Friday, September 14, 2007

Travel story - 1

Hello all ,
I think I am having one of the most adventurous travels. Think of Passport collection at domestic airport and go to International airport, Drive in heavy Blore rain and land 10 mins before the gate closes and finally miss a flight is all part of this story!!
Just to elaborate, my passport was stuck in Chennai as the London consulate works from there .Drama restarted at 3pm India time on Thursday , when Austin called up and said, scan the authorization letter, sign it and send it back ( the order is wrong here, but thats ok , but this is the jist of it ).Did that and waited to see what happens. Finally went home and packed and was waiting for Travel agent's call around 6.45 when his Boss called up .
He told me that there will be a person waiting at the Mumbai Domestic airport with my passport and I need to collect it from him . This was the first part as I could not now use Jet from the airport itself.
Left home at 7pm thinking I would land at the Blore airport by 8pm and things would be ok for a 9.30 pm take off. But, rain gods completely opened up and you dont have to anyways talk about Blore traffic. Took me close to 2 hours to get there. Was very lucky to get there by 5 mins to 9 . I then realised that the flight had landed but ppl couldnt get down from it at the Blore airport due to the heavy rains.
Flight got delayed by 90 mins !!!! Action shifts to Mumbai . I land there at 12.40 am . After collecting the passport there from this guy there, I proceeded to the international airport. Looking at my tension, my dad asked one of his friends to pick me up . For a 2.15am flight , I thankfully landed there at the international airport at 1.25am. After a bit of running around ( as this was my first time in Mumbai airport) , I finally was done with all the formalities and boarded the plane.
8 and a half hour flight from London magically landed half an hour early !!! So I was at the London airport at 6.30am . Travel plan was that I take a 55 min Speed link from London's Heathrow airport to Gatwick airport and check in there again before 10.45am for a 11.20 am take off.
Alas, destiny had other plans. If someone from Britian ever complains about the slowness in the Custom area in ANY INDIAN city, I guess you can shoot them ! It was painfully slow for ppl with non British passports here. It took me close to 2 hours to complete the long painstaking custom clearance . I thought I should be wise enough to catch the Speed link and rushed out of the airport to stop 13 even without even brushing my teeth !
40 past 8 the speed link starts and I was very happy about how quickly I would reach that place. ( around 9.40) . But then what happened was just amazing. That driver it seemed, took us around a country side tour of London and since for some reason traffic was really bad today, it took us 3 hours and 45 mins to reach the Gatwick airport !!!!!!!! In between calling up British Airways and telling them that we were all stuck on the way and will be there soon did not matter to them as some zillion flights fly out every 5 mins here . There were 2 of us going to Barbados and both missed it . 2 ppl going to France missed their flights . A few more going to some other places also missed their flights . Just amazing !
Got it rescheduled to tomo morning and got a room here. Had to walk for 40 mins in search of food and by the end of it , hunger also vanished ! Well, London is a nice place full of old styled buildings and right now I am staying at a hotel very close to the airport . Hope to catch another long flight( rather 2 flights) tomo morning ! Will update you all in case anything else interesting happens !
Happy Ganesha Chaturthi .