Bangalore street shots, Sep 16, 2011, a set on Flickr.
How i got to Bangalore in spite of Hurricane Irene…
Greetings from Bangalore! Can’t believe I’ve let so many weeks go by without posting something here. But then again its been an eventful few weeks. Left Jamaica on Aug 27 heading for New York and then Bangalore. Instead Irene re-arranged my trip and i found myself twiddling my toes in Miami for two whole days. Fortunately was rescued by my good friend Pat Saunders of Miami University. When I left Jamaica American Airlines couldn’t tell me when they could get me to New York because no one had a clue when the airports would reopen there. Fortunately I had plenty of leeway as I had planned to spend several days in Long Island with my favourite aunt before boarding my Emirates flight to Bangalore.
Still when i got to Miami I decided I wasn’t leaving the airport till I had been given a seat–some seat, any seat–on a flight to New York, so i joined a very long line at the AA counter and ignored employees who assured me that I could leave and re-organize my booking by phone instead of waiting in the long line now. Let me tell you that was a wise move on my part because an hour or so later I was given a standby seat on one of the first flights to NY two days later. Also a cursory check with AA’s twitter feed informed me that people were holding on the phone for hours to talk to agents and rebook flights. i mean 3-4 hours, no joke!
It didn’t hurt that I had a first class ticket. No, I’m not rich but i was using my miles, AA has a generous system that allows you to accumulate ‘miles’ or points that can then be exchanged for actual tickets, incl first class ones and every now and then I use that option. Well this was a very good time to have done so because when i returned to the airport for the standby flight two days later i got on without a problem, being No. 5 in a list of 60 on standby! and i still got to travel first class!
Interestingly, befuddled from lack of sleep and general anxiety (why does that wretched Miami Shuttle have to pick you up a whole hour before its necessary to get you to the airport by a particular time? especially when i was the only passenger!) i had first joined a 3-400 strong crowd waiting for the general check-in counter to open at 4 am. As the time approached the crowd swelled and tempers frayed but the AA staff remained courteous, sympathetic and helpful. And this was before i woke up and realized i was in the wrong line…I was truly impressed by their civility and decency.
So i finally arrived in a wet and bedraggled New York, only to find that my aunt and uncle whose home is normally a beacon of all mod cons, had no power for the next two days, which meant no phone or internet as well. On top of that they were busy scooping water out of their basement–the whole thing seemed slightly surreal. This was New York?!
Anyway, a couple of days of making my ritual contribution to various business establishments followed (also known as shopping) after which i boarded my Emirates flight for Bangalore on the 1st. And let me tell you Emirates treats its economy class passengers like business class. EVERYone gets a hot towel, EVERYone gets a cute little bag with a toothbrush, socks and a mask and menus with three meal options. The Dubai to Bangalore leg served the most delectable fish biryani I’ve ever eaten.
So I arrived in Bangalore in time to take in dear Usain’s latest exploits, and although he missed the 100m a new star was born, Yohan Blake, and how magnificently Bolt ran the 200m and the 4×100! So what if the two of them weren’t standing rigidly at attention during the national anthem. Lighten up folks! Truly large nations don’t get their knickers in a knot about things like this! In fact its a sign of the opposite. In the meantime check out this Puma ad featuring Jamaica and India.