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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Journey to US

Friends, it has been a long time, since I posted last. Actually the shift from India to US ensured that I did not have time for many of my favorite pastimes including 'blogging'. Its not been too long that I have landed here. Whereas the onsite life has its own challenges, it does present in front of you a gamut of opportunities. So, from here on, till the time I reach India again, every post would detail out my life here.

To start, let me tell you friends, that this was my first flight. haha!! Never ever did I fly before and that too a complex route - Kolkata-Dubai, Dubai-JFK, JFK-Philadelphia. Being alone, with two huge trolley bags and a hand luggage, it was quite a challenge... made worse by the fact that I was an absolute novice. Prior to this, I had hardly left my state West Bengal and here I was leaving India altogether for the land of a certain Mr Obama.

I would detail some interesting pieces of my journey - which I hope you people would like.

1. Air-hostesses of Emirates
Emirates is worth flying not only for the hospitality that they provide but also for the beautiful air-hostesses. Irrespective of the race, each one of them were special. Right - They are taught to smile, their profession demands it. But the beautiful aura exuded by them cannot be taught by any institute. From the Kolkata airport, I boarded the flight and was pleasantly surprised by the gadgetry. It took me some time and some sideways glances at other co-passengers to figure out how each of the devices worked. (Remember I was a first-time flier). A certain friend had suggested me to find the washroom first as that is the most important place to go while on air. As I could not figure that out, I had to ask one of those maidens as to the exact location of the place. She readily showed me the way. Incidentally there were two foreigners (not sure which country) sitting right in front of me. The lady gave me a look which suggested I had made a cardinal sin in asking that question! Any way... was good fun otherwise. The food was delicious - not too much, not too less, just what was required. The rest of the trip till Dubai - I browsed through the numerous playlists available and slept the rest of the time. Finally I arrived Dubai.

2. Ordeal at the Dubai airport
Dubai Airport is probably one of the best in business throughout the world. Not only because of the huge area but also because of the glitz and glamor associated. I was lucky enough to have a guy walking with me who incidentally hailed from Kolkata like me. Given the complexity of the route, it was only because of him that I could figure out the correct terminal within a short span of time. While at the Dubai airport, we strolled a little bit and admired the sales expo in progress. The local time was 2AM, but it was difficult to interpret seeing how busy people were.

3. Dubai to JFK
In the flight I had pre-selected a window seat, but had to give it up when an elderly man requested me through an air-hostess that he needed that seat as his old mother was seated next to me and was a first time flier. I agreed reluctantly and got placed in the middle seat in the next row in between a middle aged lady and a Thai guy. The seat had been swapped alright - but my lunch and dinner? This I found out later - My meal preferences were actually tagged to my seat, Since it was a completely unofficial arrangement, the beautiful air-hostesses completely forgot that the seat had been swapped. Resultant - My meals were being delivered to him. By the time, someone found this out - the guy had already eaten 2 puris out of the slotted 4 that the airline provide. When asked if he had touched the food, he said, "No" and I, in the spirit of sportsmanship said, "No probs, mate" :D. Later some extra delicacies were also served to my seat number (old) and I drank some water instead.

4. At the JFK Airport
After a hugely time taking journey of around 13 hours, I reached the JFK airport. Complied with the essential requirements - immigration checks etc etc, collected the luggage (as it was the port of entry), handed the luggage back over to Delta as they would transport them to my final destination and called home. I had bought calling cards from Kolkata. So, calling home was not supposed to be a big deal. However, I was unable to find the right telephone which would accept the calling card. Finally I was able to detect one and called home. Satisfied that an important task had been done, I decided to go to the terminal from where my flight to Philadelphia would commence. As I found out, I needed to board an air train which took me to the required terminal. By that time, I was already feeling something in my stomach (I was hungry, silly). Once I reached the terminal, I decided to have some snacks from Starbucks and water. Snacks was okay, but when I asked for water the lady handed me over another snacks and billed me. I was surprised because I had asked for water. Later when I looked for the label - the pronunciation of the thing was similar to 'water'!!! I had to actually finish the food, go back there and this time, I pulled up a bottle myself (didn't risk telling her again) and asked, "How much?"
I was back at my seat, waiting impatiently for when the flight would show up on the charter. The bottle was meanwhile stranded in my hand. I was extremely thirsty, but could not quench my thirst, because (you won't believe the reason), I was unable to open the seal !! Two elderly ladies looked at me and one of them commented, "You would need to open that.." ..(as if I did not know that). Bisleri or Kinley bottles in India are easy to open. But here it took me quite a while to drive a nail in between the seal and flip it open. Finally satisfied, I sipped into the water...

5. Reached Philadelphia airport.
The plane was hardly on air for 35 minutes, when the pilot announced to tie the seat belts again.
Everything was fine at the airport... only MY LUGGAGE HAD NOT ARRIVED!! It drove me crazy figuring out where to complain. First I knocked at the Continental Airlines office and they were surprised to hear about Emirates. Seemed they heard the name for the first time!! Then I found out Delta office (I was sweating profusely by then... after the numerous carousal checks and all) and reported the issue to them. They took down my complaint and as I was returning, I asked them, "Is there a point in looking for the luggage one last time?". One of the ladies replied, "Yes, please go ahead." And voila! It was there. My trolley bags were looking at me and smiling. :))

I took a cab and came to my apartment. Unfortunately the apartment was not ready. So, after staying over for 3 nights at 2 different hotels, I finally moved in to this apartment.


BK Chowla, said...

Good to see you after a long gap.
Yes,Emirates is good.I flew to Dubai and the staff was really good ,so was the food.
Youseem to have enjoyed your long flt, even if it was the first one.

Preposterous Girl said...

hahahhaha.. :D Nice read.. Quite adventurous journey you had.. :-)

Chiranjib said...

@BK Chowla: Thanks for commenting. Yeah I did enjoy a lot, inspite of the 'hiccups' !! :D

@Preposterous Girl: *POKE* Yeah Yeah :P

John Papers said...

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful article with us.

Chiranjib said...

@John: Thanks for your visit to this blog.. :-)