Day 14 Feb 27 Tokyo to India
Air India 0307 was our flight today at 11:30. We had to be checked out of our room by 6:30, have breakfast and be ready to go board our airport shuttle by 6:50. Nancy had told me several times, written in our journal and emailed us that if we missed this bus, we missed our flight. No one took any chances and we were all on time. An hour and a half later we found air India and checked in, dropped our bags and proceeded through the long long corridors to find Gate 82. We had lots of time so I went back to look at a restaurant that had noodle bowls. I’ve never had a noodle bowl so thought what the heck I need to use my Japanese Yen. The Ramen was tasty but the soup was salty and didn’t finish it. Another experience completed.
I still had some yen left and one of our ladies split on a box of chocolate cookies.
The airplane was a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. I had read up on it and it sounded amazing! A configuration of 3-3-3 it promised comfort with an extra large tv screen and windows that could be dimmed. The flight wasn’t even half full! I took my window seat and a gentleman named Shigeki sat on the aisle. He was friendly and talkative right from the start. Living in Tokyo he was a high school math teacher who has visited 40 countries and had visited Canada one time. He said how expensive it was! They had visited Vancouver and went to Banff. I explained that rest of the country doesn’t charge that kind of money for everyday food and items. Banff caters to tourists and charge what they want. It’s just sad that it gives that impression that everywhere in Canada is that pricey but I guess we do have to pay more for several things even compared to the USA.
The larger sized personal media screen didn’t work. The flight attendant told us to move to a different seat. We were already settled in. So, we talked. We spent the next few hours discussing all subjects from his country, my country and strange subjects such as UFOs, the city divers found years ago that suggests an ancient civilization covered by rising sea levels and psychic phenomenon. He gave me the names of the best islands to visit that offer great scuba diving. Maybe Steve and I could visit them someday, never know.
The complimentary wine he had and gin and tonic that I had really made us sleepy, as well as the fact that this Dreamliner window dimming could not be controlled, they were blacked out.
Thanks to conversation and napping we were soon landing. I was so tired and had no clue what time or day it was! Just before landing the crew undimmed the windows and it was dusk. I could see the buildings of New Delhi going on and on. This big bird landed gently and we were in country number 3 of our 5 country tour. Shigeki was enroute to Kathmandu to visit a friend and he explained that since he is not staying in Delhi but transiting, there was a transit hotel attached to the airport where you could rent a bed for a small price during a layover. I couldn’t quite understand how it works but maybe someday will research it, just for the heck of it.
Several of us had to go to the E -Tourist Visa area, the others could continue as they had their visa already stamped while in Canada. The Officer whose line I stood in was slow and seemed to be preoccupied with something, then I smelled something rotten. A thin man in a turban holding a child in his arms stood in my personal space. He began to speak loudly at the two officers in front of me and I motioned him to move, while gripping my bag tighter, it hurt my ears!
Anyhow my turn came and the biometrics machine was not co-operating. I had to repeat the fingerprinting portion several times, meanwhile the rest of the group had left, I didn’t see any one in uniform to my left. Asking several people to make sure I was heading the right direction, I arrived at the luggage carousel where everyone was. Two of the women had another woman’s suitcase and she was no where to be seen! They offered to go look for her, maybe she needed the bathroom. The rest of us continued through security and they waved us through carrying our luggage with the “transfer” sticker on it. Just before we were heading through to deposit our suitcases at Air India Domestic ,the two women who went looking for the missing lady walked quickly towards me saying they couldn’t find her. OMG my heart almost jumped out of my mouth! I asked someone to watch my suitcases as I ran back. The security guard wouldn’t let me pass and I was loudly saying that we are missing a woman from our group! By this time I was shaking and the guy was saying “no problem, no problem”. I said “this IS a problem” and I quickly thought to myself “Helen be careful you don’t want to end up in jail in India!”
A young man pushing an empty wheelchair was ushered by the guard and he asked me her name. I told him and the young man took off. I saw her wandering on the other side of the barrier looking here and there and I was waving my arms. She didn’t look my way. The young man headed towards her as they walked out of my view. I said again let me go get her! By this time one of our group came back to where I was and she said she would hold my purse. The guard wanted my passport so I gave it to him and ran over and through and under the queue belt and caught up with her. Relief! My heart was racing and I was shaking asI tried to get control. I’m not good at handling stress the older I get and the longer I do energy work. I feel emotions deeper than most people.
We headed off and later she explained how she was shuffled a couple of times by security people and was separated from everyone. The place is safe, but man that was scary! We all thought she was with the group who already had the Visas in their passports.
We found our domestic gate and before long we boarded the plane heading to Mumbai. I was asleep before we were in the air.
I was nudged awake by the lady sitting next to me and I smelled food. After a tasty but too spicy for me vegetarian meal and a much needed snooze afterwards, we landed.
Mumbai airport is huge!!! Due to population growth along with the movie industry it has expanded immensely. After seeing everyone had gotten their luggage from the carrousel I was on a mission to get out and get on the bus to take us to our hotel in Mumbai, The Sun and Sand, Juhu Beach area. I walked quickly at the front of the group, looking back a couple of times making sure I could see blue uniforms and I did. Finding my way out, our contact from the tour company in India who was standing behind the metal barrier, immediately recognized our uniform and waved us over. I made another mistake. I didn’t slow down during the quick exit to hear people yelling they needed the bathroom before the journey out. I had seen a couple bathrooms from the disembarking area to this point and I did stop and wait at the first one we came to. I just can’t seem to please. Steve keeps telling me that we are all different and don’t think the same way. Thank God I can talk to him. I am not perfect and at the beginning of this trip I came here exhausted and grieving with the death of a friend and overworked getting the business sorted out. The feelings are compounding and building. I have to keep control. This trip is hard. I have to remember everyone is feeling the stress of travel and time changes. We are all out of our comfort zones.
Francis led us through the huge terminal exit area, taking us to a washroom. Then we headed into an elevator to P4 where the bus waited for us.
It seemed like we just ramped down out of the airport and entered the city. Just like that. We were assaulted by horns honking, motorized rickshaws, trucks, motorcycles all seeming to vie for position when a light turned red. It was crazy! Reaching our hotel about 20 minutes later,we entered a bit of peace. Rooms assigned, I had a private room. Thank you Nancy. I slept well and appreciated the soft mattress and pillow.