Well, this wasn't exactly the news I was hoping to hear about the morning I left for Mumbai:
Another young woman gang-raped -- in Mumbai this time. I had just booked my trip to India a few months ago when the story broke of the young woman in Delhi who had the same thing happen to her. Yikes! I think Ang and I will stick together at night!
Anyways - on to the traveling... I took a half day of vacation to get to the airport for my 2:30pm non-stop flight to Newark. I have one giant and very heavy back-pack and a smaller, purse like bag.
I've been oddly "prepared" for this trip. I've been completely packed since Sunday - and semi-packed well beyond that! I have cool, comfortable outfits to cover up my legs and shoulders, a book to read on the plane, earplugs and an eye shield for sleep on the plane, a silk "sleep sack" to keep bed bugs away in India, loads of little kleenex packages since toilet paper isn't used everywhere, a whistle to draw attention to ourselves if something bad happens, all sorts of medicines and snacks, an umbrella, a dual time zone waterproof watch, super comfy Teva sandals to wear every single day... I mean, you name it, I've probaby got it in there.
Which is why both bags are stuffed to capacity. I started to re-think bringing so much with me, since it will be glued to my back for a good part of the trip. Oh well. I can dump clothes along the way I guess, and about half of my bag is food! Hopefully most of that will be gone by the end, too. I have to come up with some room somewhere so I can bring back all the cool stuff in India I'm (hopefully) going to find!
Matt took me to the airport, but I drove to keep my mind on something. I held off most of the tears pretty well...kind of. I had my mini-melt down where I cried and said I didn't even want to go to stupid India, haha. I love traveling, but I hate leaving him almost as much!
|He obviously didn't share my sentiment for leaving.|
There wasnt anyone at the United check in desk. The airport was dead. But when I got up close, I recognized Big Tony, the older brother of one of my favorite Cristo Rey basketball girls! He said he would check me in and we chatted for awhile about Lou. Now I had been tossing around the idea of upgrading to Economy Plus on my long United flight to Mumbai..but couldn't decide if it was worth it. $140 for another 5 inches of leg room?? I don't know. So I decided to ask Tony about it. He gave me a wink and said he would take care of it for me!! I was so excited, but he couldn't find my name in the system or something like that. He said he would keep trying, and if it was changed when I got to Newark I would know why. :)
So moving on to the security process. Again, not one person in line. I threw my giant bag (already hurting my back) on to the conveyor belt, pulled out my TWO bags of liquids that I WAYS take, and walked on through. Some grumpy old lady was working the X-ray machine and grabbed my bag as it came through. "Are you traveling with anyone else?" She asked me. No. So she called over some young girl working TSA and whispered something to her. The girl then bright my bags down and said I could only take ONE of them. Ha. Yea freaking right. I'm going to India for 10 days. I'm not leaving ANY of that. She was super nice and said the old lady was the Nazi of scanning bags. Ridiculous. I told her I didn't want to get her in trouble, but there was no way I was leaving any of that stuff. She was nervous and kept looking around...as I started shoving bottles of lotion and hair gel down my pants.
Oh yes. I did. I needed all of that stuff!! We shoved a few more things in to one of the bags. It wouldn't zip shut and I thought it was going to rip. The rest of the stuff was in my pants. :) The grumpy old lady didn't notice and just rolled here eyes when the young girl took the one overstuffed bag back to show her. Worked for me. I waddled off trying to keep my legs together and re-packed the TWO bags as soon as I got around the corner. What a waste of time...
Didn't have long to wait before we started boarding the smallest plane ever to Newark. Seriously. I wasn't even sure it was going to make it there, haha! I was in seat 2A right up front. Thanks Big Tony. :) But I had to gate check my giant back pack. No way was it fitting on that plane!
3 hour flight was non-eventful...except for the 8 year old behind me who had Justin Bieber blaring the whole time. While singing along. Without headphones. She might of been having a dance party too the way she was jiggling and kicking my chair.
Landed in Newark around 6pm their time (5:00 back home), so I caught Matt on the way home. Took a shuttle bus from the express jet terminal to the jumbo jet terminal. Lucked out and found some pretty healthy food along the way: grilled chicken and goat cheese sandwich, and a banana for the plane.
The picture doesn't do it justice. It's massive.
I went to the customer service counter at my gate and checked too see if I had been upgraded. I hadn't. :( After a lot of talking to the united worker, she wrote my seat number down and said she would let me know if anything came up. By that point, there were no window seats in economy plus, and it was over $1000 to upgrade to first class. Not happening.
So I waited at the gate...and realized I was one of two non-Indians there. Nice.
After eating and a bathroom break, we started boarding around 7:45. When I got up to the front, the same lady I had been working on up front was scanning the tickets. I asked her if I should just stick with my seat, and she smiled a d told me to hold on. It scanned still as the same seat, so she called a guy at the front desk and told me to go back over there. The Indian guy working there now was not amused, but just stuck his hand out with a new boarding pass. A window seat with an aisle all to myself! Score! Being persistent (and nice) pays off sometimes. :)
So I got all settled in to my seat. Plenty of room (for free!) Lined up my bag of snacks next to me, got my sandals off, socks on, pillows and blankets lined up. Good to go. :)
I was excited when I saw a little sign on the back of the seat for a power outlet between the seats. I wanted to charge my phone. But I reached down there and couldn't get it in. Upon further inspection, it was an INDIAN plug. Come on, United! I mean, I guess Americans are definitely the minority on that flight, but I wasn't pumped. My adaptor - which I wasn't even sure was the right one - was up in my bag above my head. And I was too lazy to get it down and unpack everything looking for it.
Before we took off, the pilot announced that we might be able to make it to Mumbai in 14 hours! Something about the winds and jet stream. I'll take it. Beats the scheduled 15.5 hours!
We're taking off soon, so I'll just leave it at this for today. I'll catch up the rest of tonight ... and pretty much all day tomorrow (on this flight) in my day 2 post. Supposed to land at 9pm local Mumbai time on Saturday night. Which is like 10:30 am back home. Might be a long day (or night...however you want to look at it.)