Home > Travel > Day One in Hyderabad

Day One in Hyderabad

After a long but surprisingly incident-free trip to India, I spent much of the day sleeping and recovering from jet lag.  However once I did drag myself out of bed, I went for a walk around the hotel and asked the front desk what they would recommend to see some of the local sites in the afternoon.  They suggested I rent a car, which here actually means car and driver, who can take me around to see the city.  And so I did!

Pretty much everything I know about visiting India comes from The Amazing Race, but I wasn’t sure if that would be a realistic impression of a major Indian city or not.  For example, if the Canadian stop on a reality show involved dogsledding I probably wouldn’t call that a truly Canadian experience.  What I can fairly confidently say having seen several seasons of Amazing Race and having actually experienced it myself, that yes it’s a pretty accurate depiction.

We drove downtown, and I was completely taken aback by the traffic.  Cars, mopeds, people, and in many cases animals were everywhere.  The car horn is a completely normal and expected part of driving.  Lines, signs, and traffic lights seem to be mere suggestions which everyone ignores.  It was madness.

My driver thought I might want to do some shopping to bring home some items for my family, which was nice but he missed the mark by a long shot.  First was a pearl shop, which while interesting is not something that Jodie’s particularly in to.  Next was a cashmere scarf shop, and finally a jewellery shop where apparently all the stars get their jewellery.  In all cases I was completely uncomfortable, which is not necessarily a bad thing when you’re experiencing a new culture, but the incredibly aggressive selling style of these places completely turned me off of buying anything.

I noticed people selling everything on the side of the road, including used tires, fruit, bricks.  Construction seems to be a big deal here, but not in the “big” way we’d normally see in North America.  Instead it seems like everyone’s a handyman, and you get your raw supplies from the guys on the side of the road.  Oddly enough, there were advertisements for cement everywhere!

He then took me to some of the local attractions.  One of the major stops was at the Seven Tombs, which if I’m to believe the tour guide (and I don’t) were built by the seven kings of Hyderabad for them to be buried in once they passed on.  Part of the tour guide’s sell seemed to be how many pictures he could take, so I have lots but here are a few of the better ones. Did I mention that I’m pretty sure I got completely hosed by the tour guide?  All part of the experience…

While we ran out of time to go through a “real” residential area we did pass by several little shanty-town type lots.  The poverty here is distressing, and there are people begging at every intersection.  Many keep animals, my driver (pictured above in the white suit) told me that in some cases they’re for food but also as work animals.

The area near the hotel is much more modern, with mostly American companies setting up large campuses in the newer areas of the city.  I’ll be heading into the Open Text / Vignette office tomorrow and look forward to meeting with the team.

Categories: Travel
  1. Sanj
    November 16, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Try a government emporium or arts and craft shop .. they don\’t have bargaining. Btw many times the driver and the emporium have a deal. The driver gets a cut for anything the customer buys from the shop.

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