My “I HATE INDIA” Day

I wake up, check my phone – I have a text message (insert smile on my face – thinking it’s from someone back home). Insert very annoyed face directly after. It’s an message from Jetkonnect, of which I have a flight to Delhi from Jaipur booked with for July 31st. It’s cancelled so they’ve put me on another two flights – Jaipur to Mumbai and then Mumbai to Delhi. That’s fine except I’ll be 4 hours late for my connecting flight with Air India….

I had got up at eight to be able to finish packing, since I was off to the airport on this day to head to Jaipur from Dharmsala. I was finished my first bout of volunteering and looking forward to moving on and enjoying some ‘me’ time, away from some people…. Instead I get to call airlines to try to sort life out.

I have decided I hate Jetkonnect. Everyone who works for them is an idiot. First off they barely speak English which when you choose ‘English’ as an option – you should get someone who speaks English!!!! Secondly I had two different individuals tell me that I could book a connecting flight with them to Varanasi – I would have 30 minutes between and would have to pick up my luggage and re-check-in. Sounds pretty reasonable eh? Blooooody hell!!!

Then it took a ridiculous amount of time for them to comprehend that I just wanted my money back. That’s all. I wanted to cancel the flight because they screwed up. Finally it happened. After that I had to call Air India to cancel my connecting flight. They were mildly more intelligent and it was sussed fairly easily.

By now it’s quarter to ten and I have a taxi picking me up to take me to Dharmsala at ten. It’s a one and a half hour to two hour drive there and my flight’s at one o’clock. I run downstairs, quickly throw everything that’s left into my bag, while trying to eat my breakfast that the cook had left for me and be quiet, as one of my roommates was still sleeping. Insert annoyed face – looking at her asleep while I’m running around like a chicken with her head chopped off.

I haul my bags downstairs, out the front of the house and sit, thinking the cab will show up any minute…

10.15 – I call Amit – he says he’ll call the cab and call me back.

10.25 – Amit calls back – taxi will be there in 5 or 10 minutes.

10.45 – Amit calls – I tell him the taxi still hasn’t arrived.

10.50 – Taxi races around the corner.

The entire taxi ride I’m stressing about everything. The fact that I might be late for this flight has me going and the fact that I don’t have any flights to Varanasi now. Finger nails that are long and nicely painted start to be gnawed away.

This taxi driver drives like a complete maniac – which is what you need when you’re in a hurry and in India. We somehow arrive at the airport at twelve. I have no idea how he got me there that fast – but I wasn’t asking questions, I was grabbing my stuff and heading into the airport!

I get in, there’s no check-in happening, there’s no nothing happening really, just a few people sitting and waiting… About fifteen minutes later a couple Kingfisher workers turn up. They have come to tell us the flight at one is cancelled, but we’re rescheduled on the four-forty-five flight. Fine. I ask if I’ll get moved onto the later connecting flight to Jaipur that I know exists and she says yes sure, no problem. No problem…. I call the hotel that’s supposed to be picking me up to change the pickup time. They are lovely. No problem… but she comes back a half hour later to tell me that the later connecting flight to Jaipur has been cancelled. So no connection.

At this point I start to stress. I try calling cleartrip.com since the wireless at the airport will not work so I can’t go online. (Sidenote: Kingfisher doesn’t give a shit about trying to help anyone sort anything.) I get them on the phone, he finds me a flight leaving the next morning with Spicejet – I say I’ll take it, figuring I’ll stay at a hotel near the airport for the night – then he can’t sell it to me because he can only use Indian credit cards over the phone…. fail.

I’m starting to feel really defeated. I then figure I can call Spicejet directly and maybe they can sell it to me! So I call, they put the whole thing through – bonus it’s cheaper directly through them – and I go to pay. My visa declines – twice and I lose the whole thing…. Now is when I start crying. I’m stuck at an airport in India with no way to get online, no way to book my next flight and hotels and things waiting for me.

I call Visa – in tears. I explain to the guy what is happening. He says the transactions haven’t even hit my card. There’s plenty of credit available. He doesn’t know what the problem is. He tells me to ask them to do it manually next time – I say I already asked them to and they said they’re not allowed. He snorts and goes ‘Reaaallly?!’ Yes I reply crying harder with snot and mascara now running down my face. He tries to reassure me that my card is fine and that everything will work out. He says to get the airline to call him back to have a three way call and he can give them an authorization number. I say okay and hang up…

I feebly call Spicejet back, I go through all my information again – K for kilo, A for apple, T for tiger, I for India, E for elephant. The transaction goes through! I don’t know why or how, but relief floods my body. One crisis solved.

At this point it’s like three or so, I walk up to the Kingfisher counter to get my refund for the connecting flight I’m going to miss. I overhear one of the workers talking to another customer about how the four-forty-five flight will probably be cancelled because of the terrible weather. I swirl my head around to look outside. It’s sunny and there’s a light haze. I walk over to the conversation and blurt ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’ He continues to go on about the weather and I tell him that if this weather stopped planes, never would a flight ever take off from Vancouver! A few other people start to crowd around. I’m SUPER annoyed by now. They try to reassure everyone that they’ll put us onto the next day’s flights.

