Friday, 30 October 2009
So, the adventure begins... but all is still well.
I had barely touched down on Indian soil and my adventure was already taking me for me for a ride. Yes, I was definitely back in India. I guess the adventure began really when I checked in to AirIndia. For five minutes the lady wrestled with her computer. Eventually she told me that all was done and that I would have to collect my bag in Delhi and recheck it in to continue my journey to Mumbai. Her supervisor quickly corrected her and said that I would not have to collect my bag but that I still needed to go back out to departures to collect my continuation ticket. This sounded a bit odd so I checked twice that I had heard correctly.
It was my plan to test the theory that one recovers from jetlag more quickly if one skips a couple of meals before having a meal at the correct time at the destination. So, having had only a very light breakfast it didn't take me long to drift in and out of sleep on the plane - about six hours earlier than I normally go to sleep. That was after I had played with my GPS dongle for a bit. :) I was very pleased with my seat I chose next to an emergency exit as it enabled me to both be next to the window and get up to go to the toilet regularly without disturbing my neighbour - because without food I had to drink much more water. Being next to the window enabled me to wave my dongle at some satelites and I managed to pick up a weak signal. That is, until I approached Afghanistan and I could no longer get a lock on - I don't know why. Pity, as I was mainly interested in knowing how our flight navigated past those countries there.
[1100 - Mumbai]
So, arriving in Delhi I was a little disorientated from previously dozing and I didn't stop to wonder why as we walked out to customs that other passengers were crossing our path to catch another flight. Well I was soon to find out that w itas my flight, and by the time I was asking whre to go they told me it was my fault for not hearing an announcement. Now why couldn't the staff on my previous flight have warned me when they kindly gave me a water bottle and I told them that I wasn't sure I would be able to take it through security as I catching the Mumbai flight?...
After fallowing them around the airport and being told to wait here and there I was relieved that they managed to retrieve my bag. I also heard a last boarding announcement for a Mumbai flight - I wonder if that was mine that had not left yet because they had to remove my bag for security reasons... Well I was in their hands now, and after a bit more following someone about I was told there was not another flight to Mumbai from that airport till 9pm. I suggested that maybe I could come back another day and make a trip to Delhi. That suggestion fell on deaf ears and I waited a bit it and was told that I was booked on a domestic flight from another airport and that a favour had been done that I shouldn't talk about it [whoops] and that a tip of $20 would be nice for good will. I wasn't at all sure about that: paying another $20 for where I was already supposed to be shepherded to and getting into a pushy taxi driver's car with a bit of simple paper with a flight number printed on it... I dragged my feet, asking more questions such as what time was it and what time was my flight and maybe it was best I just called it a day and caught a train some other time. I didn't want to lose sight of my bag again. After walking away to think I was called over again and told that the flight was already arranged and did I want it or not and that I could hop on a bus for a free ride to the other airport. I thought I had nothing to lose with that and got on the bus. I sat and waited. Then a couple of security guards boarded the bus and took away my bit of paper and I sat and waited. Then after what seemed an age they returned with my bit of paper and the bus drove off - funny ways through the airport grounds past various airline hangers. I arrived at the front of the airport at 0535 and my flight left at 0600. Every queue again seemed to take to long time and because everyone else seemed to be as frantic as me I didn't feel I could do too much queue jumping - though I tried. I was running back and forth to security scan and label my bag, to check it in and pick up my ticket, to go though security and then run back to security when I was told I was missing a security tag for my cabin bag and finally I made it on the shuttle and the doors closed behind me.
I arrived this morning in Mumbai just after 8am only two hours later than expected and again to my relief my bag made my flight.
So, I am definitely back in India. Everything is just that little bit more crazy, yet somehow things work and actually I love it - it feels like home. I feel a bit sorry now not to have tipped the AirIndia guy as maybe he won't be as willing to help the next tourist. But if I had tipped him and missed my flight but manged to send my bag to Mumbai, I would have definitely been swearing. Did I fall into a scam?
Sorry, this blog post has been a bit long and not well edited. I am wide awake yet dazed at the same time and am taking it easy at the Salvation Army Red Shield Hostel before heading out in search of grub and an internet cafe. I'll let you know after tomorrow if the fasting thing really worked.
[1444 - found an internet cafe]
P.s. I walked passed the recommended tourist place to eat and had a very good meal for a fifth of the price at a workman's cafe.. Now full of yummy green looking curry, rice and ge patty (spl?) and chai.