OTN Yathra 2014 : The Journey Begins

It’s been a really tough lead up to this tour. I’ve already blogged about the panic over my visa and flights. Since that post my flights were cancelled, switched to some different flights, then switched back again. I only got the final confirmation on the Thursday night before leaving on the Sunday.

What with that and me stressing out about some stuff going on at work at the moment, I felt like cancelling so I could lock myself in my house for 2 weeks and not speak to anyone. I’m in definite need of a holiday!

Today started off with a last-minute shop for a new suitcase. I had forgotten mine was broken, so I rushed out and bought the first thing I saw. I got home, packed, then got a banging headache. I had a couple of hours before my taxi, so I went to bed to try and sleep it off.

The first flight was from Birmingham to Dubai at 20:30. Nothing too eventful there. I finally got to see “Gravity”, which was nice to look at, but not totally awe-inspiring like the trailers would have you believe. Unfortunately, no sleep during this flight.

After a 2 hour wait at Dubai, it was on to a 2 hour, plus change, flight to Delhi. I did a little bit of head-flopping during this flight, but nothing I would consider sleep.

It was my first time at Delhi airport, which feels spacious, bright and really clean. One of my flight combinations would have had me sitting there for 16 hours. I wouldn’t have fancied that, but spending a couple of hours there was fine. India does the “first port of entry” thing, so I had to get my bags, go through customs and check in for the internal flight. After a two hour wait at Delhi, it was a 1 hour flight to Amritsar. During the flight I asked the young man next to me about our destination. As we left the flight he was mobbed by admirers wanting photos with him. I said, “It seems you are really famous”, to which he replied, “I play cricket for India”. It turns out it was Harbhajan Singh. :)

It was a 2+ hour cab ride from Amritsar airport to Jalandhar. This was my first experience of driving in India. OMG! Lanes are irrelevant. The direction of the road is irrelevant. We were literally driving along a dual carriage way with cars and motorbikes coming towards us in our lane. All those photos you see of crazy things on the streets around the world are every day occurrences here. Multiple people on a single motorbike, including people holding children in bags etc. Few of the cars or lorries had working rear lights, so driving in the dark was an experience. Somehow, I managed to get to the hotel in one piece, but I think we did get hit by someone. The driver got out to check the back of the car, then carried on…

So that was about 16+ hours in transit after a full day in the UK. I’ve really got to learn how to sleep on these flights. The overnight things are killers…

Cheers

Tim…