I have arrived at the airport (3.5 hours early) and hoping to write a bit, but I am not sure how much I can recap from my last couple of days without crumbling to pieces. I would rather not do that while already being stared at by everyone in the airport, so I am starting with the end.
I haven’t left campus in a week and it often makes me forget that I am in India the country, not India the RSO campus that I savor in my memory. India in general is just crazy and it still sneaks up and surprises me every time. After staggered and sad goodbyes, I loaded myself up in the truck and we headed out. My driver was not one I had driven with before but I had heard of his wild driving reputation. Since it was past midnight, the many creatures of the night had come out to have their free reign of the streets. Well free until we came whizzing through the village. We almost hit cows, dogs, frogs, birds, mice, and even a bat almost smacked our window. I finally had to just close my eyes and doze off so I was not afraid for every animal’s life. To my knowledge, it all worked out. I also realized that I never fully accepted until today that we drive on the left side of the road in India. I think it is because we never drive on one side of the road to begin with. And after it became “normal” during my time in Malaysia…I stopped noticing. I’m not sure…just thought it was a bit strange I hadn’t recognized that.
I woke up baffled that we were already at the airport. I did not understand how I had dozed for 2 hours. Well turns out the crazy driving meant we made it in only 1 hour and 10 minutes door to door. I felt a little relieved I hadn’t lost all sense of time and that I did not have my eyes open for the experience.
I started up to the departures gate and got attacked by attendants asking if I was with British Airways. Yes. Business? Yes (!!! Totally excited about that part). Ok Ma’am this man will take you bag and come with me. This quickly turned into another speaker purchase scenario with too many people doing one simple job. I was immediately passed off to the guy with my bag by the original attendant, then 10 steps away I was at the door where I needed to be checked by entry security. This involved 1 door and 6 security police who were clustered over 2 chairs and papers and offered no assistance until you tried to go through the door. At which point, they began to shout at you that you needed to be checked and no one could understand that I did not have a printer and did not have my boarding pass printed prior to entering the airport. Then somehow magically another person arrived with a list with my name on it which was apparently sufficient proof of flying. Yet another attendant checked I was with British Airways. That person checked my passport, then a security officer and I was allowed to go inside…to check in. Inside the door another attendant grabbed me and handed me an immigration form and walked me to check in. Then he left me with the bag guy again, who passed my bag to another bag guy at the check in desk to put on the scale one step from both of them. I was passed from the immigration card attendant to the check in area attendant to the check in counter girl. I mean, I guess they couldn’t lose me if they tried! I was finally checked in though and was able to walk solo to the immigration desk.
Luckily, immigration was pretty low key and I made it through quickly. I felt like I was back at the school when the officer looked at my card and said “you dance teacher?” I answered yes and figured his excitement was a good sign. He wanted to immediately know when I was returning to India. After a few polite answers, I was on my way and right behind me there were the (not so) whispers that followed: “she is dance teacher…something in Tamil…dance teacher.” It sounded just like the kids and how quickly the word spreads and they repeat it over and over. I guess I know where they learn it from!
I was at least able to kill some time in the 80’s style lounge area where I was not really bothered. Security was a tad annoying because instead of answering my questions or even receiving the standard head bobble, I just got flat out stared at. They seemed to sort out my laptop and liquids in the appropriate containers at the last second though.
The final comical moment before the last of the waiting for my flight was at the duty free. A small stand really, but I decided to put the last of my rupees to use. While my entire identity was being stolen (yet again) the 4 workers at the tiny check out counter were all marveling at my memory foam pillow and discussing where they could get one and how good it must be for your health. I was saying just yesterday that the children often remind me of the little aliens in toy story when they are taking in a new concept…..”oooooooo” with they eyes bulging out of the sockets more than usual. I guess I can see where they learn that from too 😉 Or maybe I am just looking for ways to still “see” the children because I know when I wake up from these approaching travels I will not be heading over to play “Dance Master” or to hear their cries of “Auntie, Auntie! See me!” That last sentence alone already has me a bit misty, so I will try to pull myself together and get on this plane so I can sleep! Here’s to my first experience in Business Class 🙂