Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Arrrival in Bhopal, India

I made it safely to Bhopal, India. It was a long and tiring trip. I left Los Angeles at 11:00 PM on Saturday, November 1st, arrived in Philadelphia at 6:00 AM Sunday November 2nd. Barry picked me up at the airport and drove me home where I was able to eat, take a warm bath (which helped my knee fell better. I twisted it at Claremont meeting) wash some clothes and take some items out of my CA suitcase to put into my India suitcase.

Barry drove me back to the airport in time to catch my 4:00 PM flight to Frankfurt. I used flyer miles to upgrade my ticket to 1st Class. I was so happy I did it. My 1st class ticket allowed me to

elovate my left knee. I was also able to enter United's Red Carpet Club in Frankfurt where I could get some tea, a piece of fruit and a nice chair to sleep in for several hours. I had a six hour layover in Frankfurt. We arrived around 6:00 AM and my flight did not leave until 1:30 PM.

They have a lot of security in Frankfurt. I had to go through security two separate times to get from gate C2 to B48. The plane was full and this time I was flying coach. What a difference!! I had an isle seat. The Greek gentleman sitting next to me did not adhere to American space. I felt his breathing and the heat of his body on my left side.

Honestly it was a little too close for me, but what could I do? I was trapped in this bin metal plane filled with people. I had no place else to go, so sleep was the best way to escape. Sleep I did for most of the flight. The flight attendant woke me for dinner because I had ordered a gluten free meal. The good thing about special orders is that you get served before everyone else.

We landed in Mumbia at 1:30 AM. Immigration was fairly quick and easy, however, getting checked luggage felt like it took forever. When my bags finally came I got through customs easily. They directed me to the part of the airport I needed to go to check in for my domestic flight to Bhopal. Security scanned my checked bags only afterwhich they sealed them by sliping a plastic tie through the zipper handles and putting some tap over a portion of the zipper. I had to then take them around the corner to Jet Airways. They took my bags, assigned me a seat, gave me a boarding pass and told me to wait for the bus that would transport me to the domestic terminal.

The bus came. We showed our boarding passes and crammed onto it. Some people still had their luggage with them. They were obviously flying with a different domestic airline. After a long drive we arrived at the domestic terminal which was much nicer than the international one. Security had not opened yet, so people were sitting and sleeping where every they could on walls, chairs and suitcases. Once security opened they separated the males from the females because not only did you go through a metal detector, but you were also wanded from head to toe. If the wand went off which it did around my bra hooks the security guard would feel your body to make sure you were not concealing anything dangerous. Your carry on baggage was scanned and tagged. The tag was important because the guard would not let you on the bus that transported you to the plane without it.

The plane was nice, not too crowded. The service was excellent!! They know how to treat customers. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 5:50 AM. We left 15 minutes late because of the amount of air traffic. They served us a hot breakfast on the plane which I enjoyed. When I arrived in Bhopal a young man who worked for the airlines carried my backpack to baggage claim for me.

When I got into the terminal I saw three Indian men holding an FWCC sign. One of the three men was the clerk of Bhopal Yearly Meeting. They helped me carry and load my baggage to their car and drove me to the Pastoral Care Center. There I was greated by several Austrailan Friends who are organizing the gathering. They showed me to my room and kindly let me sleep ALL day. I was so tired that I slept from 9:00 AM until 6:55 PM when they woke me for dinner. They tried to wake me for lunch, I was just too tired to get up. They were afraid I would not be able to sleep last night. I assured them that I would have no trouble and that was correct!!

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