I know I haven't posted in awhile but that's because I've been quite busy gearing up for my trip to India. Which happens to be where this post is being sent from though it was written earlier. As you might imagine finding a way to post whilst abroad can be a challenge. But anyway here we go with part 1. How I came to be in this facinating land.
I actually traveled through Singapore in order to get to New Delhi so thats where this picks up, in the Singpore airport to be exact. Waiting, and waiting, and then waiting a little more, for good ole reliable (cough cough) Air India to finally decide to take off. I actually traveled through Singapore in order to get to New Delhi so thats where this picks up, in the Singpore airport to be exact. Waiting, and waiting, and then waiting a little more, for good ole reliable (cough cough) Air India to finally decide to take off.
We were scheduled to depart Singapore at 4:25 pm which upon arrival at the airport I found out had been bumped to 7:25 pm. Ok...I now have 3 hours to kill in an airport, but fortunately I was not in just any old airport I was in the Singpore airport which is a tourist destination in its own right. So I took advantage of the free internet and foot massage as well as the complimentary meal ticket the airline gave out as a token of goodwill. I walked up to the restaurant to claim my free meal and was asked if I prefered #$%^$ or the *&&#@!...yeah that's about how much of it I understood. The guy took one look at my blank face and was like "is this your first time to India?" uh yeah and I got a ton to learn about this food unless I wanna eat nothing but chicken curry for a month.
The gentleman helped me to select the utthabam (hope I spelt that right) bread meal with a tomato sauce and a coconut based sauce to dip it in and some lentil soup, ok, not so bad, I'm feeling all Indian and I haven't even left Singapore yet.
Then on to gate C16 as it says right here on my boarding pass. But, after walking allll the way down the looong C corridor I arrive at an empty gate. Whoa cool, I'm the only one going to India today...wait a minute, there's a sign saying gate changed to D41. Huh!? Lets just say if C16 were good ole Richmond Virginia then they were asking me to walk to Richmond California, in like 10 minutes.
So I haul ass to the waiting area where they do the security screening and took my shaving gel?? Mind you it had made it through like 3 airports already but whatever. In the waiting room area at the gate is where things get fun and I learn a few cultural tidbits. First of all an Indians idea of personal space and my idea of it are quite different. They seem quite happy to bunch all up at the gate door, so much so that the lady at the gate was like "you know there's plenty of room over there, like where that white guy is sitting". They seemed to take a quick glance and decided, nope there was just too much space between them and the coveted gate.
The other thing that strikes me is how they all decided to completly disregard the stated directions. The lady comes on the loud speaker and clearly states that they will be boarding rows 18 through 32, in fact she says this a few times. So the entire waiting room jumps up and forms this massive chaotic line leaving yours truly as the only one still seated. Yippe! This must mean that I'm the only one in rows 1 through 18! Wow, I'm going to have SO much room, 18 rows all to myself, what luck. I hope all 250 of you aren't too crowded back there in those 14 little rows.
Now I must acknowlege here that it's becoming quite clear that I am the ONLY white dude...check that, I'm pretty sure I'm the only non-Indian on this flight and I am feelin my minority status big time.
Well somehow or other everyone manages to get on the plane but because I followed directions there's nowhere for me to stow my luggage so its between the legs for 5 and a half hours I guess. But as I'm walking to my seat in ROW 8 after everyone else in rows 1-32...grumble grumble... I notice a few things that cause some consternation on my part. Let's just say that well...any plane that still has a working ashtray has probably been around for awhile...hmm...didn't they ban smoking on airlines in the 70's?
Apparently you do not have to worry about being late for an Air India flight.Good news if you're the ONE late person, bad news if you're the ENTIRE REST OF THE PLANE. We were supposed to leave at 7:25pm right...we left at 8pm "because we're waiting for another passenger". Ai adai...it had better be Mahatma Ghandi himself to keep us waiting that long.
After reaching our cruising altitude I was treated to my first Bollywood movie.Which I have to say I was pretty impressed with, I can see why this stuff is becoming so popular the world over. It was a funny little flick about 4 mental patients called Krazzy 4. Granted it might not have been so politically correct in the West but we get uptight about that kind of thing too much anyways if you ask me. I dunno if you'd call it a comedy or a musical though cuz every now and then they'd suddenly burst into song and dance routines which were unexpected but quite catchy.
Eventually the steward came around asking if I'd like a drink, he suggested a whiskey...well shoot, if you're buyin I say, why not. So he asks "how many do you want, 3, 4?" and I'm thinking wow, this guy wants to get me drunk so I say "I think two should be sufficent". It wasn't until the end of the flight as I was slipping into a dehydrated coma that I realized why he asked how many I wanted...cuz that's the ONLY time you will see his ass, so you'd better get while the gettins good.
Finally our trusty old plane landed in New Delhi...at midnight (it was supposed to be there at 7pm). Ah well...little did I know that this was only going to be the beginning of the patience building exercise that is traveling in India. But stay tuned for more on that later...
Air India Quote of the Day:
"Would all passengers seated in rows 18 through 32 please board the plane at this time, that's rows 18 through 32! If you are not seated in rows 18 through 32 please remain seated and wait to board the aircraft until we call your row...Thank you for your cooperation."