A Travellerspoint blog

1 ~ No queue + unexpected Upgrade

Day 1: Auckland > Hong Kong

View India 18 - 19 on bruceontour's travel map.

Time to head off again.

Back to India focusing on Rajasthan including the Golden Triangle where most tourists head to. Let's see how the next 16 days turn out.

Here's an overview:

Delhi (2) – Mandawa (1) – BikanerGajner (1) – Jaisalmer (2) – Khejarla (1) – JodhpurLuni (1) – RanakpurUdaipur (2) (Christmas Eve) Deogarh (1) – Pushkar (1) - Jaipur (2) - Agra (1) (New Year’s Eve) - Delhi

It should be an "on the go" trip. Not exactly what I want but ...

Flying around Christmas is never cheap. Thanks Eve for the Cathy Pacific’s Premium Economy seats costing only NZ$800 / US$ 550 extra & the same bulkhead window seats 30A both ways.

Two "day" flights going over & 2 "night" flights coming back.

Let's see how the extra leg and seat room etc works out.

First stop will be a 90 minute transit in Hong Kong.

Coming back have a 9 hour layover so it will be onto the Airport Express train back to Hong Kong Island as it's been some 10 years since my last visit.

Honestly, don't know why I'm going back to India and tick off "touristy" Rajasthan.

Been told that I will be taking many, many photos!!! Let’s see.

I couldn't find any small group tours during the narrow window of time that I had to travel this year so ended up with a private tour of "one". Own driver, local guides with a mixture of mainly 4 star & Heritage Hotels. Something quite different to my first India trip earlier this year with G Adventures. No overnight trains, tuk tuks, ferries or public buses and 3 star hotels.

Yes, I could have gone to much cheaper & closer places to New Zealand but would have had to organise everything. Long story why I didn't want the hassle to organise as I could have.

This is what Exotic Tours, a New Zealand agency said. They used Your Vacations in Delhi as their local provider.

"This trip takes you to see the royal heritage of Rajasthan, which has still been very keenly preserved by the erstwhile Rulers, who converted their private palaces, forts and castles into Hotels. This is royal Rajasthan at its best. From the timeless city of Delhi with its centuries old monuments and colonial touch of New Delhi, the castles & palaces of Mandawa, Gajner, Luni, Deogarh and Khejarla, admire the most photographed building in the world – words cannot describe the beauty of Taj Mahal, visit the colourful and royal cities of Jaipur and Jodhpur with their magnificent forts and Udaipur – undoubtedly the most romantic city in India. Excellent program, wonderful sights, world famous culinary delicacies and loads of opportunities for bargain hunters – get ready for a journey into a royal past."

Cathy Pacific had self-check in booths but I was told to see a service agent. Probably needed to see that I had an Indian Visa. All sorted and as a Premium Economy passenger was told to use the Business Class bag drop thus avoiding the long queue for the economy passengers bag drop.


Gosh, Auckland airport has changed completely in 12 months. Very efficient check in, immigration and security now.

At the gate, knowing what seat I had 30A at the front of the cabin and with just my camera bag, I waited till literally the last of the economy passengers had boarded when on scanning my boarding card it was rejected and was told to go over to the Business Class gate where to my utter surprise I was given a boarding card for 20G = Business Class!


This is not 30A with my window seat.




An hour after take-off, breakfast was served with the orange juice, seasonal fresh fruit and Bircher muesli …


Being a day time flight, it was non-stop movies to pass the time.

Started off with “Crazy Rich Asians”. A 2018 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Jon M. Chu, from a screenplay by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim, based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan. The film stars Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Nico Santos, Lisa Lu, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, and Michelle Yeoh. It follows a Chinese American professor who travels to meet her boyfriend's family and is surprised to discover they are among the richest in Singapore. Thanks Mr Wikipedia


Then “Searching”. A 2018 American thriller film directed by Aneesh Chaganty in his feature debut and written by Chaganty and Sev Ohanian. Set almost entirely on smartphones and computer screens, the film follows a father (John Cho) trying to find his missing 16-year-old daughter (Michelle La) with the help of a police detective (Debra Messing). It is the first mainstream Hollywood thriller headlined by an Asian-American actor. Thanks Mr Wikipedia


“Destination Wedding”. A 2018 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Victor Levin, and stars Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves as two strangers who turn out to be attending the same wedding in Paso Robles. Thanks Mr Wikipedia


“The Darkest Minds”. A 2018 American dystopian science fiction thriller film directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, and written by Chad Hodge, based on Alexandra Bracken's young adult novel of the same name. The film stars Amandla Stenberg, Harris Dickinson, Mandy Moore, and Gwendoline Christie, and follows a group of teenagers who are on the run from the government after mysteriously obtaining superpowers. Thanks Mr Wikipedia


What a difference with the meals and service - so different to previous cattle class offering.


Lunch was served 3 hours before touch down. Prawns with mango and papaya salsa, Mesclun with oven roasted Roma tomato, creamy balsamic dressing. Followed by Duck, red dates, kailan, carrot and steamed jasmine rice. Cheese and fruits – Creamy Blue, Puhoi Aged Cheddar, Kapiti Double Cream Brie and Seasonal fresh fruits. Finally finished off with Mango panna cotta, passion fruit, mandarin and mint.


As for the extra wriggle room … certainly can’t complain.

Posted by bruceontour 00:26 Archived in India

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