I finally stepped on the street, and within 15 seconds I saw a tag with my name on it. That should be the driver. Very nice guy. But crazy driver. He always turned right on the left lane, and did all sorts of other tricks to gain one or two place ahead of other cars. I decided not to look directly to the front so that I don’t have to feel too scary, so I turned my eye sight to the side windows and try to enjoy my first impression of India. I found that I had not much to see. It was way too dark. The city had way too few light bulbs installed. Even the shops and restaurant which were opened were with just one or two very dim light bulb that kept people aware of their existence. I guess in return I should say Hong Kong people are too crazy about brighten up the city, so that’s why I feel the big contrast.
Then I was at the hotel lobby. I heard from my colleagues that it was a very old hotel. I also saw some photos in the Internet, and it was really old. But in front of me was a very newly renovated lobby with a very fancy bar and restaurant. At first I thought I was at the wrong place. Then I realized that if this hotel was newly renovated, it might be not too bad after all. While I was still guessing in my mind if their renovation work did or did not also cover the rooms (which was more important than the lobby to me), the lobby guy woke me up by saying that the hotel was in fact full already, and they would drive me to another hotel nearby!
Now finally I am at that “near-by 3-star” hotel, with no clean water, no real windows, no Internet and small beds. Luckily the room is bright and has no carpet, to me it is already a big plus because it is much cleaner than my expected standard. No matter what, I would check out tomorrow, and let me see if I could check in to a better hotel, or I have to stay at Thijs’ study room. I personally prefer the latter one but of course I don’t want to disturb his family with such a short notice.
I finally got my luggage, and matched towards the exit. Passport checking again. This time, the QC part played it role. This 3rd passport checking guy was interested at my luggage. Didn’t know why. Perhaps of shape or something. Perhaps it looked too full to him, so he asked me to take my luggage for x-ray scanning. Of course right on spot he discovered that I had 5 pieces of well-packed full package MP3 players inside. The first thing I said was that they were all “engineering sample for firmware programming work in Bangalore software center”. The x-ray guy didn’t buy that, because they looked too new and too well packed. To him they were all new finished goods, and frankly speaking they are. So he said I have to pay custom duty for that, and asked me how much did they worth. I said US$5 each. He said they should at least worth $50 each, and he was also correct. Gees, these people are really very hi-tech.
I decided to play the “dumb Chinese” mode, and keep saying that I didn’t know I didn’t know, and I even showed him my “project manager” business card to show that I was really taking those goods for product development purpose only. The guy called the other supervisor for help, and they insisted harder. I didn’t know what to do. At that critical moment, another Chinese guy came up with his bags and said that he wanted his passport back. The two guys suddenly switch their attentions towards this new victim, and decided not to spent time with me, and dramatically gave me back the passport and let me go.
I squeezed myself through the tunnel, I found myself in a very traditional looked Thai aircraft, all decorated with Thai’s colors and styles, to me it means it was quite old looking. Most of the flight attendants spoke Thai to me, perhaps because I was one of the few Chinese/Thai looking person out of all the Indian on board. I am not sure why they still have to ask around to check who is having Indian Vegetarian food. I thought it would be more efficient if they asked who was not taking the vegetarian food, and served us first.
Then, during the flight most of the time the Captain used Thai as the language in all his announcements. I tried to be attentive because I guess I was one of his few target audience on board.
Finally the aircraft reaches Bangalore. Bangalore Airport is a tiny little airport not much bigger than a normal bus terminal in Hong Kong. When I stepped out from the aircraft and went into the arrival hall, there were 4 counters (only) for immigration, and that’s it. And after the guy checking my passport and visa, there was another guy at the door way asked for my passport again. OK, I guess it was some kind of QC. I passed that door, and reach a tiny luggage belt, with a tiny currency exchange store and a tiny souvenir store right next to the belt. I could nearly see my aircraft sitting on the other side of the wall where the belt came out, and that’s how small the terminal was.
If I have to pick a day to resume my diary writing, today would be one of the best candidates for the recent months.
I shall start my story at Bangkok airport. It is not a huge airport, but it is long and thin. I walked for awhile and decided not to explore the airport because I was originally already at Gate 15, where I would board my flight to Bangalore, and if I walked to anywhere else, I practically had to walk the same way back to Gate 15, and that’s not my normal practice. So I decided to stay at the gate and read my book.
No so long after, there was an announcement saying that passenger with children may board first, and all other passengers should remain at their seat until their seat numbers is announced. As soon as this announcement was made, all passengers jumped up from their seats and rushed to the entrance. I wasn’t sure that was a Thai thing or an Indian thing, but I could feel that they were all very aggressive people, so I thought I better followed.