The first flight was uneventful and our layover in Newark was long enough that we were able to leave the airport and have dinner with my friend Jen, who just happens to be one of my favorite human beings on the planet. It was the first chance for her husband and Ritu to meet and they hit it off right away. Her kids and mine match up perfectly as well, so it was a good time, although too short of a visit.
Back at the Newark airport we started meeting up with our traveling companions: Ritu's parents, his sister, and a friend of hers from college. The flight was unbelievably long, but the kids did a terrific job. If Leapster wants a testimonial from me, I would happily oblige. We landed at the New Delhi airport at 9:50 PM It had been 24 hours since we left Portland.
The first thing you notice in New Delhi is the air. As soon as you get off the plane, you can smell an acrid smokiness. This intensifies as you get outside. The sky looks hazy and your throat starts to burn. You can feel the grittiness in your eyes and nose. Personally, I prefer my air untextured.
We got through immigration with no problems, got our luggage, and left the airport. We were expecting one or two people to meet us there, so imagine our surprise when we found that 8 relatives had made the trek to the airport. We were especially glad to see my mother in law's sister, whom they call Minnie Mossi. She glommed onto my kids first thing. I actually got a little teary-eyed seeing them connect with her. Of course, it could've just been the New Delhi air.
We made our way to the Marriott Welcomhotel. It was gorgeous, with a big marble lobby. By the time we got checked in and up to our rooms, it was 3 AM. We'd all slept some on the plane, but we were in that hazy, headachy place of travel. We managed to sleep from about 3 AM to 7 AM. We had a nice breakfast in the hotel restaurant, packed up our stuff, and headed for Agra.