Monday, October 8, 2007

INDIA POST #4

India Posts: India Post #1 --- India Post #2 ---India Post #3 ---India Post #4--- India Post #5 --- India #6 ---India #7 --- India #8 --- India #9 --- India #10 --- India #11 --- India #12 --- India post #13))

Part 4 starts with the end of my flight to New Delhi, India. After about 15 hours in the air, my plane lands in India around 8PM. I do NOT like going through foreign airports alone. Europeans aren't as bad, but these ones in places like China and India are just awful. I am always afraid I have ticked a wrong box on a form or they ask me a question and I can't understand them and they detain me with their armed military guards and I have no idea why or where or how long because I can;t understand them. And I cant get a hold of my husband or call home. I think of that Tom Hanks movie where he is stuck in an airport for all those years... but here, they carry guns and speak a language I don't understand and there is only one dirty toilet.



After I find my way through customs and they do not take my 'deer trapped in the headlights' look to mean I am a terrorist, I tried to turn and enter the room/passage marked 'inter-terminal'. A guard wearing military uniform and carrying a gun told me I was not allowed. I do not argue with gun toting, foreign speak military. Even when they speak the same language that I speak, I do not argue or try to prove my correctness. They scare me. Once, I was meeting Brian on base for a picnic. I had the 3 kids in the van. I finally find the place. It is on a different section of base and I don't do well with driving on new roads to new places and I missed mt turn and had to go back already. so I was already panicky. Then the A.F. Guard with his gun stops me and asks for my ID. I show him. He says. "I have to take this. It is expired. You have to leave. you can go to 'such and such' entrance and apply for a new pass." that's it. All I heard was "I have to take this--You have to leave" He took my Base I.D. Pass and stood there with his gun at his side. I just want to see my husband! He's not in a building, so I can't have them call him. So I turn around past the barb wire and concrete wall, back onto the road and look for the 'such and such entrance'. I am crying. I am lost and can't get to my husband and the man with a gun won't let me in. I find the entrance and call my husband on my cell phone (can't talk on the cell while driving while on base. I'm not gonna do anything illegal, esp with the armed gaurd there) and tell him the guard took my ID card and he has to come get me. He does. He's all non-chalant like it's no big deal. but I was a basket case.

So I just walk away from the India Gun Guard. I go through my bags and find my email confirmation for my domestic flight. I go back and show the guard. he lets me pass. The man in the bus pick up area tells me there are no more buses until tomorrow.I was going to just wait in the waiting room. He told me I couldn't and needed to take a taxi to the domestic flights airport. He waves a taxi for me, gets in the front, talks to the driver then turns to me and says "you pay now.' I asked how much and could have sworn he said 45 dollars. I told him American dollars, not rupees and he said 45$. I gave him $50- for a tip for the driver. He took it all and left the car, so I had to tip the driver still.

The driver asked when my flight was and insisted I get a hotel. I told him I did not need a hotel.I would stay at the airport and wait. (my flight was at about 5AM). He kept saying I need a hotel and he would book a room for me, etc..... I told him No Hotel. He turned at the intersection; away from the sign that pointed to TERMINALS. I asked him if it was the way to the airport. He assures me it is and that he'd book a hotel room for me when we got there. I told him I did not want a hotel. a little ways down the road he turns into a little parking lot. I ask if it is the airport (It looked like a crummy hotel to me). He told me it was my hotel and he opened the car door and started to get out to book a room. I told him "I do not want a hotel. Take me to the airport now." He did, but was not happy. He lost out on that commission.

The he talks a bit. He asks me if I am a Christian. I guess he figures most Americans are... I tell him "Yes." He then informs me. "I am Hindu." what does a person say to that? "Oh, that's nice." just didn't seem right; neither does "So, how's that working out for you?" So I said nothing. (I don't always do well with social situations)

He gets me to the airport and asks for his tip. Whatever, dude. I gave him a few dollars.

I walk into the airport and they tell me the ticket counter is closed and I won't be able-to get my ticket (from my confirmation email) until the morning. They put my luggage through the x-ray machine and hands it back.

I set the alarm on my grand new kid's watch and hope it works. I lay-down on a bench and hope no one mugs me in my sleep. The room is brightly lit, the television is blaring, the intercom keeps erupting with information and instructions in both Hindi and English. Soon a hear a child screaming and running and more people come lay on the benches. I dozed for about 30 minutes, but can't really sleep. more and more noises. more and more people. Mostly men. One sits right across from me and I feel like he is staring through me. I had my hat over my face, but could see through the weave. I finally just sit up and wait for 4AM so I can see if the ticket counter is open and get my ticket and check in.
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