Image

The way I’m feeling by this point in my day…

Righto. There are loads of people missing all sorts of international connections because of this. I pipe up that they’ll just do the same thing again tomorrow and that this is crap and I want all my money back and for them to call a cab to take me to Delhi. Nearly everyone jumps on board. Everyone is demanding refunds and wants cabs. I get a few glares from Kingfisher staff – of which I return with an even more evil glare. What a horrifyingly awful company!

So somehow I manage to talk to this lovely Indian man who wants to get a cab aswell. He knows a local driver and gets on calling him. Meanwhile a confused Korean man – who has obviously seen my display of rudeness comes over for clarification of what’s going on since his English isn’t very good. I fill him in and he jumps in on our cab too.

Twelve hours later – four am – I arrive at the domestic terminal in Delhi. My flight is at seven-fifteen. I get a Costas latte and croissant and relax – I made it through the day of hell.

Advertisements

hit by india.

Let’s start right at the beginning, when I get to my gate to Delhi at London Heathrow….

Yes, that little bit of; ‘Oh God, what did I get myself into?’ hits me. I’m sitting at the gate, surrounded my India people, all eyes on the white girl sitting alone – in most cases this is when you’d figure you have something on your face or have walked out of the bathroom with toilet paper on your shoe – but no, it’s just because I’m white. Luckily for me, more white circus attractions slowly start to show up before we leave, so my ratings went down slightly!

I then even manage to be sitting beside one of the few white men, a white man from Ireland, who decided he really wanted to chat to me – while I’m watching a movie, with my headphones in – yes that ‘person’ was next to me. I’m polite, take my headphones off and ask, “Pardon?” He has seen I’m from Canada, he wonders where abouts, I fill him in and he then feels the need to pump me up, tell me how amazing Vancouver and the Rockies are, as though I don’t know, like duh buddy!  Meanwhile I can barely piece together what he’s saying; his ridiculously thick accent is plugging my ears with ‘blah, blah, blah’. I’m doing the nod and smile. I feel like an idiot – I pride myself on being able to understand accents quite well; well fail at life this time!

I’ve missed the strangest part of the flight though –they sprayed inside the cabin. These little cans, they obviously pulled something off them so they’d start going and then walked up and down the aisles with them. They said it’s the law before flying into India – to kill the bugs. Weirdest part – the spray smelled kind of good… Why wouldn’t other countries have this done too? Seemed questionable to me – especially because no one else had this happen on their flight in!?

When I got to Delhi the customs line was a million lines long, and yes the Irish man manages to be standing beside me in line, so I get to try to decipher what he’s saying for 40 minutes… Yippee! The people behind us were joking that the entire Middle East had just arrived to Delhi – long lines explained!

Things that have make me go hmmmm so far:

  • The motorcycles – driver may or may not be wearing helmet, they’ll have their son in front of them and their wife will be sitting with their legs to one side, not holding onto anything but the BABY on their lap! (BBM hands over eyes)
  • There are SO many street dogs – in Sharjah it was cats everywhere, here it’s dogs… Vern might need a friend?

Things I’ve learned so far:

  • The Indians here do not look like the Indians in Vancouver – at all! I knew that all (most) of the Indians in Vancouver were from the Punjab state, but I didn’t realize how different they were from the rest of India. The Sikh population is only a few percent – over 80 percent is Hindu, around 10 percent is Muslim and the rest are Christian, Sikh, etc.
  • The people in northeast India look Asian – they have flat noses and thin eyes, Mongolian features they say. This solved my query as to why there was (what I thought to be) an Asian waitress the other night who was speaking Hindi!
  • All public transit, auto rickshaws and taxis here run on CNG  – which means NO pollution. This came into affect a few years ago and has corrected their carbon footprint hugely; most cars have the option for either too!

Things I knew were coming:

  • Back sweat – it’s in full force! Two shirts are being worn – one to catch the sweat and one to make me look normal and unsweaty.
  • No shower curtains – water is all over the floor, everything in the bathroom is soaked!
  • Geckos crawling around – so tiny, so cute!

Yesterday we went and saw a few different tourist things, it was hot and sweaty and I felt gross the whole time, but well worth it! They were all pretty cool J

  1. Akshat Dham Temple: The largest Hindu temple in the world.
    1. It was finished only five years ago, after taking only five years to build!
    2. It is made of sandstone and white marble.
    3. It was built completely off donations!
    4. It was built completely by volunteers!
    5. India Gate: It was built to remember the India soldiers who were killed in WWI. India was not in WWI, but was under British rule then, and the British sent Indian soldiers to fight for them. (It reminded me of the Arch in Paris – the name has left me….)
    6. Dilli Haat: An open air market with handy-crafts. There are stands representing each of the states in India and different things they make there. The market changes every fifteen days, artisans get a stand for fifteen days and then a different one gets it for the next fifteen days. Lots of amazing stuff! More pashmina scarves than one would ever know what to do with!

I think I will leave you with that and let you get on with your day.

Image