Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Friday, May 20, 2005

Around the world in 34 hours :-D

Lookie lookie at the right panel!! Yup I'm in Lexington, KY and will be here atleast for 6 months :) Wanted to write a Babye Bangalore blog before I left, but didn't have time at all what with all the packing to do, stuff to remember and all that ;-) Ok I'm just giving excuses :-p :) I came to Lexington on Friday the 13th May 2005, 10:00 PM PST. Friday the 13th sure turned out to be lucky for me :) Moreover as my mom pointed out the date was exactly 6 months from the day Sri and I met ;-) :)) Here's an account of my tedious and tiring journey whether you want it or not :-p


On the dark, not-so-cold night of 12th May 2005, I set off to accomplish the impossible task (:-D) of crossing 2 oceans ;-) The first phase of my long journey was to catch a Sahara airways flight from Bangalore to Bombay. As soon as we (me, my parents, in-laws, Darsh, Lekha and my chikappa's family) reached the airport and dumped my two each-weighing-31-Kg-suitcases into the check-in, we found that the common phenomenon of flight delay had occurred. Since I had a 4-hour wait in Bombay which I had resigned on spending alone, this looked like a blessing in disguise as I could wait the wait with my family + had gotten about an hour to spend with them :) After the very sad parting with my family (don't want to go into details of that one, as its still capable of making my eyes water), I was on my own...


At the mumbai airport, I stepped confidently towards the baggage claim. I knew what to do thanks to my hubby and our honeymoon trip to South Africa (henceforth referred to as HMT). Lifting my heavy baggages was not easy done as easy said :-p Somehow managed it and headed towards the door to catch an inter-terminal bus to the international airport :) Imagine my shock when I see almost 80 people waiting in a queue for the same!!! Since the buses were scheduled evey half an hour and could take only 35 people at one go, I had to wait about 1.5 hours for my turn!! By the time I reached the international airport, there was only 1.5 hours for my British Airways flight to leave. As the standard reporting time is about 3 hours before the flight, the airline officials made a fuss. I had to explain and sort things out. Later immigration and security check-in weren't a hassle at all (refer HMT :-D). Only after clearing security check-in, did I notice that there were no STD/ISD booths after that point! How sad can an airport get!! I had promised to call up my parents and I knew they'd be worried if they didn't get my call. Finally, managed to borrow a mobile from some lady and call up. Phew! Thanks lady, whoever you are :) I also had promised Sri that I'd call him up. But he'd told me that he wouldn't expect a call as anything might happen. Oof, glad he said that, otherwise I'd be feeling guilty as hell :)

I had always eyed Boeing 747. This British airways double-decker flight was the one I had wanted to fly in for a long time :) Though the first floor was only for the executive class, it didn't lessen my excitement. After settling comfortably in the window seat, with an Indian couple next to me, I trifled with the monitor in front of me and the channels on my armrest. Was excited but apprehensive at the same time. At the expected time, i.e 2:15 AM early 13th May morning IST, the plane rocketed into the skies tossing me into a new wave of sadness. As I watched the receding mumbai shore, the only thought in my head was "My land gone, dunno when I'll be back" :(


The flight to London was a 9-hour one. I slept for more than 6 hours which was good. British airways lived up to its name of being the best flight across the Atlantic, with good food and good service. The best part was that I was able to make out the snow covered alps from the plane :) Landing and formalities at London were no problem at all. The problem was the 5-hour wait to my connecting British Airways flight to Chicago.

London Heathrow airport is sooooooooooooo huggggggge man! I landed in Terminal 4 and since my connecting flight was also at the same terminal, I wasn't allowed to go anywhere else. Terminal 4 itself is sssssssso big! I first freshened up and then window shopped for about 2 hours. God!! So many shops! I had actually told mom that I'd try to call her up if possible. But the payphones there accepted only pounds :( I didn't want additional hassles of foreign exchange. There were a few coin foreign exchange machines, but all 3 of them didn't work!!! And this was London!!! Looks like London bridge is falling down :-p I gave up! Decided to call mom only after I reach Lexington :)

My flight was scheduled to leave from Gate 24. It was a 15 min walk from the main terminal to the gate!! You have horizonatal conveyor belts and beautiful photographs all along the passage way. I was like a kid with candy :-D And man!! The planes!!! There were about 15 Boeing 747s visible together from the lounges. Wow!! Flights taking off 1 min after another, flights arriving one min after another, God!! That was a sight to see :)) I just laid down my head on my vanity bag watching the take-offs and to my shock, fell fast asleep. I woke up with a start to realize that I had slept for 1 hour with my cabin luggage unattended in front of me!! Then splashed some cold water on my face and walked here and there just to avoid sleeping.

