I guess sometimes, the first time isnt always the best time 🙂 for some. My Singapore trip happened only the third time and so did my US trip. And there is no one else to blame but myself. There were occassions when I was literally threatened that I would have to give away my job unless I travel for a training to US for 3-4 weeks…and guess what, I offered to change job than travel and all for what !! hmm.. lets leave it there.. no point digging old corpses. As I said at the end of my SG and KL travelogue, whatever happens , happens for the good.. So here I am , being third time lucky 🙂 and what a perfect time (when I really needed a place to hide myself from some of the ghosts that have been haunting me….)
I wasnt even sure till the last second or till the time I actually landed in SFO airport that I am travelling to US 🙂 I didnt have the usual excitement that I find / found in some of my friends. I guess that is how I am .. I can never to be too happy or too sad.. (God!! I know I suck..but that is how I am). If I was happy about one thing to mention, I was happy that my whole family was there to send me off and even though it was the middle of the night they came to see me through the entrance of the BIAL airport.. They werent there for more than 5 mins..but that meant a lot to them and to me. Especially my kutty niece who got up at the right moment to give me a goodbye kiss.. I love her.. After standing the long queue to get the ticket for almost 1.15 hrs, and then getting through the immigration and customs, finally I got only 30 mins before boarding. An old lady who was travelling alone to meet her son in SFO saw me and came and started talking (what is with the old ladies and me .. why do they feel that I am in their league 😦 .. wait till you hear it all .. you will know what I am saying). Helped her out till we went for boarding. The flight to Dubai which started at around 4 am was uneventful with a small kid and her mom travelling to meet the kids father in Netherlands. The kid was little scared of me I guess…. Landed in Dubai at about 6.15 am their time sharp (almost 3 hrs of flight and they are 1.5 hrs behind Blr time). The next flight from there was at 8 am. It was a huge airport , in par with Singapore Airport. Nice interiors and the I only saw half of it (because we dont go beyond the immigration area). Duty free shops are abound and they sell everything and anything there.. Seems to be a little cheaper..but I didnt have much time to stay and see. I had to walk to my next airline counter which was about 30 mins walk from disembarkation point to boarding point.. By the time I refreshed and searched and came to the place slowly it was already 7 am. And then the boarding formalities started…. I got around 15-20 mins relaxing time and used the public wifi to send an email back home about my arrival in Dubai… Then boarded the SFO flight at 8 am sharp and to my disappointment I got a middle seat (even though I had booked for the aisle one..) To the left was a guy and to the right was a old lady..The lady was more than happy to be near me than that guy.. :D… Then the fun begins.. behind me, in the three seater.. a guy gets sandwiched between two 65 year olds. He begs me literally to shift to his place as it is also a middle seat :).. atleast in my seat he would have a guy near him for company… I changed … it was no big deal for me.. but little did I know that my responsibilities will increase with my change..
The person on my left was a working woman around 65-67 yrs old. She was working for HCL under Shiv Nadar in Admin and now she is one of the Board of Directors for the Educational Program of HCL. The other lady was a Pakistani who was visiting her new born grandson in CA and this was her first flight to US. She refused to keep her bag below the front seat as told by the hostess as it has Quran in it. She got the window seat so she was more than happy to nap whenever she wanted to. The HCL Lady was on her own, except that she needed help whenever the Pakistani lady had to go to the rest room or when she herself wanted to go.. She has some problem in her left hand which she wasnt able to use. We started watching the on flight entertainment. The pakistani lady , after questioning me about my family, why I am going to US etc etc and telling her own story.. she said she wanted to watch the same program / movie as the guy before me was watching (He was watching Karate Kid..) so I played it for her.. It started playing with the initial Advertisements… she was like.. “no no I want only that movie.. ” I said it will come after the commercials.. She wasnt convinced.. she made a face and kept quite.. then I had to explain it to her that it will first play the advertisements and then the movie would start.. only when she saw the kid in the next few scenes she was convinced..God… then she said that the sound wasnt enough and asked me to increase the volume.. then only I realized that she didnt wear the head phones.. she didnt want to wear them .. then how am I supposed to make her listen to it !! some how I convinced her that she can only hear through that.. She again made a face as if I did it on purpose.. Mudiyala.. Idhellam parava illai.. they started serving breakfast..and since we had already chosen the food type while booking.. it came for me and the HCL lady first. Now she got angry that she alone didnt get the food and what wrong she did to get it late.. Thank God I knew hindi.. I was able to convince her that we had already pre selected the meals while booking the flight and hence we got it first..She said “kyon hum log paise nahi dhete hain ?” are baba.. kya bataoon mera dimag kharab ho gaya thaa… then after her breakfast she went to sleep.. and me too.. then after some time she said that she wanted to see Amitabh’s movie.. Now where am I supposed to search for it. I wasnt even sure if they had one.. if they didnt have..she will now blame me for that !!! whew!! so I searched and thankfully they had Sholay in the list.. so I asked her if she wanted it.. she said yes.. and She quietly watched Sholay and I got to watch Prince of Persia and the A Team for myself. Time went by … I slept and watched movie and heard songs and watched the Flight camera while going over oceans or lands. It was a nice watch. Evening around 4pm or so She asked me if they will give Tea ? I wasnt sure.. so I asked the hostess for tea if she had and she took her own sweet time to get it and by the time I already got enough stares and the hostess got scoldings in hindi and urdu 🙂 nalla comedy. They had given us the immigration forms to fill which by default I had to fill it for her. And while doing so I thought I made a mistake and asked the hostess for another form but she said that it was over and left. Then luckily 2 hrs before landing they got forms again.. She wanted to have a copy of the forms just in case for later use.. I told her that she can get it anywhere in the aiport if she wants to.. She was again unconvinced… So I filled the form for her.. And in between the journey while crossing the north pole or before or after that… there was a slight turbulence and after some time the inflight entertainment got switched off for a few hours.. We all got a good nap. There was a girl 2 seats before mine who was all the more active all the time..She hardly slept… Cute kid.
When we were about to land in SFO, the pakistani lady was overwhelmed with gratitude suddenly and started thanking me for taking care of her. I asked her to be careful and left off for the Immigration and Customs..
Immigration took about 1.5 hrs because of the Queue. Then out I came with my baggage to get a taxi.. SFO Airport looked like a small airport to me compared to Dubai… The trip to the hotel also wasnt so impressive in the first look. The driver relying on the GPS went the wrong route and roamed near the hotel for a few dollars more.. then finally called up the hotel and got the directions and dropped me in the hotel at around 3.45 pm PDT. I checked in my suite and was waiting for the night to fall in so that I can just crash on the comfy bed… It was such a long journey..almost 20 hrs of travel.. but I thought it would tire me totally.. somehow I was stable enough… and I slept around 10 pm that day.. after mailing my folks of my safe arrival.
Will keep posting more slowly….Its getting late now.. Ciao