Due to the time difference we decided to start Day 3 as we got on our plane to Delhi, so following on from the last post we got to Gate 71 pretty fast, yes I was a little excited and was walking at a fast pace.
In the Toronto airport, gates 70 and 71 are next to each other in what seems a separate area, it was full. The area did not seem to be designed for a large plane and the Dreamliner that we were on was closest to the door of the terminal and was basically blocked by people lined who where in zones 1 and 2.
The most interesting part of the boarding was the number of pre boards of people in wheelchairs. There seemed to be an endless flow of people getting pushed through, although Jenn said that one guy she saw was walking around fine in the Lounge. I guess it’s a way to get early boarding and bin space for you and your family if you are in a wheelchair…
A little jab at WestJet again, our flights with Air Canada have been very clear lines for zones, usually zone 1, 2 and then the rest 3 to 5. This really did make for a smooth board and WestJet should think about a similar practice.
Once boarded our small section, see earlier post of premium economy, was filling not up and I had noticed a number of people around us with lots of carry on, so I was hurrying Jenn to get our bag in the bin (she was busy unpacking everything we needed for our 14 hour haul). There is nothing worse on a long haul flight than to have a bag at your feet.
Our choice to go premium economy was a great choice, the seats are very comfortable, lots of leg room, the chair is a good recliner and it is also wider, yes for fat bottomed people like me. Haha.
If you like curry it was fine, if you disliked curry, well let’s hope you brought a sandwich on board. The flight attendant came to take our order before we have even left the gate, but as it happened, they only had the vegetarian option left. This was fine for us as most of our trip we will be vegetarian.
For such a large plane I was impressed at how fast the board happened and before not too long we were getting pushed back from the gate to head over to de-icing. It was snowing and the captain said there was ice on the wing so I trust his judgement.
Before we left, I had done some reading on the Dreamliner and one of the areas that was highlighted in promotional material was how quiet it was, so I was very interested to experience it. I have flown on many different types of planes from small crop dusters to the big Jumbo 747 so I know how noisy take off can be, well I have to say the promotional material was spot on. As he applied full power at the start of the runway the engines spun up and I really was thinking, why is he not on full power, but I knew he was, it’s what they do, it was that quiet. Kudos to Boeing, have to try and get on a A380 by AirBus to compare. Even the flight itself was quieter and the cabin does not feel as stuffy like is usually does on a long haul, and this one is epic, 14 hours.
Let’s just think about that for a second. As we took off from Toronto at 10pm it was 8pm in Grande Prairie so people still had a good chunk of their evening left before bed, then if they slept in until say 10pm next morning we would still be flying…. phew
The bathroom on the Dreamliner is a throw back to the old day with a modern twist, there is a window, but it dims!! I mean who the heck would be looking in at 36,000 feet?!?! The other feature was no touch flush and hand wash, nice feature.
An interesting part of the flight for me was the places we flew over and one that stood out was a place that we have all heard in the news over the year, Kabul in Afghanistan. Technically, we were not right over the city, but close enough and at least close enough to see the name on the map. Crazy to think of the violence that has gone on 36,000 feet below us over the years. Families torn apart and some crazy people who don’t seems to care about life, well others people’s. Sad.
Well we arrived at last in Delhi, we had been told Delhi has a smell, as soon as the plan door opened it could be smelt, not a strong pungent smell, more like the smell of burning. ([JB] almost like burning wires).
Customs and immigration was very fast, the slow part was getting our bags. There were so many Indian passport holders who were in the longer lines which caused the luggage belt to overfill. When the belt is full, it only releases more bags when there is space. Jenn commented that it was a little like Tetris! So our bags were a long time coming and we figured we had missed our hotel transfer. Once we got our bags (about an hour) we rushed out of the baggage hall and looked for an ATM since you cannot get Rupees out of India right now. Problem was the ATM was empty, all three we found were empty (maybe something about arriving at midnight) so we had no Rupees for tips. So tomorrow is all about money to start with.
Delhi airport does not allow anyone other than passengers in the terminal, so when we came out, it was sensory overload, hard to describe, but noise (incessant honking), smell (the burning wires again), people (everywhere).
[JB addition: It really didn’t feel like we were coming outside at midnight, it was so busy! Oh and I was surprised, but shouldn’t have been, to see a stray dog curled up asleep outside the airport oblivious to he hustle and bustle. Then there were the gawkers… as we waited for our driver, there was a group of driver standing around checking me out. Apparently Derek noticed as well and didn’t want to tell me in case I was freaked out. It did make me uncomfortable, for sure.]
We thought we had missed our transfer so we called the emergency number and a guy promptly answered and asked what door we were at. He told us to stay put and a few minutes later he showed up. He escorted to another couple of travellers and met our driver.
G Adventures uses a company called Women on Wheels, a program to get women work in Delhi (mainly poor women or women escaping abuse), I applaud the endeavour, but wish the drivers spoke English, when I asked her about an ATM/Cashpoint all she said was, “as you wish” huh!
Anyhow back to more pressing matters, the chaos of the roads in Delhi.
If you have ever lived in a busy city with lots of traffic you know it can be a little crazy at times, we’ll take the busiest city and multiply that by 10 and then remove the rules, that’s Delhi!
It was like a demolition derby with no contact, lane hogging, straddling the lines, honking horns, weaving in and out [JB addition: I was able to figure out the rule is that you honk if you’re going to do something other than drive straight. It seemed like complete organized chaos]. Along with that, other types of traffic, rickshaws with no lights, huge slow lorries, huge lorries rolling backwards being guided by men on foot, horse and carriage, cows and stray dogs, it goes on and on, and all the time incessant honking of horns, but we made it. [JB addition: I was so tired, but it felt like my eyes were as wide as they could go, I was just in awe of everything.]
Once at the hotel a quick check in where we had to fill in the registry book with name, address all in capital letters. Oh and they ask your age, bizarre.
The room was how I expected, having seen picture on line, a little chilly, kind of stark and very noisy, dogs and birds mainly.
OK, bed now we shall see how well the sleep goes.