zondag 23 november 2008

India, Day One


Day one of the India adventure.

I left home at about 1:30 AM. My flight wasn’t until 7:15, however I was never one for getting up very early, and I would have had gotten up at about 4 to be at the airport at 5. Besides the fact that I am actually quite bad at getting up I didn’t have anyone to bring me to the airport at such an ungodly hour. So I decided to pull an all-nighter.
B. was so kind as to lose at least some sleep over me, as he was the one who brought me to the airport, where he managed to get some Starbucks coffee. Currently the stand at the airport is the only Starbucks in Belgium. Not that I am so very bothered about that – I don’t actually drink the coffee stuff.

After B. left to get some much needed sleep, I wandered around a bit, ended up drinking overpriced hot chocolate at Starbucks anyway, and read the first chapter of The Selfish Gene. Before I knew it, M. arrived, dropped off by a friend (she did find a victim willing to get up so early).
We first traveled from Brussels to London Heathrow, a fairly short flight. In London we got some snacks and some rest.

Upon boarding to Mumbai I got a curious surprise – I had been promoted to business class. I am still not quite sure why, but my theory is the following: M. had booked the flight under some special promotion – I booked about two months later and paid about 200 euros more. What I didn’t know, however, is that British Airways has some sort of class between economy and business – comfort class I believe. I had inadvertedly booked comfort class – probably because there wasn't any economy class left on that flight at the time.
However, I'm guessing that comfort class got overbooked too, and I ended up in business. This meant M. and I were not going to sit together – but I was going to travel in style. (I hope she doesn’t hate me too much for it).
I’ll tell you: I could get used to the lifestyles of the rich and famous. We actually got a food menu we could chose from, a personal entertainment system and seats that were basically cushy cocoons of comfort. I actually spent most of the flight sleeping, because I was absolutely shattered from staying up all night. Near the end of the flight (which was about 8 hours long) I watched Brideshead Revisited, which technically has been revisited twice over since it used to be a series. It’s basically ye olde bisexual movie with a whole bunch of English nostalgia and a truckload of Catholic guilt. Oh well, I saw it for free anyway…

We arrived at Mumbai airport shortly before 1 AM on the 19th, local time. Our luggage took some time to arrive, and we worried that something might have gone wrong on the transfer from Brussels to London. But it arrived eventually, late but intact.
I even still got to change some currency at the airport, which was a lovely bonus. Upon exiting the airport, I briefly thought the whole event was going to end like a bad soap series: M’s ex, whom she was going to travel with originally, actually showed up there. However, M. made it rather clear she wanted nothing more to do with him, and fortunately our pick-up from the hotel was already there. It was only a short drive to our hotel, Highway Residency, and the car smelled pleasantly of incense. I was quite content to have arrived. Our hotel was basic, but clean and comfortable.

And that, we would later learn, is certainly not an evident thing in India…

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