March 16th, 2005
|09:37 pm - The getting here, as it happened.|
Mistakenly took my winter coat, embroidered with "Sahib Story" with me on the flight from Mpls. I meant to leave it in the car so that I wouldn't be saddled with a heavy coat in Chennai, where it will be in the 80s or so during my entire stay. Ah, well, it could be worse.
I was the entertainment in the security theatre leaving Mpls. as well. When instructed to remove my shoes for the X-ray, I responded, "No, thank you," and was directed off to the "Red Line" where I was made to stand on the "Red X" until my bags came through then the very nice man explained the manual screening process, wanded me and wiped my shoes with the explosive-detecting paper.(I remember when they used to wipe your bags with those.) And here I had gone out of my way to not have anything metal on me, wore my canvas sneakers and complied with all the carry-on theater (laptop and camera in a separate bin, no knife, never mind it's 2.5" blade, etc.). But no, it would have been quicker to take my shoes off and put them back on. Sigh.
The flight to Chicago was uneventful and I was glad of my coat on the plane. It was a tad chilly, so having a jacket to curl up in caught me a couple of minutes of snoozing time without having to track a flight attendant down for a blanket.
It's now 1:03 PM Monday. My flight from here to Frankfurt leaves in a couple of hours. I've had a quick bite of lunch and have hunted down what seems to be the ideal place to plug in my laptop for a quick update: on a bench next to the gate desk. They have a power outlet on the front and I have a place to sit that isn't the floor. I'm amused by my fellow electronic travelers who are either camped on the floor or who trail cords around corners to get to the few outlets available. I wonder if they think that connecting to power at the gate desk is doing something wrong, of if they just didn't spot the outlets. (It took me a bit of walking around before I spotted them.)
The flight to Frankfurt was pretty packed and there was the minor competition between the screaming infant and the screaming toddler that went on just a tad too long. Other than that, though, it wasn't bad. Both the kids finally fell asleep, which let me fall asleep. I was awake through most of "Finding Neverland." When we got to Frankfurt, I successfully navigated my way to my gate but was surprised that I didn't hit customs. I guess if I'm not leaving the airport, I don't count as visiting the country. Drat it all. Maybe on the way home, I'll wander outside so that I can get a stamp on my passport.
The Frankfurt airport is a study in austere. Severe lighting, that appears to be halogen, is directed on to the polished metal strips of the ceiling. An effective way to scatter the light, but one that looks severe.
I curled up on a semi-comfy pair of seats and caught a bit of a nap in my gate area. I figured that when boarding time came about three hours later, that the crush of people and PA announcements would wake me, if nothing else. I woke up about two and a half hours later, a bit confused that there were not very many people in the general area and no plane at the gate. I poked around and there were not gate agents either. And the signs saying where a flight would be going were dark. Very odd.
So I trapsed down to where I knew there were departure listings to discover that my flight had changed gates. Ah, that explains it. Oh, and they're boarding now! So a quick walk back to the correct gate this time and I'm one of the last few folks on the plane. Kind of nice, that, actually, as you don't have to muck around with people wanting to get past you or shoving your stuff around in an overhead bin.
The business class was half vacant on the flight from Frankfurt to Chennai and I was half-tempted to sneak up there for a more comfy chair to snooze in. After flying Lufthansa from Chicago to Frankfurt and Frankfurt to Chennai, I'm convinced that the Germans are, as a group, fat-assed people. That's the only way I can see how they would be comfortable in those seats. Oh! my aching coccyx.
Arrived at Chennai in the dead of night and breezed through customs without so much as a second glance. Got to baggage claim and waited. And waited. And watched fully three-fourths of the people on the flight get their luggage. Began to worry about if my luggage made it. Waited some more. Spied my bag, grabbed it and made for the exit!
I was accosted by people looking to book me into hotels on the way out, but told them off politely as I knew someone from work would be there to pick me up. They were and a mildly-harrowing ride into town later, I was placed safely in room 3027 of the Park Hotel.
It's 2:50 a.m. now and I plan on going in to work in the afternoon. First full day of work will be Thursday. So it's off to bed for now.
Current Mood: awake