One of the few things I wanted to do in Bangalore, when I wanted to come to this city (and when I finally came down) was going to Nandi Hills. I finally made that trip, around 4 months after I arrived in this city as a resident and not a traveler. Thanks to Nitin and Charu for taking me along.
That trip was great in itself. Even though, we were not able to see the sunrise, which was the main attraction (and our actual intent), due to the dense fog at the peak that day, we had a lot of fun traveling there, and then being there. We became a group of 10 people, thanks to friends of Charu and Nitin. I remember that it was damn windy at the top, and due to the mist in the air, it felt like it was drizzling. We kept getting slightly wet, every 10-15 minutes.
It was the first big outing for my camera, with promising opportunities for a lot of shots. Nonetheless, the fog screwed it up for me and my camera in a big way. Still, I managed to take few good shots of the vegetation – as in trees and sometimes people too 🙂
I would have loved to go back there, but it never happened. Anyways, there’s always a next time!
I was flying back from States on Saturday (7/2) and was booked on Air France flight from Newark airport. The flight from Newark to Paris, was for reason cancelled and I was re-booked on Delta, which is code-share partner of Air France.
I was travelling with a check in bag, a carry-on bag and a laptop backpack. I had the same stuff on my inbound trip.
When I reached the check-in counter, the lady at the counter told me that my carry on bag would not be allowed on board, and needs to be checked in, to which I was really surprised. I told her that, I was carrying the same carry-on on my inbound flight and it was allowed. The lady at the check-in counter very rudely told me “Yes, maybe, but this is America”. To this, I almost lost my cool and wanted to tell her that I very well know that this is America, and I have been multiple times here before. Nonetheless, I did not do any such thing and kept my cool. I told her that I have been using the same carry on bag on my earlier travels, and I was never told that the bag does not meet the guidelines.
She: Also, you’re carrying two carry-on items (indicating my laptop backpack)
I: But, I guess we’re allowed a carry-on item and a personal item, which clearly includes laptop bag
She: Yes, laptop bag is allowed, but yours is a backpack!
I: What? This is a laptop backpack and not a backpack! If you wish to check the bag, please do so
She: I do not want to see what’s in the bag, but I would not consider this as a laptop bag
I was really getting frustrated by this time with the continued rude behavior of this lady. I wanted to tell her that laptop bag does not only mean messenger bags. Laptop backpacks also exists in this world! Nevertheless, I knew that anything I tell her is going to be in vain, and I would be getting nothing, but will loose my cool. I also knew that, eventually I have to board this flight to get home, and it would not matter if I call the shift manager, as I don’t trust how much he/she would help me after going against one of their own employees, even thought the employee was being rude.
I: This is the first time, someone is telling me that this is not a laptop bag.
She: (has a smirk on face)
I: Ok, let me check in my carry on bag then.
She: There you go.
I check in my carry on bag and then take out my camera bag out of the carry on to carry as personal item.
She: Here is your passport, boarding pass (hands over to me). You’re all set.
I noticed that she did not take the I-94, which is supposed to be taken at the check-in counters.
I: You forgot to take this, which is supposed to be taken by check-in counter staff!
I was very surprised and somewhat taken back, that this lady did not even say “Thanks” as a gesture. She is not being attentive on her duty and she is still being rude.
But, in situations like this, there’s very little you can do or control. You have to obey the rules, does not matter, how weird they can be, how illogical they can be, how irritating they can be.
After checking in, and getting past the security gates, I went to the gate where from I was supposed to board the flight. After some time, I noticed that there are some fellow passengers, who are carrying carry-on bags almost of the same size, I had!
Well, nothing could be done now. While I was not allowed to carry my bag, there are passengers who are carrying bags which have similar dimensions (difference of an inch can be there, which is not visible to the naked eye in a casual look).
When the boarding started, I encountered the same lady at the scan point for boarding pass. This time, I handed over my boarding pass to her, she quickly scanned it and handed it back to me. I moved on, and she called from behind. Apparently, she did not scanned it properly.
She: Sir, I need to scan it again.
I: What happened?
She: Seems that you’re having a lot of problems today (says with a smile)
I: I have a bad day but It’s not me. It’s Delta which is having problems and harassing me.
She: No, don’t say it’s bad day
I: Yeah, coz first you forget to take my I-94 then you do not scan it properly and still I have a bad day. I am not gonna fly Delta again, that’s for sure
And I move on disgruntled, irritated and somewhat harassed.
Also, their flight sucked.
Imagine a trans-Atlantic flight, not having TV screens on every seat! What the hell was that? This was another first for me!
After this experience, I know that I am never gonna fly on Delta again. If this is an example of their ground staff, who are rude, who make mistakes and even then think that the customer is having a bad day, and if they don’t have a TV screen on every seat for an 8 hour flight then I would prefer to choose a different airline.
It was Friday, 1:30 PM. I was devouring Sub of the day in the office cafeteria (which was Chicken Tikka Sub) at lunch with friends, when I got the call about my visa status.
2 hours later, the manager who had called, came to my cubicle and told me that I need to travel on Saturday for a short business trip to attend to some meetings at client location. This IS my shortest notice travel plan so far.
The next day was almost a nightmare for me in terms of work which needed to be done. I kept running here and there the entire day till 07:00 PM, when I actually started packing. It was at 8:31, that I finally relaxed after loading my luggage in the cab! Phew!
I was travelling on Air France this time, with a hop at Charles De Gaulle, Paris. Checking in at T3, IGI was easy and so was passing the immigration and security. As you all know, the new terminal is really great and of global standards. I noticed that there’s no longer free wi-fi at the airport. The service provider has changed from Airtel to Aircel and only 30 minutes demo is free. That was sufficient for me to tweet, psot FB updates, check Gmail and official mails. The rate for hourly surfing was just INR 60 per hour, which is not really costly.
Nevertheless, there had to be a let down and thanks to the food court near B gates, I found my let down. There were around 8 vendors, and even though they were having a range of offerings, from which you could have chose from, almost all of them were serving just one or two items out of the big lists. Every vendor was supposedly selling 500 ml and 1 l bottle of water, but none of them had the 1 l bottle! Anyways that’s that.
Air France flights are good when it comes to comfortable seating and leg space – things which matter on long haul flights. The food was let down though. Nonetheless, the leg space made for it (at least for me).
Best part of the flight was supposed to be the time spent at transit airport in Paris – Charles De Gaulle airport. It looked to me that the entire area of the airport is quite huge, as I noticed it took us considerable time from landing to reaching the skybridge dock. CDG airport from the inside is quite awesome starting from the interiors to the shops to even the carpets! I could not take any picture but will definitely take some on my way back home. The stores lined up all around the terminals are the best upscale brands, which you so much want to shop in – Ralph Lauren, Yves Saint Laurent, Coco, and a lot more similar companies. The perfume shops, seemed to to be selling the best brands only!
On reaching JFK, it was like coming to second home! Yeah, it feels like that at times. What made the tiring journey worthwhile was an opportunity to drive 🙂
I am tired but don’t want to sleep and screw my body block. Trying to keep awake by watching tv and wishing that the clock shows me 10 PM ASAP, so that I can hit the bed.
That’s all from my end guys. Keep tuned and maybe I’ll try to give a daily update of the stuff here.