This post starts with me sitting in the Bus to the Bangalore Airport for a 13 day solo trip to the faraway magical land of Europe.
Given my exceptional luck with getting past Airport security**, I decided to take every caution known to human kind – I read TSA manuals, Flyer terms and conditions, booked a direct flight to destination, took a print out of the ticket, took six different forms of identification, invited two of my friends to help me pack and double check. How much more can a person do, eh?
There are three gates to Heaven (literally) usually – check-in, immigration and boarding. First stop – Check-in. It was a breeze. Well, I had to stand in a long queue and could only get a middle seat and had to wait for another 10 minutes while the guy in the next counter checked for an available aisle or window seat. But I didn’t get bumped off so I wasn’t complaining. After all, Lazy people who don’t check-in online don’t get to complain.
Next stop – Immigration line. Do you have that creepy uncle at family functions who likes to ask really personal questions and offer unsolicited advice with a smile so patronizing that make your insides want to come out and die? That’s who I needed to get to stamp my Passport. The questions started off well. He saw that my Passport was from Chennai and started asking questions in Tamil.
Him: What is the reason for travelling?
Me: I am going on a vacation
Him: Who are you going with?
Me: Its just me
Him: Do you have any of your friends there?
Me: Not really, no. (Hands fumbling in my bag for my hostel reservations already)
(At this point I am thinking that he thinks that I am going for business on a tourist Visa)
Me: You can look at my reservation and itinerary.
Him: Go to talk to my boss.
Me: Whaaaa? Fine!
His supervisor was very professional and asked some questions about work and signed some sheet which I was supposed to bring back to the counter with the creepy Uncle.
Him: You are lucky that my Boss is in a good mood today. We don’t usually approve for women tourists to travel by themselves. You are going to Paris too. Do you know how unsafe it is? You should not be going like this. All these are “Bad Desires”. Don’t dare to do this again? It is us that will be bothered if something happens. Women shouldn’t do this.
Anyway, I am through the gates hoping to never meet that asshole again. So, I bought a matrix sim card, pinged friends and family and went to find a charging station with a comfortable seat. After half and hour of roaming, I found one! It had two not one charging point and a very comfortable tall stool and table. Luck mode – ON.
I usually judge people who start standing in the boarding queue 5 minutes before boarding time. Special days call for shameless obnoxiousness, So there I was near the front of the line. The last gate before I start my dream trip. At some point, boarding actually started and the line started moving. Each person went got a hello, scanned their boarding passes, got a green light and the nice beep from the scanner and moved on. One by one like clock work. It was my turn. I got a hello and scanned my pass. Beeeeep it went. The ugly beep and a red light. Luck mode – OFF.
The two guys at the gate started scrambling trying to figure out why. In my head, I was sure it was because of the safety pins in my checked-in baggage (Don’t ask me why I would ever think that. I just did! Panicked me isn’t very smart). Well turns out, the ugly beep was because greedy me had asked for a window or an aisle seat change and ‘luckily’ one had become available. The gate guy wrote down my new seat number and said I was cool to go and I raced down to the flight as non-terrorist-y as I could.
“Welcome aboard Air France”. The sweetest words ever said.
** I got stranded in the Airport once for carrying a pepper spray (14 hours in Hong Kong) and once for carrying a power bank (8 hours in Bangalore).