Thursday, April 3, 2014

I'm in India... Sort Of

Traveling, especially to other countries from whatever your home country is, has it's ups and downs. I'm going to focus on the downs for a minute, because at this instant, that's where my head is. So I booked a hotel just down the street from the New Delhi airport, but after at least three people directed me away from the exit and into the International Transfers area, it turns out, once in the International Transfers area, I can't get out. At least it would be rather difficult, and once again, I somewhat stand out. It's my own fault, I suppose I could have done better research, or I could have just walked out the exit when I had the chance and dealt with the consequences tomorrow morning.

In short, I'm now in the Eaton Smart airport hotel, which is nearly twice as expensive as the Radisson hotel I booked and have to pay for anyway because it is a late cancellation. I was, and really still am, super thrilled that I managed to get a $1300 round trip plane ticket from Chicago to Kathmandu, which is hundreds of dollars less expensive than the three other trips to the Eastern hemisphere I have had. Yet, now I'm paying for it in hotels…

Enough of the doom and gloom! I had a great flight! We pulled away from the gate 15 minutes before our departure time, and took off at 1:32 for a 1:30 PM scheduled departure. Then, we arrived here in India a full hour ahead of schedule! Not only was the flight efficient, it was daily empty. There were lots of extra seats, and no lines at the bathrooms. I only managed to sleep about three hours, on top of the only five hours I slept the night before (Tuesday night), so I'm exhausted now, but it's 4 PM and very sunny outside so I'm not ready to sleep yet. On the plane I was beside an Indian woman from Michigan and her nursing infant girl, which I was worried might mean screams for 15 hours, but the infant hardly uttered a sound, and spent more than one moment staring at me and even waving a few times. It was definitely a positive traveling baby experience. I would sleep now, but I have the adrenaline of being so close to my final destination, and being in Asia for the third time.

Air India Flight 126 (in the middle of the night last night)
It's always interesting being on foreign airlines flights, we flew north of Moscow, directly over Kabul and then south of Islamabad. I realize it's all at 35,000+ feet, it just always feels strange to be in the airspace of a country that isn't politically aligned with the US.

That's all for now. So far, security checkpoints have gone really well. I was patted down both in Chicago and again here in India. I have a huge bag full of electronics in my carry on, and if I were a security person, I'd want me to dump it out and take a look at it too. I can't get my GPS tracking working in the airport here, so you won't be able to see exactly where I am, but in about 18 hours I should be outside the airport in Nepal, then that's about all the travel I am responsible for arranging in the next two months. Tomorrow I get to meet everyone! I've been thinking, I will meet people tomorrow and the next day that I will likely stay in contact with for years, maybe even decades. Everything is so close!

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