Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sunrise to Sunset and Then Some

I couldn't post while on the plane, obviously, so I'll revisit that experience just a moment here, before I dive into India.  

I've always enjoyed flying, but instead of getting more and more comfortable with it, it seems like I get more and more nervous these days...oh, not about flying itself, or crashes or that sort of thing, but about lost luggage and delays and bureaucratic issues.  Maybe it's just having more luggage, a tighter schedule, and more expensive tickets the older I get...I mean, it's hard to get worked up about a Ryanair flight that just cost three euro, carry on luggage only, and if it all goes wrong, you can always just take the train...

Anyways, I guess it was left over nerves from waiting until the last minute for my visa, but I kept expecting something to go wrong; some missed connection, something...but everything went like clockwork.  The only minor annoyance was that they charge 8 yuan for a bottle of tea in the Chengdu airport, which is highway robbery.  Oh, well.  I'd sure pay 8 yuan for one now; why isn't bottled iced tea available everywhere?  It always makes me appreciate China to travel elsewhere, and that's the thing I often miss the most--the bottled drinks are better in China than anywhere else (yes, including the U.S.).  Mango juice, peach juice, various teas, other fruit juices, plus all the normal stuff like Coke and Sprite. I've had a heart burn all day from drinking Pepsi.  I finally found a bottle of apple juice just now...I hope I can find more.  

Anyways, whining digression aside, the flight:  I flew out of Beijing at 8 AM, changed planes in Shanghai with an almost seven hour layover (but I much prefer long layovers to short ones; I hate being rushed)...another digression--I'd rather have spent the layover in the Beijing airport than the Shanghai one; the Shanghai one mostly has overpriced, overly fancy food, when I really just wanted something normal...okay, where was I?  Oh, yes.  Flight out of Shanghai at 4:55 PM, to Chengdu.  Now, it was the same plane from Shanghai to Mumbai, but even if we were going on, we still had to get off at Chengdu and walk through the customs thing and then get back on.  Anyhow, left Chengdu at some time or other (I'd lost track by then, and it's not on the  ticket since, officially, we were just "continuing" the flight) and arrived in Mumbai at 1 AM.  Despite the late hour, the airport was hopping; this is one of those cities that never sleeps.  

I found an ATM, and the taxi stand, and made my way to the Windsor Hotel (hostel).  The pillow is ridiculously small, and the showers are cold, but I'm overjoyed to have a mattress that doesn't feel like a piece of wood with a sheet on it (which is how the Chinese like it).  I might have mentioned all that in my last post, but I'm too lazy to go look right now.  Anyways, Mumbai.  I like it.  

As for the photos:  the first is the sunrise over a neighboring airplane as we boarded in Beijing; the second is the sunset as we took off from Chengdu.  


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