Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Arriving in India

Aug 9, 2008 , Hyderabad Airport. Welcome to India! Our travel agent in the US messed up, and we didn’t catch the mistake – booking us on the computer to Hyderabad instead of Bangalore despite our printed confirmation to Bangalore -- until we got our printed boarding passes. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to change the flight, so here we are in Hyderabad.

This is one of the new international airports, and it certainly looks bigger, airier, and more modern on the surface, but like “modern” things in many parts of the world, when you scratch the surface the facilities are lacking. There are beautiful “Glorious India’ electronic billboards throughout the airport, but the contrast with inefficient India all around. We arrived around 11, and while I retrieved our mounds of suitcases, Sub used a variety of mobile phones (a prepaid Indian number with very little money left on it and a Dutch number) to try to clarify things abt our flight early in the morning. Luckily there was a place you could pay to make a call inside the customs clearance area. Now that we are outside customs, but still inside the airport, there is no place to make a phone call, get anything to eat or drink, let along someplace comfortable to sleep or a wireless network. Sub has talked to the security guards so that he can go to the outside area, which is open air, where there are tea stalls, phone booths, and the normal things one expects in an airport, but we have three luggage carts full of suitcases, and once we leave, we can’t get back in until 7 a.m. The pouring rain and the windblown trees outside, as well as the requisite masses of folks waiting for arrivals right outside the door signal to me that we should forget about going outside, especially as the women are wrapped in shawls, and the men have jackets. Instead of the wall of heat that hits you as depart the Chennai airport, or the steamy fog of Delhi, here it would be rain and wind, so I think we’re going to stay inside, protected from the elements and thongs of folks milling about outside. The presence of many military types with big guns creeps me out. Sub did brave the elements to add some money to his prepaid phone, only to find out that because we are Andra Pradesh instead of Karnataka, where the phone number is based, there is a 20% surcharge.

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gb said...
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