Friday, January 04, 2008

postcard from j: flight to the finish

Jan 3, 2008, 10:20 PM (IST) - We're inside the Mumbai International Airport; actually, been here for a while now. Waiting for our call! Finished with the usual formalities: baggage check-in, got our boarding passes. We felt a little hungry all of a sudden, so we found this food counter and picked up a chapatti roll with chicken filling. Plus we had some wafers that Sneha's mum had brought for us.

Airport Watch
What is it that people enjoy the most? People-watching, obviously! At the airport, one encounters all kinds from the human species. Seen the usual firangs - some snoring away blissfully in their sleeping bags, some lugging their backpacks, and then some strolling around in their Oshos. And of course, we have our national treasures - the woman with the fake American accent returning to "New Yaaark", the dressed up Gujju ben dragging her annoyingly noisy trolley bag, the long-haired greying Ashok Amritraj-lookalike, a suspicious-looking Mallu, lots of kiddies in their prams and some throwing a fit while their parents queue up for baggage checks.#

Jan 3, 2008, 11:20 PM (IST) - We are supposed to be seated in the f****** aircraft at this very moment. But we are still waiting for an announcement. It's a bit confusing - my first trip. But hey, half the fun is in the process of getting there, and not just the destination.

Brian - the Amreeki bugger
Oh, before I start off on the plane ride and other assorted stories, I must tell you about Brian, this American backpacker-type, who was also waiting for the Thailand flight with an almost-Zen like calm but a sarcasm that shone through his being. No, his name's not Brian. In fact, I don't know what his name is. Just called him Brian because he looked like a 'Brian'.

Sneha and I were getting impatient waiting for an announcement, and this man breaks into conversation with us and another lady. First, it was about the status of the flight, and slowly it meandered into his travels; how Mumbai Airport is the worst he has seen for a major metro city. Then there was a story of how he took a train from Churchgate to Andheri and then walked to the airport because someone told him that its not very far. "I was told it's 2 kms away from the station, but it felt more like 5 kms." LOL!

Then it was about his connecting flight to Kuala Lumpur from Bangkok. But the best story was the one about him trying to find cheap accommodation in 'Bombay'. Apparently, he was told Kurla is a really cheap option - he ended up in a dormitory set-up which was so filthy that it probably was last cleaned when it was constructed. So he took a bus and headed to Santacruz and on the way, he got off at some "military base" and walked into a "village" with a lot of Catholic families (if you live where I do, you'll see why this is funny). He managed to find a hospitable home and spent the night on this family's floor. The next day being New Year's Day, his hosts took him around like a trophy and made him say that he knows them through another friend. Or he would be bombarded with too many questions. It seems, "Indians ask a lot of questions!" (Aren't we a cute and curious country?). Anyway, the host turned out to be someone called Trevor, and I can bet my money that he was from Big Village in Kalina (one of the old East Indian villages). Brian, of course, didn't know we were from Kalina.

He was shocked to learn that we had planned to go to Pattaya and asked us if we were prostitutes. What cheek! But then, he apologized for asking that. I guess Brian thinks that Pattaya only houses prostitutes. He gave us an all-knowing look and then mumbled about his travels. I asked him why was he travelling since October 2007. He replied that it was a combination of many things: pleasure, "see the world", "experience cultures", "meet people", "soul-searching". Just when I thought an interesting conversation was to unfold, we heard the call for our flight - finally!

So long, Brian! Good luck with your life, but don't call random women prostitutes, buddy!


Jan 4, 2008, 12-ish AM (IST) - After a terrible delay and Brian's gyan, we finally boarded from Gate 12 straight into the plane. Turned out to be a Thai Airways flight after all. The air-hostesses did the 'wai' (like a namaste) and ushered us in with "sawasdee khap" (hello in Thai, more like a standard greeting).

We settled down in our seats and I was sandwiched between Sneha and a suit-clad man. Nothing really exciting happened during the flight, except that I downed two vodkas with dinner. Kinda relaxed me a bit, considering I would have liked a more comfortable seat and I barely slept through the four hours.

1881 miles to go -- Thailand, here we come!

# No offence meant to any community!

2 Replies:

Darth Midnightmare said...

Aah! Thanks for that comment. One, for it showed that people do care about things like puppies and two, because it actually made me decide to write a new post!!!

As for the pups, 3 placed so far. Three still to go... Hoping...

And yeah, no posts from you for quite a while as well!

fortyfiveminutes said...

you've got to finish this! come on!

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