[American Adventure:Part 1 & Part 2]
We are here!! 23 hrs of cramped seats, ear poppings & constant noise later we are here. And it seems to have been worth it.
The Crappy Part:Getting here
I knew it was a long journey & was humoring myself that it would be an easy one, with my pune-lucknow-28hrs-travel-experience & all. But it was uncomfortable. Left for IGI by 9:10pm…got there by 9:40. Had 8 bags & checked them in quickly [thanks to the uncle who helped us to get it done qiuickly], went through passport check as well as the security check without any hassles, pokes or prods 🙂
Had to wait until 12:30 till boarding began, [flying on KLM]we were in the air by 1:40am[all times are w.r.t IST]. I had the window seat & papa was across the aisle[ Our seats were 18G,H,J,K…funny thing:No ‘I’ between ‘H’ & ‘K’!!]. One redeeming feature of the arduous flight is that they have the new planes with the mini-tv’s in headrest’s rear. Once that was turned on I was in heaven! [pun intended:)]. It had movies, TV shows & music. Had to make a whole list of what to watch…spoilt for choice.
Saw the foll. movies & TV shows, in between dozing off, listening to the radio or ipod, taking pics, & eating [:)].
- The International
- Yes Man
- He’s just not that into you
- FRIENDS [again :)]
- 30 Rock
- Grey’s Anatomy
Distance in perspective
Dawn in the sky
Arrived at Amsterdam [Schipohl Airport] at around 9:20am IST [6am local]. Got down & freshened up[European loos rock! & by that I mean they are clean :)]. An Indian looking girl with a weird accent came up & asked me for some money to make calls to her parents, unfortunately we weren’t carrying any euros & none of our phones work in Amsterdam…
The connecting flight to Atlanta wasn’t until 1:30pm [10:20 local], so we whiled away the time roaming about the huge airport
on the horizontal escalator thingie at Schipohl,Amsterdam
[our Indian airports are nothing compared to it…we had to use the horizontal escalators/conveyrs to take us from part to the other!]. Since we did not have the Schengen visa, could not go out of the airport. Had some breakfast:3 Croissants, 1 Hot chocolate[have to drink the american coffee to see the difference between freshly grounded beans & our instant Nescafe!
Plus I have to taste to believe the so called caffiene ‘kick’], 1 tea [costing €12 i.e Rs.720! *winces* ] & lay down to stretch out or bodies [the plane seats are damn cramped. No width or legspace 😦 ]. Half an hour later started our ambling about again, the duty free shops, electronic stores [handled the Aluminum MB & drooled :D], bookstores etc. making our way to gate F3 where we were to board KL 0621 for Atlanta.
Wings of fire
After the long que past the security check we boarded. This time all our seats were together in the center 21-D,E,F,G but somehow we ended up sitting in row 20! Papa noticed the mistake about 15 mins into the flight but thankfully nobody asked us to change…would have been so embarrassing!
This was the worst part of the journey. A second flight of over 10 hrs. & the excitement of getting to our destination doubled the frustation. Time seemed to pass so ssslllllooowwwllly! Same routine as in the previous flight:Movie, food & sleep. This time we had to fill in the custom & immigration forms as they are required in the US. Finally landed in Atlanta around 11:10pm [1:45pm local,6.6.09,saturday]. Home free!!
The Good Part:
Mum, having been here many times took it upon her to herd us, though why she was running I had no idea!. Customs & immigration were a breeze, while baggage claim was unnecessarily time consuming & convoluted. We collected our bags after the custom/immig. from the conveyer belt[8 HUGE bags…other passengers were staring with wide eyes & open mouths! One woman asked mum if we were moving here :D], loaded them on the trolley, & rolled them to another conveyer belt. Loaded the luggage onto it & then went for a security check. Was pretty thorough, this one. Had to remove all electronic gadgets, belts, jackets & shoes. We went down an escalator then up another to finally board the APM[Automated People Mover] to get to the exit of the airport. Here there was another conveyer belt that brought our luggage…after a wait of 30 mins 😦 [why the double work? Why cant you just bring the directly here, instead of asking us to pick it up inbetween?] Here the luggage carts were pay to use, so papa who was excited to try out his credit cards internationally, got his chance!
We saw Aabhas first followed by Jason, Rachel & the former little, but now not-so-little Shivani [she is getting taller than me! not that I am tal, but still!]. Finally saw Amar Mama, greeted him & gave him a big hug! Due to the large number of bags mama had to bring 2 cars, one he drive, Jason & Rachel were in the other. Loaded up & left for Rome[Rome of Italy is has seven hills & three rivers around it. So does this place, hence the name too], a 2hr drive from Atlanta. The drive was great, being in the company of family & driving through a beautiful place in a fantastic car[Hemant would have liked the car!]!
Reached home around 4:30 to finally meet dear Mami, making the reunion complete :). An addition to the household is now Buddy,a Japanese Chin, a super funny & cute dog[though it was some time before I stopped calling it Jelly & started calling it Buddy :)]. The first thing we did was to take a tour of the house. And what a house it is!! Beautiful & comfortable, blending regal with futuristic. Absolute fantastic.
The neighbourhood was the crowning glory. Located within a former forest, Berry Forest, it is surrounded by pine tree. There is a golf course behind the house adding to the greenery. No walls or fences, just a change in the colour of the grass to mark property limits, tall trees with birds nesting in them & NO noise. No vehicles, ppl shouting, dogs barking or anything. Feels like a resort at a remote hill station. Perfect spot for a vacation. Give it 20 on 10!
Chatted away for an hour, then sat down for Lunch/Dinner. Had Shrimp, Chicken, Paneer:Scrumptious! had a bath & drank a BIG mug of tea :). FInally went to sleep at around 12, almost countering the jet lag.
-The shops at the IGI were way overpriced! 1 glass of soup for Rs.90, 2 Samosas for Rs.160!!
-Aastha dropped her boarding pass in Amsterdam & mum dropped her passport in Atlanta. Thankfully the other passengers attracted their attention in time!
-Weather is super nice here. Not hot or cold…just right.
FOR ALL PICS CLICK ON “AMERICAN ADVENTURE” IN THE BLOGROLL COLOUMN, ON THE LEFT