Airport hell, and back to Goa.

Trip Start Jan 14, 2009
Trip End Mar 25, 2009

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Flag of India  , Tamil Nadu,
Saturday, February 28, 2009

It would seem, from looking at a map of India, that there would be numerous ways to make the relatively short journey crosswise from the large city on the east coast, Chennai, to the popular tourist destination of Goa, but there are no direct trains, buses, and certainly no direct flights. The same fuel- and time-wastin madness that possessed airlines in other parts of the world to use a "hub system" is evident here as well. All flights are routed through Bangalore. Of course the ticket agent could not route me through on a flight that lands in the "hub" anytime within 6 or 7 hours of the one daily Bangalore-Goa flight, so I had to sit around in a no-smoking-not-even-outside-even-if-you-go-outside-you-have-to-repay-"airport tax"-airport for 6 hours, falling asleep in the uncomfortable unpadded waiting chairs in unnatural positions, and while awake biting my nails from nicotine withdrawal.
Thank god for "Coffee Day," a newer Indian consumer invention. While still not really quite understanding coffee at all, they manage to make a near approximation of a decent cuppa joe, and also some frothy, ice-creamy type things. I opted for the latter, as the time spent trying to eat/drink the damn thing and get the stains from the messy drink out of my pant leg would give me something to do during the interminable all-day wait for my plane.
Finally the puddle jumper arrived, and boarding I noticed my seat was directly in line with the left side turboprop engine. Please no mechanical problems, as if the prop would shatter on any side, they might find half of me. Also sitting there is about the loudest place on the plane, maybe not so bad when one reaches cruising altitude, but the takeoff and landing are deafening.
Now, I'm not holding this against Kingfisher Airlines, because if I had to give them a rating in helpfulness, courtesy, and all the BS one expects from their "flight experience," I would have to really give them an "A" or perhaps an "A-" for their service. They offer earbuds, face-freshening packaged towelettes, and even semi-decent food, even on short domestic flights. The planes are clean and smooth for the most part, and usually on time as well. The only reason I would give them a "minus" is that their scheduling, at least in my case left something to be desired, but that's just my personal.

Arriving at the Goa airport, I already knew what I could get for a price on a private car to Arambol, should be no less than 800 rupees. The "prepaid" taxi hawkers tout 975 as their price, but if one just walks out the gate, there will be any number of taxi drivers waiting for a fare. Immediately they approached with offers of 900, 850, and started going down as I looked around for my previous driver, who might just possibly be there. This time I did not have to even haggle, I looked at one man, and asked for 800, and he immediately said he could do that, while another ran up with 750 as his offer. Ahh, a bidding war! when my first driver offered 700, I thought that was quite fair, and ignoring the lower prices that were shouted as we walked to his Maruti van, I went with him.
Of course, being out of nicotine and irritable from a long layover, I was happy for the fight over my business. Sometimes "haggling by proxy" is nice, but it is not a common occurrence at all.
Raji, my driver turned out to be quite a nice man, and we shared cigarettes (after a stop at the NEAREST shop. . ), and talked world politics and family the whole way. His wife and family live about halfway from the airport and the north, so I being the last fare of his day, he could go home. I made sure to throw an extra hundred his way anyway. Sometimes you drive a bargain, and someone else beats the price, but you just know who to go with sometimes. Best of luck to you and your family, Raji.
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starlagurl on

Nicotine withdrawal!
Oh my goodness, I hope you aren't one of those people who gets soooooooo crabby. Glad you got your cheap ride so easily.


carrieandbob on

Yo bro
Hey Josh! I love keeping up with your travels, but sure do miss you at home! Just wanted to say hi and let you know we are thinking of you. Also, you have a new niece and nephew--of the feline variety. I tried your juno account, but the pix got bounced back.
Love ya!

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