Friday or Saturday December 18th or 19th
Time and Date open for discussion
2 Flights, 10 time zones, add in another ½ time zone for good measure and we are in Chennai. The flights were first class, which one expects when one flies first class – food, comfort, attention from attendants, all make for a relatively painless 30 hour journey.
Drawing on previous experience with India and Indians, I warned Lori that things like baggage arrivals,customs clearance and the like tend to go off the rails more often than not and that she would just have to develop a tolerance and patience level to match mine. Furthermore, if bags and customs were to somehow and miraculously look after themselves, there is now way that the driver sent from the hotel would be there to pick us up from the airport at 12:30 in the morning.
Our 4 pieces of luggage were among the first 10 to be offloaded. This event took place roughly 7 minutes after we had landed, passed through the H1N1 checkpoint, had our visas processed and cleared customs. Putting our bags onto two free and readily accessible luggage carts, we succeeded in goiing from landing strip to outdoors in less than half an hour.
Apparently all of of Chennai had somebody coming in on this particular flight from Frankfurt since the full compliment of the 6.5 million people who are the city’s populace were waiting outside the terminal. The 4th person we saw was holding a sign saying ‘Welcome Burnetts Grand Residence Hotel’. Another 3 minutes and we were heading to the hotel and arrived ten minutes later. All told less than one hour. I have literally spent more time from touchdown to front door coming back from Toronto than it took to get into our beds at the hotel. Yet another reason to hate TO.
We settled in, got comfy, reflected on the unreal reality that we were suddenly immersed in and managed to fight our way into sleep despite having dozed for hours on the incoming flights, a rock hard pillow, a noisy (but at least we had one) air conditioner and a giddiness flecked with anticipation as to what was in store for us over the upcoming month. Good Karma at the outset.