Yes, friends—we have arrived. Seem like it took a while? Well, it did. We departed NY at 9:30PM on August 30. It’s currently 11:01AM on September 1st in India. I’m 9.5 hours ahead of you, so it’s about 1:31AM on the East Coast, I believe. I’m too tired to attempt to figure out how much time that is in transit—let’s just say it’s way more than the original 18 hours that we anticipated.
What took so long, you ask?
The plane ride from NY to Mumbai was about 16 hours. 16 hours of crying babies.
We arrived to Mumbai at about 10:30PM on August 31. Within moments of stepping off the plane, we were faced with 2 signs indicating 2 different security lines. One for women, and one for men. (Side note: genders are often segregated in India. As far as I know, it’s in the interests of safety and respect for women). I was familiar with this practice, but didn’t expect to encounter it so immediately. That being said, Maggie and I joined the women’s line, and Jim went to the men’s. Interestingly, the men’s line had about half as many people, and yet twice as many security lanes as the women’s line. Apparently men have more important places to be, and faster ;)
After making it through security, we started to meander toward the gate for our flight to Cochin, which was supposed to board at 12AM. An airport employee along the way asked us if we needed assistance finding our gate. We told him our destination and time of departure; he cheerfully responded that our flight to Cochin, which was supposed to board in just a short 1.5 hrs, has been delayed to 6AM. “However, please enjoy a complementary snack at 2AM.”
It was shortly after he walked away that the hysterical laughter began. We had just flown 16 hours to be told that we had to wait 7 more, overnight, for the next one—BUT, we would get a free snack! We decided it would be good bonding time, and passed the hours playing cards, several rounds of “would you rather,” and doing who knows what. Good bonding time, it was.
Finally, we boarded our plane to Cochin. Having been fed several times on the flight from NY, and let’s not forget the 2AM snack!, we were amused to find out that breakfast was being served. Maggie politely told the flight attendant, a few times, that she didn’t want anything, to which the flight attendant very sweetly and assuredly replied, “put down your tray table, you need some food.” So of course that’s what Maggie did. I believe this marks the beginning of the large amount of food that we will attempt (probably with the same amount of success) to refuse in the upcoming year. Indians are known for their hospitality, and so far, this has proven true!
Not long after breakfast, I noticed that the carpet at my feet felt wet. Maggie, Jim, and I hypothesized as to why this might be, finally concluding that 1) our seats were in front of the bathroom, and 2) something in the bathroom was leaking. You guessed it—the carpet was saturated with what we can only assume was pee water. As well as the bottom of my purse. First words out of Jim’s mouth—‘India strikes again.’
Please know that I recount none of these events with any sort of annoyance—far from it, actually. We were happy to be traveling here, and happy to get here. I knew that this year would be an adventure, so it’s only fitting that the trip be an adventure, too. At the time all of the above events occurred, all we could do was laugh. We’re still laughing :)
Just in the distance from the Cochin airport to Thomas John’s house, I have already been struck by the beauty and diversity of India’s landscape and people. I have seen so many beautiful sarees, and encountered so many kind people. And it’s only day 1