Third Time’s a Charm
Hello from New Delhi! This is the first of two posts detailing my travels to India and my first day in New Delhi. If you are reading this it means I have landed in Delhi, was collected from the airport by my host Rotarian, and have found a moment to snag Wifi and publish this blog post before crashing for a good night’s sleep.
After the excitement of Thursday and Friday’s failed departure attempts, I had quite a boring time of it on Sunday. I was thinking I’d have to change my blog title as it was temporarily misleading. It was a pleasant departure though, as the delay allowed BOTH of my parents to bring me to the airport and wave to me all the way through security – a proper farewell.
My flight from Minneapolis to Newark was delayed by an hour as we waited for the inbound aircraft to land. I was not surprised and didn’t mind either as all it did was cut time off my six hour layover in Newark. My flight to Newark was an express shuttle and my fight mates included a Belgian basketball team, very tall guys for such a small plane. The Newark airport is large, I bused to my departure terminal, and checked out the cupcake shop and diner my brother and mom had mentioned from a visit out East earlier this year. Cotton candy cupcakes, they exist. Gosh, I will miss America. I also enjoyed watching part of the women’s soccer World Cup final match between USA and Japan (victory Japan). There is something very heartwarming and exciting about watching an important sporting event with strangers in an airport, the large crowd gathered outside a bar, eyes fixed on the flat screen TVs, the collective gasps, sighs, and cheers.
The process to board my last flight was the most dramatic I had ever witnessed. Apparently the cultural disregard for lines begins before one even reaches India. I exchanged an amused glance with a student from Calcutta and we struck up a conversation. She told me it’s not usually so chaotic. After the heated orchestration of document checks and boarding, we were on the plane and ready to go.
I am in seat 36E, right in the middle of the plane. My new best friend Marta is sitting to my right, she is a retiree and resident of Chihuahua, Mexico. No joke (cuz I know some of you are laughing right now). She and her husband are on holiday to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary. I discovered this after I figured out she only spoke Spanish while helping her select the language for her in flight movie. We both watched “Limitless” and stopped to chat every once and awhile. It was pretty cute.
We are four hours into the flight as I write this, which means ten more to go. My body clock tells me its 11:45pm (early!) and therefore 11:15am Delhi time. I can’t decide whether I should try to sleep, which is unlikely and would make falling asleep upon arrival more difficult, or pull an all nighter and arrive a bit delirious. I will keep you posted. Right now we’re somewhere over Greenland at 35,000 ft.
…Hello again. I’m still in the air, now over Mother Russia, between St. Petersburg and the Ural Mountains. We are scheduled to land in just under five hours. Since I last signed off I watched two episodes of What Not to Wear, took a stroll around the plane, and managed to catch some Zzzs. Nine hours of flight time and recycled air have the same effect on one’s eyes as I assume sandpaper would. My eyes are dry enough that I might as well not be wearing glasses, poor little things are having a hard time focusing. Note to self, pack artificial tears (are these the same as eyedrops?) for return flight. I am excited because according to the flight map we will soon be over Ufa, Russia and then Kazakhstan. Don’t we have a town in Minnesota called Ufa? We should, it seems appropriate. Outdoor air temp – 68 F, kinda like da Range on really cold days!
Enough for now, I’m going to stop writing before this gets much longer. Those of you who know me well know that I am quite prolific in the wee hours of the morning. Any movie suggestions?
We are landing within the hour. I was able to sleep a bit more and I watched “The Blindside”. Now that we’re almost landed 14 hours doesn’t feel so long. I feel very awake. Maybe I would rather stay on the plane than face interrogation by an Indian immigration official. Eeek.
Who am I kidding? I have arrived. Let’s do this!