Well, time just flies, doesn't it? The last time I wrote here I was busily preparing, impatiently awaiting my departure from Canada, and now here I am, seriously jetlagged in my aunt's place in Bangalore! Getting here was an adventure—international travel always is—so here are some highlights:
10 AM – 2 PM: Frantically finish packing, shopping, doing all manner of last minute things. Those who have seen me before I travel (mercifully, not many people have) know that I tend to get into a kind of 'zone' just before I leave.
2 PM: Little brother leaves for Vancouver, accompanied by my luggage. I was told that there's only enough space in the car for me or my luggage, not both, so I saw him off from the house.
2-3 PM: Naptime. Possibly the last time I slept until now.
6 PM: Get dropped off at the airport and say my goodbyes to the family. My bag got searched as we went through security, by an overly polite customs official who apologized when she didn't find anything. I love this country.
6-7:30 PM: I spent my last hour and a half in Toronto... deciding what to do with my last hour and a half in Toronto. As soon as I start reading (The Satanic Verses), the plane starts to board.
8 PM (EST) – 8 AM (GMT): Flight to London. Mostly consists of me trying to sleep. As soon as I give up and start on the book again, we land. I think Rushdie must be cursed.
8 AM – 1 PM: London's Heathrow Terminal Five is another world. There's a full mall (complete with three duty free stores of the same name) and enough seats for a small city. There's a seafood/caviar bar. There's a cafeteria named 'eat' (I ate) and a Starbucks where all their espresso is Fair Trade. Since I am a creature of suggestion, I ordered one and concluded that it was far superior to the North American variety. Britain has an abundance of fancy chocolate and tea, of crackers in tins and everything else in tins (sometimes the tins look like double decker buses). They have a curious overabundance of gingers (it is noticeable). I paid five pounds for under an hour of internet because unlike any civilized airport ever, Heathrow does not have free wi-fi. I'm far more indignant over this than I should be—my lesson here is to not promise my family any contact until I'm at my destination.
2 PM GMT – 4:30 AM India time: Three movies and multiple failed attempts at sleep later, I once more picked up Rushdie's Verses just as we get in. I highly recommend travelling with this book; it makes planes reach places faster (ie right when you start enjoying the read). I've gotten through the first fifty pages and it's still weird. I can't see why it merits a fatwa, aside from the atrocious number of made-up words it uses.
4:30 – 5:30 AM: So I go up to Indian customs. I've got my passport, I've got my visa. Actually, I've got a step up from a visa, namely a Person of Indian Origin card, essntially a multiple entry visa that lasts for 15 years. Pretty sweet, right? Well, the officials didn't seem to think so; upon seeing it the first guard informed me that I would have to step aside with his colleague to clarify some things. Shit, I thought. I am going to be the first ever IDSer to not even make it to placement. I am going to be deported. This is what is happening.
As it turns out, that is not what happened. Mostly I had to show all my documentation several times to several different officials, who let me pass, after repeated head-nods and queries of where my mother was from and whether I spoke Telegu.
Anyway, I got out of the airport and met my uncle and cousin who were waiting for me, and I've spent the last few hours driving around the city and sleeping—mostly sleeping. I think I might just do some more of that right now. Peace out!
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