There were again no problems getting into my next flight. I was hoping my luggage had also had no problems ;-) I met a nice couple on this flight Sherry and David. They had just spent their 25th anniversary (realllllllllly uncommon in Americans ;-) ) in Paris and were returning home to New Mexico :) Spent a long time talking to Sherry :) Also watched 2 Robert De Niro movies - "Meet the Fockers" and "Hide and Seek" and enjoyed them both. Filled up the I-94 and Customs forms as directed by Sri (So sweet of him to download sample forms, fill them up, scan them and send them across to me :). He had also given me step-by-step instructions on what to do when, where to go, how etc. What more can I ask for in a hubby? :-D) and kept them ready for landing. Had a headache but couldn't sleep at all, except for an hour or so :(


My flight landed in Chicago on 13th May 2005 noon at about 3:30 PM PST. The weather was not so good, so we had a couple of turbulences before we reached there. It was as if somebody was shaking the plane like a milk shake :-D Man, that was fun (I said this to one of my friends, Chans, that's you and she said "Lady, your idea of fun is weird" :-D). Once landed, I said my goodbyes to Sherry and David and proceeded towards immigration. I was so excited as now I was only about 5 hours away from Sri :) There was a looooooong queue for immigration, but the I-94 stamping as such didn't take any time at all. Next was the baggage claim. Boy!! Was I glad to see my 31-kg-each suitcases intact ;-) After a struggle to download them (hehehe computer term) into the trolley, I was off towards customs. Didn't even have to go into the green channel. The lady there asked me what kind of food was I carrying (I had declared food in the customs form), I said "processed food, no meat" and she allowed me to pass. Then I had to check-in my luggage in the American Airways counter at the international terminal itself and there was another loooooooong queue there. After removing the locks on my luggages (its a rule here) I waited for my turn and got them checked by the officials there (they wipe a tissue and subject it to some check, guess for some microbes etc). I was glad again to notice none of the uppinakai (pickles) (that mom had packed despite loud protests from me) had leaked ;-) :) Ok luggage dumped. Now had to dump myself :-D

I had to take a transit system to the domestic airport from the international one in Chicago. Which was absolutely no problem :) I loved the monorail. It was way cool, though the trip was very short. After reaching my terminal, had to walk a bit to reach the gate my plane was stationed at. There were huge crowds flying to all sorts of places (probably as it was Friday). Security check-in took about an hour due to the queue :-p. Had about an hour to my Lexington flight. Sri had given me calling card details, so called him up from there :) Also, my flight had been delayed by 0.5 hours then, informed him of that ;-) Spent rest of the time window-shopping. Went to a food court to have coffee and was shocked at the prices (my friends tell me this is the initial dollar-to-rupee-conversion-syndrome :-p). I love Cafe Mocha and was shocked to know it costs almost Rs. 200, while even in the costly Coffee day shops of India its only Rs.60 :-p Had a Rs. 60 worth Espresso :) Will definitely take some time getting used to it :-p. My flight came in at about 7:00PM 13th May 2005 PST. I was supposed to land at Lexington at about 9:30 PM. But the bad weather was continuing and the plane was delayed by another half an hour :( This after I climbed the plane, so couldn't even inform Sri! The plane was a small plane and the seat next to me was empty. So could sleep for about half an hour :)


As the plane neared Lexington, I couldn't contain my excitement. I would be seeing Sri after 40 whole days :) Atleast he had gotten to see my latest photos :-p I had nothing but a voice on phone for more than a whole month :( There was a feeling of thrill, apprehensivenes and joy - all churning one-by-one inside me. I got down an escalator towards baggage claim and there he was, my dearest hubby, standing right where he had promised to be. As soon as I saw him, I knew.



Amit retorted...

Good description of journey to HOME!

Deeps retorted...