The luggage scale died just before I finished transferring things between bags so that everything was 50-50(lbs). It refused to be resuscitated.
It was difficult to say goodbye to QE, esp. since her husband is out of town. If only I'd known, I could have stayed another week....
It was Suresh-the-driver's first trip to the sparking new Bangalore airport. We left at 8:15 PM. The route was not well-marked. He found it on his first try. I was through the doors by 9:30.
The luggage got through. The boarding passes were issued. The seat was in back, which did not please us, but at least it was on the aisle.
There was a Cafe Coffee Day and some other vendors downstairs, just after check-in. I ignored them and went up the shiny new escalator to security. The line for ladies was shorter. The computer had to be taken out of the suitcase. The cell phone and liquid items did not. We were frisked by an officer of our own gender. Finally,they hand-checked our carry-on bags.
Once through security, the pickings were slim, although the AC was on high. The only bottled water was Rs 90 or $2, at the Illy Coffee spot. There was also a Pizza Hut, a sports bar and some high-end shopping. Nowhere to buy chai. So I sat at illy and had a croissant, water and hot chocolate for Rs. 300 ($7). It was worth every paisa, because they left you alone to sit and reflect (and also were quite pleased with the dress and attempts to speak Kannada). Plus they let me consume the home-made pizza QE sent with me. Sadly, the airport's free internet was not working.
The flight was at 1AM and uneventful. We arrived in Mumai at 2:30. We went through security again, and again the line for ladies was shorter.
The connecting flight to Germany didn't leave until 8. What to do? A man offered to guide me to a first-class lounge, where I could shower and nap and eat snacks with the best of them -- all for the low low price of Rs 2000 (around $50). I declined, and instead bought two bottles of overpriced Bisleri water (Rs 80, or just under $2) and four hours of internet (Rs 500, or just under $12). The next few hours were spent posting the Bangalore traffic photos.
The flight to Frankfurt was not full - at least in the back of the plane - and one had two seats to herself. Sleep was possible. And as always the food was excellent.
After landing in Frankfurt at 12PM, the luggage was collected and a cappuccino was consumed, along with a sour cherry pastry and kasse (cheese) sandwich.
A train ticket to Nurnberg was purchased. Second class, I said to the ticket agent, not first.
"Weak dollar," I explained.
"It will improve," she said.
"First we must change presidents," I said, and we both laughed.
While waiting for the train, I met a Catholic priest from Kerala, whose flock is in Delhi. He thought I was German.
The train ride was quiet and efficient.
For the first time in two months, I looked like everyone else in the immediate vicinity. No one stared, despite the bright Indian dress and disheveled hair.
Most people on the train wore black or gray, and were involved with their books or computers. They were all in their heads, and it was utterly quiet.
It was quite unlike the lively, crowded second class trains in India, where everyone talks to each other and lives in the moment.
I miss it already.
* * *
It was cold and rainy outside of the Nurnberg train station, so I went inside and bought a cap so I wouldn't catch cold. Then Bob arrived, and took me to he and Vicki's lovely Erlangen flat.