove of information, especially where shopping's concerned.
And just like that, my problems were solved. I now have a little black book on the best shopping in that part of India...
TRAVELIFE MAGAZINE on Facebook