I truly hoped to blog on that the rest of my trip in India was uneventful and that I made it home without incident. Sorry,… didn’t happen that way.
I spent my last day with friends who I do business with in the most beautiful part of Mumbai. The hospitality was like being a king for a day. The further south you go in the city, the nicer the city becomes. The southern most tip is a peninsula surrounded by water and the view is amazing. After lunch I did some shopping for gifts including a few hand-carved wooden figures that I will post soon. They are images of Hindu gods.
I had one last wonderful meal and I was off to the airport for my flight home.. My 2 hour terror ride through the busy streets where anarchy rules was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. I arrived with time to spare, and began my check in process. Next time you complain about the US system, remember that other places have real security.
From the time you get in line until you arrive at the gate is around one and a half to two hours. Without going into detail, lets just say that the number of check points, document checks, frisking stations, and more are extreme. It requires patience and a sense of humor to make it through.
Now all that said, we boarded an hour late and sat for 3 hours before they cancelled our flight due to an engine breakage. So off the plain at 2am immigration exit stamp canceled, and we got our bags back. Through massive confusion we were sent to hotels to sleep and we were told that we would have a bus back to the airport at 11:00am.
At 11:00am we had to return to go through all of the above customs and immigration exit procedures again and re-board… Of course, the plane wasn’t ready and without too many details it was wheels up at 5:00pm.
As I write this to post later I am at the 3 hour point in a 16+ hour flight knowing that when I land in the states I will again miss my connection and have to spend the night in a hotel in Newark.
Now, all the whining aside, the part that makes the whole mess a little easier to swallow….. When these things happen, you get to see humanity in action. There is always one jerk who has to scream and rant, but we won’t talk about this disgraceful jackass. He is not worth my time to write about. Instead, lets talk about the ad-hock community that forms in these situations. Before long, I had a whole group of new friends that were dealing with this situation as it happened.
Many of us business travelers are alone on the road and when these things happen, an interesting bond gets created. I met an engineer who designs special air compressors, a retired engineer who used to design planes, a food scientist who travels the world buying spices for his company, and many others. Sometimes I forget that the people that are around us all have their own stories to tell, and most are fascinating.
I learned a bit about Hinduism and discussed politics, education, and so much more. Even a crappy situation like this has a good side. Of course I would rather be home with my wife and kids, but at least I learned something new from so many new friends.
I finally made it home a full day late and after a second hotel stay that was paid for by our friends at the airline. I am so tired that I can’t really even see straight so I am off to bed. Home sweet home..
-- making sawdust....