Day 215: Living it up in Dehli Airport

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Flag of India  , NCT,
Thursday, February 20, 2014

The flight was quite good. we arrived in just before 9am and went through a few more security checks. women were required to go into a separate screening room where they were patted down out of the eyesight of men. good old India. I made my way to gate 18 where I was going to fly to Chennai from in 3 hours. When I arrived I realized that my fight had been delayed another 2 and a half hours and was now leaving at 2:30pm. Now I have 5 hours to kill.

So I wandered around the airport, had a look in some shops, had a drink, exchanged some money and then attempted to connect to the internet via my iPad, however it wouldn't work. I asked information about it and they said that there was a problem and suggested I try the lounge upstairs. I went up to the Air India lounge. They looked at my economy class boarding pass and told me that I was required to pay 500 rupees to enter for 2 hours. There I could find unlimited internet. He mentioned something about food too. Ah that sounds ok and I am pretty tired, I thought to myself, lets see.

So I paid the rupees, realized that by food he meant an unlimited selection from a buffet bar, unlimited drinks, comfy couches, fresh cool air, newspapers, internet and a shower. why did I not come here earlier? I went on the internet and calculated the cost in Australian dollars. It came to just under $9, or just under 6 euros. wooahhh this is a bargain!

I was surrounded by people in suits. I felt so underdressed, whilst still enjoying the luxury.

I used the internet to write to Paul and check the address of the hotel in Chennai. I wasn't overly hungry before I entered the lounge, but as I sat at the computers next to the buffet bar, the smell of all the delicious food wafted towards me. After half an hour I went and filled my plate from an almost vegetarian buffet. yumm! although it was soooooo spicy! I think my tastebuds have become overly sensitive from being in Europe. I don't eat too many spices these days. It certainly woke me up.

I then had a read of the paper, went back online to write this entry and then left a little past 1pm to catch my flight.

I understand why people use these lounges now.. if only I had brought a towel in my hand luggage.. a shower would be excellent right about now.

I am actually quite impressed with Dehli airport. I have never been here before, only heard some horror stories about it from a few years back. But I guess it has stepped up its game... the place is now super clean, has a great variety of shops, isn't too expensive, isn't too hot and stuffy and the best of all.. actually has not only rubbish bins, but recycling bins! hallelujah! I didn't see any of that action when I was in India last.

Now that I am here, I am a little excited to be seeing this crazy beautiful place again. I was a bit reluctant to come because of some of the bad exeriences I had last time, Paul going home and having no money etc, but now that I am here, I am coming around. its good to be here. Although I had some very challenging experiences last time, I also had some very beautiful experiences and lots of fun times, so I just need to remember that. Its all good ..

I left the lounge at 1:30pm and made my way to gate 18. I was then instructed to follow the woman from air India. Must be a gate change, I thought to myself. A group of us from the flight were directed towards gate 15. We went past gate 15 and turned right. There stood an enormous buffet bar full of food in a diner type cafe. We were all given a ticket and told to eat as much as we like as compensation for the delayed flight.

I had only eaten one hour earlier in the air India lounge, but seeings this was free, I piled my plate full of more delicious Indian food, naan bread and custard dessert and enjoyed my compensation. I was also given 3 bottles of water. The time was just before 2:30pm by this time and we were taken back to gate 22 to board our flight. By the time everyone boarded it was further delayed another 30 minutes.

My seat this time around wasn't as good. I was sitting in the isle seat with two people next to me. It wasn't bad, just not as good as my luxury seat in the last flight. Less than an hour into our flight we were served a late lunch/early dinner. I looked around at some of the other passengers who were sharing the same look as me. It said 'but we just ate!' I had a chuckle to myself as I took my third lunch for the day. I wasn't going to say no to another free lunch. I don't know when I will be able to have another meal!

It was a little struggle to eat it all however, and unfortunately I had to leave the bread roll. It was almost exactly the same meal I had on my last flight. 2 curries with rice, a cucumber salad and a milky dessert. It was still nice the second time around.

After this meal I could not keep my eyes open. I fell asleep until we landed in chennai at about 6:30pm Indian time. I went through customs, collected my backpack and went outside into the 29 degree heat to find myself a taxi. Hello India! I was bombarded my taxi drivers. I took one and we drove a little crazily into the city centre where our hotel was. It took an hour and a half to drive 18kms. By the time I reached the place, I was almost deaf from all the car horns. This place is crazy! So much smog and dirt everywhere too. I am sure to get TB.- hopefully not touch wood.

I was dropped off just down the road from my hotel. I began walking up the little alley way to the yellow building when I was almost knocked over by two guys on a motorbike. I jumped out of the way. The place was bustling. There were motorbikes, rickshaws, cows and people everywhere. And the alley was smaller than a one way street. Probably half the size!

I attempted to check in but the guys at reception couldn't find our details anywhere as dad had booked online. They were really dismissive too and didn't believe I had a booking. I was hoping it wasn't because of my gender, maybe they were just rude losers. Anyway I persisted. I looked up the booking, showed them and almost demanded a room. I only had one hour by this stage to get back to the airport to pick dad up. In hindsight I should have stayed there, but at the time, I thought I had more time. Hmmm I thought wrong. Eventually they caved and gave me the worst room in the entire place. I dumped my things, had a quick cold shower and made my way back to the airport to pick up my dadette.

I arrived just in time and waited in the waiting area which was outside of the airport. I stood alone, away from the crowds but with a good view of the passenger exit. Within 2 minutes I was surrounded by 6 guys. I tried to ignore them but I could feel the stares. Dad came out really quickly and we caught a taxi back to the guest house thing. It was about 11pm by the time we got there. We unloaded her things and then went for a bit of a wander, decided that it was a bit too dodgy to be out this late with no sense of where we were and instead went to bed.

Welcome to Chennai!
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