Seemingly all good journeys start early. I had meant to go to bed early, but because of various small task I wanted to finish before leaving, the exhausting day before had ended well beyond . At such conditions and the rather warm weather that Holland had been treated to the past week, waking up at 5 o' clock was far from comfortable.
After breakfast mom and dad came to say goodbye (having asked the previous evening if I had a testament in case anything would happen to me!) and I was picked up by Judith, her boyfriend, parents and sister. We drove to Oss where we got the early train of , arriving at Schiphol slightly past 8 o' clock.
Can somebody fix the freakin' bathroom light ?!
So far so good, but the next couple of events did not nearly go as smoothly. Judith wasn't able to check in at the self-service desk so we had to queue up for an hour to get to the few regular check-in desks that KLM still has operational. Along the way I lost my own boarding pass ... Fortunately they could reprint one but the plane was overbooked and even though we were travelling with a large group and (we thought) we had confirmed seats they could not guarantee that Judith would be on the flight. We agreed that if she wouldn't go, we both wouldn't, even though the next possible flight would be no sooner than tomorrow.
All of this left no time for a relaxed extra breakfast or shopping; we had to get to the gate where it was already rather crowded and we had to queue up for another hour. Aggravation and stress were building. Arriving at the gate's counter Judith was fortunately given a boarding pass, although for a seat 7 rows removed from mine. Judith got a friendly Indian business man to change seats with me and we were ready for take off! But the plane wasn't ... They had found out that some cargo containers had been loaded in the wrong order, so the plane had to park, the containers had to be rearranged and after that we had to wait for the next timeslot for the plane to depart. All in all a delay of 1,5 hours. Fortunately this was only a flight of slightly more than 7 hours. Time to relax now ...
This KLM flight soon had me longing back for my Asian travels with Malaysian Airlines. No individual TV screens, just the shared ones and the two movies were not my cup of tea either: a superhero movie called Iron Man (probably one of my least favourite genres) and a Hindi movie with some rather violent scenes that had me wondering what the kids watching this would learn from it. Why doesn't KLM pick a movie for all ages instead? Some of the cabin crew were rather cranky and the word 'please' did not seem to be part of their vocabulary. Oh well, it was 'only' a seven hour flight, in which I entertained myself with reading in some travel guides and doing some guided meditation by Jack Kornfield on my MP3 player. Lunch was okay (a European dish with chicken) but dinner (cold bean salad and something called Gobi Masala Shorbu) is definitely not going on my list favourite Indian food.
Around we arrived in Delhi and customs and baggage claim went surprisingly smooth considering Indian bureaucracy. It took a while for the full group of 16 people to be gathered by our tour guide Kirsten, but before long we were well on our way. Weather was warm, with a little drizzle but manageable. It took about 45 minutes to drive to the hotel through a virtually deserted Delhi. The hotel itself turned out to be a relatively simple affair. There would be water in the fridge of the room, but this had actually turned into solid ice. More scary were the switches that were actually hanging out of the walls. It was around local time when we went to bed, tired of a day of travelling that wasn't without its minor flaws.