Thursday, November 24, 2011

Flying is not walking

My dad came up with this profound statement. He was not a big traveler at the best of times. But flying was his least favourite means of travel. I thought of him during the flights we just experienced. I can imagine he would have had a few other choice words to add to this if he had been alive to experience it, or even hear my story.

The truth of the matter is, I am completely over it all but I thought you would all get a kick out of it.

Leaving Israel is a piece of cake. Security is at such a high level that the worst you can expect is to be asked some ridiculous questions. And of course we were. The lovely young lady that questioned us, was intrigued at our Hebrew and when we said we had lived in Israel, she didn't seem to believe we could have learned such perfect Hebrew ONLY in Israel. Had we not known Hebrew before arriving? I mentioned that we had both gone to Hebrew School, which led to a long stream of questions about where exactly we had gone to Hebrew school and the names of all of our relatives in Israel.

And then of course she noticed that my last name was spelled differently in my Israeli passport than Marc's. I explained, blah blah blah, Consulate, last minute blah blah blah mistake made, no time to correct blah blah blah. Off she went with my passport.

She returned a few minutes later, returned the passport, smiled and wished us a good flight. Phew. One security check down.

When we went to get our boarding passes, we knew right away that the last leg of the trip was likely to be problematic. Royal Jordanian was able to give us our boarding passes for Amman and Delhi, but she had no idea about the last flight. "Some discount airline" she said off hand. "I am not sure what terminal it will be". OK, no panic yet. 

The flight to Amman was finished almost before we left. Less than 30 minutes in the air. When we landed, we followed the signs for transfer flights. Eventually we went through security.

Well It was called security but in reality it was a free for all. No one could stay in line or take their turn. There were only a few plastic containers to put things in and people were just throwing their stuff together with other people's stuff. Women were told to go in one direction and men in another. The metal detector reminded me of the ones in Egypt at the entrance to every museum. They don't really work, but make a lot of noise beeping all the time. Every man went through five or six times until the beeping stopped. All of the women were escorted into a closed booth, where a woman security person got her jollies feeling us all up from head to toe. In the mean time, all of our personal belongings were at the other end of the room with no one there to fetch them.

Lovely. We felt really safe and secure.

The flight to Delhi was five hours long and almost immediately the flight staff were serving drinks and hard alcohol. There were several young men on the flight, one sitting beside us and one just ahead of us. Luckily for us, the young man sitting beside us, quickly determined that it would be much more fun to join the fellow in front of us. It became clear to me by his third drink that we were in for trouble.

The stewardess serving him drink after drink, tried to slow him down but he was persistent. When he finally began vomiting, all she did was scold him and hand him a box of kleenex. For the remainder of the flight, Marc and I enjoyed the sounds, smells and sound effects of his performance. No one came to clean it up or to check if he was still breathing. Each stewardess that passed just made a face and moved on.

This flight finally ended and we arrived in New Delhi. We were met by a representative of Jet Lite (our discount airline) and escorted to the counter where we would get our boarding pass, and our luggage which had been checked straight through to Kathmandu, would be located and forwarded to the proper flight.

All seemed surprisingly organized until the Jet Lite rep, looked at our freshly printed boarding passes and started tearing them up. He asked to look at my e-ticket, had a long conversation with himself, made a couple of phone calls and declared "You will have to call expedia." "You flight is booked, and paid for, but there is a ticket number missing and I can not make the change", he said shaking his head. "But we don't have a phone, and calling the US to try to fix this will be more costly than this ticket" I said trying to keep calm, "Surely there is something you can do from here".

Well I won't bore you with all of the details, but needless to say we stood there for two hours trying to get someone to figure out a way to get this worked out to no avail. Finally I called expedia from a pay phone that looked more like an adding machine, and asked them to have their people call Jet Lite/Royal Jordanian's people and make this problem go away before we missed our plane to Kathmandu.

Somehow miraculously at the same time, a Royal Jordanian rep realized himself that he should be the one to fix this. He assured us that at 9:30 when the reservation office opened, he would make sure this all got fixed. That was two hours away and we were losing patience. Moments later expedia's people called Royal Jordanian's people and as if by magic our boarding passes appeared.

We are still not sure what exactly happened, but we were ushered through to another less than efficient security screening and into an ultra modern airport. Yes, the New Delhi airport is beautiful, clean and modern. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought I could drink the water and eat the food!

Instead of taking any chances on the water or food, we found very comfortable lounge chairs where we slept for three hours. By the time we boarded our plane to Kathmandu, we were rested and ready for the next adventure what ever it may be.

But truthfully, everything after that went like clockwork. We arrived, filled out our visa forms, received our visas, collected our luggage (yes our bags arrived!) and walked outside where our guide Dhana was waiting with a big sign with our names on it. He delivered us to our hotel, were we were served Masala Chai.

So now you are almost up to date. I have lots to say about the drivers here, and our day of sightseeing, but that can wait for another day. It is really late and we are up early tomorrow to make our way to Pokhara, so no photos today — sorry. Hopefully tomorrow night I will still have internet!

Goodnight all!

1 comment:

  1. WOW, What a flight! Don't know how you managed to stay composed, or maybe you didn't, I would have been having a fit!! Glad you are safely on your way!