Our travel was fairly long and convoluted but everything worked well and we arrived in Bangalore with no problems.
We had a slow start to the trip as our flight out of Atlanta was delayed by about two hours but since we had a 6 hour layover in Amsterdam, we were not too worried by it.
We made friends with the flight attendants and were treated wonderfully during the flight.
In Amsterdam, we found a place to have breakfast and feasted on ham and cheese omelets, bread and hash browns.
Since I am always in “noticing” mode, I had to laugh when we passed a smoking booth that was a glass box about 6 feet square that had FOURTEEN people in it, including one man smoking a cigar. I certainly hope that the ventilation was good in there!!!
We boarded our flight for Delhi at 1: 00pm and managed to sleep for several hours during the 8 hour journey, arriving in Delhi at 1:00am. We cleared customs and then started looking for the domestic transfer area so that we could give them back our bags and get our boarding passes.
People kept telling us to go to the right but we couldn’t ever see exactly where we were supposed to go. One man told us to take the elevator to the 2nd floor and we finally realized that the LONG line we were seeing were people waiting to get onto the elevator. We joined the queue to get our documents checked and then another line to actually get onto the elevator.
When we arrived on the 2nd floor, we walked into a large room that was crowded with people waiting to check in for their flights. There were people everywhere….sitting on the floor, lying on luggage and basically filling every possible area.
We picked our way thru the room and asked the guard what we were supposed to do. He looked at our tickets and said that since we didn’t have our boarding passes that we should go out of the room and into the airport lobby. We were SO glad to be able to bypass the crowded room!!!
We realized that we were going to have to go thru security again and that we had our full water bottles with us so we discretely poured the contents into a potted palm tree!!
Going thru security was an interesting experience. Women have a separate line from the men because they are only serviced by women TSA agents. AND, they have a curtained booth that is used to “wand” everyone who goes thru.
Also, I caused all sorts of problems because I hadn’t pulled all of my computer cords out of my bag!!
Finally, each of our carry-on bags had to have a tag on it and the tag was stamped as it went thru the security process. Before we could board the plane, we had to show them our stamped tags.
I said earlier that I was impressed with the “sleeping” seats in Amsterdam, but Delhi has them beaten!! At every gate, there were 8 or 10 lounge chairs and many were inhabited by snoring passengers…..
There were several that were open, but we were afraid that if we laid down and got comfortable that we would sleep thru our flight departure!!!
I have to be honest here and say that we had hit a wall emotionally. I told Michael that I think the allure of travel had worn off completely!!!! But once we had found some coffee, tea and pastry, we felt a lot better.
One other interesting thing is that the airport is considered to be a “quiet airport” meaning that there are virtually no boarding announcements. Most information is relayed via large screens in the lounge area.
The funniest thing that happened was that we were sitting by a young man who was a Sikh, complete with turban and beard. He looked very austere and serious, however when we started heading down the gang plank he was right in front of us. The walkway wasn’t well marked and we weren’t sure exactly where to go so we were just following him. Finally, he turned around, laughed and said “Dont be mad at me if I am taking us to the wrong plane”!
As we were boarding the flight, we were treated to a beautiful Indian sunrise…. The flight to Bangalore was only 3 hours and I think that Michael and I both slept for most of it. I kept snapping my head back as I was sleeping and had the thought that I was giving myself whiplash!!!
We quickly found our bags and walked out to be met by a driver from NCBS (National Center for Biological Sciences). He helped us get everything to his car and then he drove us to our apartment….well almost. It ended up that we had been moved to a different complex so we piled back into the car and drove to the appropriate one.
The apartment is wonderful with two bedrooms and bathrooms and a comfortable sitting area. There is satellite TV and, most importantly, excellent WIFI. We had several bottles of water, two packages of cookies and a plate of fruit waiting for us when we arrived!!!
We unpacked all of our cases and were picked up by Krushnamegh at about 1:00. He showed us around our complex and helped us to find the Dining Hall where we enjoyed a simple meal of rice and curry sauces….
Next, we drove to the NCBS campus and explored the area where Michael will be headquartered for the next 3 weeks, ending the time sitting out in a beautiful covered courtyard…..
….. and then were given a car service to return us to our apartment.
Once there it was shower, snack and BED!!!!!