|Yes, it terrifies me|
Tuesday, 10 January 2012
Airport Bootcamp - Where Only the Fittest Survive
R2 can’t remember why he booked me through Seattle but to the best of his knowledge it was to avoid the weather in Toronto. Good call with 40 cm of snow falling as I left.
The flight to Vancouver was tearful, leaving my kids, family and friends, but otherwise uneventful. I had enough time to make my connection to Seattle so I took my time enjoying Canada's best airport.
If you have flown to Regina from YVR, you depart from a lonely gate. I will never complain again because the flight to the SEATAC is in no man’s land, Siberia, and the end of the earth all rolled into one. Grab a snack along the way; you are in the oldest section with nothing to see or do once you arrive at the gate.
I had to walk outside to board but imagine my surprise when I looked out the window to see Snoopy with his goggles and scarf coming aboard to shoot down the Red Baron; yes it was a prop plane with the a bone shaking rattle to keep you on your toes.
My trip to Korea the following day on Asiana Airlines was brilliant with fine dining, movies and champagne thrown in to keep the flight interesting. The only problem was the 45 minute delay that sent me into a fitness regime that would challenge Richard Simmons. How I managed to run with a twelve kilo knapsack, my overstuffed carryon, a purse and a coat, is beyond me. All this, and stopping to find someone, anyone, that spoke English to direct me to Singapore Airlines terminal. I made it with minutes to spare. So much for being fresh when I saw R2 for the first time in 2 months. Sweat was rolling and my “Degree” flunked.
Changi airport in Singy is rated the best in the world with a gym, movie theaters, first class shopping and dining, a butterfly atrium and artwork at every turn. Unfortunately at 1:30 in the morning I had no time to view this world renowned facility. We arrived home at 2:30 and were up at 5:30 a.m. to catch a flight to Chennai followed by a second flight to Bengaluru, India.
We aren’t sure what made us laugh more; was it the man seated in front of us armpits that reeked of rotting onions, or when the flight attendant “disinfected” the plane with some sort of aerosol that brought tears to our eyes. I was so jet-lagged, and we were so happy to be together that we found giddy humour everywhere.
We had time between our connection so we went for a bite. I needed the toilet desperately but every one I found was the “squat and dip” variety. Finally in the restaurant I hit pay dirt and found one that even had paper for the Westerners. I vowed to use it before we boarded but when I went back for a second time, I met a huge cockroach daring me to enter. I will be plagued by my nemesis in every country, it seems.
I think it is safe to say that Chennai is the dirtiest, most run down airport I have seen in the 19 countries I have visited. Even worse than the shabby, airless building was the intense, pointless security. I was separated from R2 so women can be frisked in private from the men; her machine blipped and beeped all over me but she let me go unfazed. We went through several X-rays, frisking, bag tagging, and in the end, I just walked on the plane with no one checking for proper documentation for the bags. So much for the sub machine guns, and the strict, outdated security measure.
We have two more airports to visit in India before this trip is over and one train station; yes, I said train. We are taking a 3 hour ride so we can see the country side from New Delhi to Agra. After a small taste of India, the thought of a train is intimidating but R2 assures me he booked First Class. In India, that could mean we are bunking with a cow.