Now that we are safe and sound (not to mention snug) in San Francisco, the travel tale can be told.
It is all very well to say “the destination is not important, the journey is”. The fact is that the destination decides the journey and when the destaination is US of A, the journey necessarily becomes long and tiring. Long and tiring, no dobt,
but interesting no less…
We started for the airport well in time (no surprises, there) and were there at Mumbai International airport by 8.30 pm for our 1.00 a.m flight. As Daddy had requested wheel chair service, we recived express clearnce everywhere, cut through lines at all places and were ready to board by 10.00pm. (BTW, our flight was scheduled for 1.00a.m, if you recall).
It happens only in India
Though Daddy had requested wheel chair service, all of us (additional 5 people) were included in that!. Actually, the airport was very crowded. There were scores of people going everywhere.
Guess it is the holiday season and more and more Indians are travelling. There was a flight to Bangkok and Singapore just before us (typical holiday destinations). And because of the wheelchair, we could make it through immigration, security clearance etc very quickly.
Of course, as we are not travelling back with Daddy, it will be interesting to see how we stand in lines while coming back!
…..And We are Off
Finally, we stumbled into the plane and promptly went off to sleep. Of course difficult and uncomfortable to sleep sitting. But we managed it. Landed in Honkkong at about 9.00 am local time. Again, long live the wheelchair. From where we landed, we had to take the Metrotrain (!!) to the terminal from where we were to depart. The train was so fast. Wondering whether it is a cousin of the famed Japanese Bullet train. And also wondering if apna Mumbai Metro can be as fast!!
All that we saw of Hongkong was the airport and that was quite impressive. There were so many (7 I think) walkators thorughout the length of the area where we were. And it took roughly 20 minutes going from one end to the other.
We know it because we did it. We went to the Foodcourt. As in Mumbai, the MacDonalds outlet was very crowded.
But we avoided buying things there because “vegetarian Chinese food” is an oxymoron (does not exist).
And We are Off…..Again
And we got ready for flying again (12 hours, no less). I kept wondering how time would pass. But time has a way of passing whether you like it or not. And we finally we reached San Francisco. The in-flight food was OK.
Tip 1: Don’t expect too much in terms of service and taste and you won’t be disappointed.
Tip2: Don’t take too many activities (fun things) to do for kids on board. They get bored soon and get restless anyway. And the weight you would have lugged would be all or nothing.
Tip 3: Cathay Pacific———No comments (which should reveal all, if u know what i mean)
In future, it may be a good idea to carry foodstuff for plane journey as we would for a train journey.
On second thoughts
It is easy to criticize, but when you think of advacnces in techology that has made it possible to be in a place thousands of miles away in a matter of hours, it does seem unfair to nitpick. Life after all is a combination of these various experiences, some good, some not so good and some clearly bad and some essenially unforgeattable. While the Cathay Pacific experiecne may not be unforgettable, it definiely was not so bad…..Life goes on…as they say and so does the plane.
“A gaint metal box hurtling through the sky at a high speed” is how someone described a plane once. And as you sit in the box, you cannot even feel the speed!.
And when the kids slept, I watched TV for 3-4 hours straight. Something I have not done in a long long time.
One of the movie options for the in-flight entertainment program was ‘The Dirty Picture’ and every 2nd or 3rd Indian passenger was watching that. So when people say Vidhya Balan is high up in the air, they mean it quite literally.
Boys are ‘Pushy’
What is it about boys and trolleys? Abhinav is so keen on pushing trolleys. He (and Kaamya to a certain extent) were so ‘pushy’, both at Mumbai airport and at Hongkong. It is the same when we go to malls in Mumbai. We had a tough time keeping him from banging the trolley into others / hurting others. And the thing is he wants no help. He wants to push the trolley himself, which takes ages and he would most likley end up steering it in the wrong direction.
And Finally we are home
After what seemed like enternity, we finally touched down at San Francisco airport.
It happens only in India – Proof…
Once we landed in San Francisco, Daddy decided to opt out of wheelchair service. And we all stood in the queue. But we observed that only the ‘wheelchairers’ and maximum one accompanying person recieved the expres treatment. In any case, we would have had to come through the line. The line was OK, moved fast and soon we made it out. Oh yeah, we were finger printed and retina scanned to establish identity.
The Touching Meeting
And then we met Mala Athai. In a role reversal of sorts, we were the visitors and she was the host.
USA, we are ready to rock.