Monday, July 16, 2012

The Unexpected

TODAY never brings the expected

Cassie and I made it to India!

My bags didn’t make it to India. After the trouble we had in Mumbai this evening losing my bags didn’t bother me. The only thing I’m really missing right now is all the food I packed. Yes I want to experience the culture of India and try everything, but airplane curry chicken has really put a damper on my excitement for the food here. Cassie is ordering Dominos pizza from the food court right now. You can hear her over the drone of people, “Do you speak English?” “OH I AM SO GLAD!” “I’ll have a Diet Coke” Yes we do stand out here. I’m eating my almonds and beef jerky. We didn’t have time in the Dallas or London to fill up our water bottles and now we are in India and I am dying!!! If you know me, you know I drink on average over a gallon of water each day. My ankles are swollen to the size of my neck!

Looking on the bright side, I got to see more of Mumbai than expected. You see, Cassie and I thought we were home free after having two eight-hour flights we had one last layover and this one was from 11pm-6am. Little did we know we would spend most of that time just trying to get to our gate.

We thought it was funny seeing people in long lines that we stood in for a moment then realized we didn’t need to wait and walked right past everyone. We were happy-go-lucky with our carry-ons while everyone else had their checked baggage they had to take through customs. The lady in Salt Lake City who checked our bags told us we didn’t need to get our bags until Chennai which we were so grateful for while walking past the lines. The airport is the most confusing airport I’d been in, it doesn’t help that I don’t understand Indian or whatever they speak!

After two long bus rides we finally arrived at the Jet Airways terminal. Every step we took in India was between asking people to tell us where to go. Boy, did that start a rat race. We went to the counter to find out which gate we were flying from and found out we were supposed to grab our luggage and check them through customs. What!?!?  We were told we didn’t need to get them until our final destination. How were we supposed to get back? We asked anyone and everyone who worked at the airport. Every person we talked to gave us complete different directions of what to do. No one understood us and we didn’t understand anyone.

We were told we had to take a taxi back to the International Airport to grab our luggage and check it through customs, then bring it back to the Jet Airways domestic airport on another taxi. They wanted us to take a taxi at 3am in the middle of a country we’ve never been to while we don’t speak the language as two young girls? I did not feel good about this. We had no other choice.

Our taxi driver kept making sketchy stops
and talking to groups of men with guns.

Have you ever seen the movie Taken? That’s all I could think about. I was apprehensive as we walked towards the taxi drivers who put us in a car and took off. He drove away from the airport, away from people into the dark of the Indian night. 

He turned of the main road down a dark street
luckily it was only to fill up with gasoline

We made it to the International Airport just fine, but our driver couldn't pull up to the arrival area because the police wouldn't let him in. We had to get out in the middle of the street and walk past groups and groups of people just hanging out in the streets. I could not believe how many people were out and about in the middle of the night. We walked directly to the guards at the door and asked them to direct us where to go. We had to walk back to the end of the street where we were and take a lift to the second level. We walked past so many people laying in the streets. The lift was sketchy and the only people correctly directing us where to go were the scary homeless people in the corners. 

I bet you can guess what happened when we got to the second level- we were told to go right back down to the first. Our frustration was unbearable. We got back on the lift and this time the doors opened up to a room of ruble and destruction and we heard a high pitch scream. We frantically pressed the lift button to get us out of there. 

On the first level we went back to the men we were talking to and told them we were told to wait here. Finally a friendly and helpful person arrived. A worker from Jet Airways came and let us know he has our bags but only one of us could go inside to get it. I had to leave Cassie outside with all our stuff by herself. 

This helpful guy led me to our bags- well Cassie's bags and I was able to get them through customs and back out to Cassie. We took a taxi back to the domestic airport and finally got to our gate

Looking back I'm really glad we had that adventure. We learned we can handle a lot more than we expected and the taxi rides took us through town. Like I said, there were so many people out on the streets. Lots were hanging out and others were sleeping on the sidewalks. There was trash everywhere and buildings were shacks. 

This is the beginning of a whole new experience different from anything I have ever experienced before. 

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