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Images from the collection in the National Museum.

Unfortunately, for us Bangkok was mainly a stopover. Everyone says you have to get out into the countryside to see the real Thailand. But we had to move on.

Christmas Eve was spent in a long, agonizing overnight flight to Delhi. Thai Air gives excellent service, but they will insist on waking you up to have a cup of tea or a hot towel just when sleep is what you most desperately need. At the New Delhi airport there was a very long wait for our luggage (introducing us to the pace of Indian life) and a long bus ride through the darkened city to the Imperial Hotel: nice, but a bit run-down. Paula and I requested a single bed and got upgraded to a quite nice room. The food was fair, the service obsequious but slow, and prices very reasonable. There were few visitors in the hotel because the recent (and ongoing!) riots over the destruction of the mosque at Ayodhya had frightened most of them away.

Our travel just happened to be booked between those riots and the bombs and second wave of riots in Bombay that took place shortly after we returned. The result was that there were few other foreign tourists, and we were sometimes upgraded to better accomodations that were lying vacant.

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