My bags packed, I have a couple of months supply of anti-malarials, my boosters are up to date, Yellow Fever, Hep A/B, Rabies etc…, it’s time to make the trip of a lifetime!
After a long haul flight, I find myself both tired and excited as I touched down in Mumbai at the initial stop over on my business trip to Hinjewadi (Pune). No matter how I try, I’m incapable of sleeping on a plane!
This is my first trip to India, and so I didn’t know what to expect when we hit the tarmac at Mumbai international airport, but one thing’s for sure, the unmistakable pungent aroma of fermentation as I make my way from the plane through airport security.
Seasoned travellers will know that every airport have their security procedures, what I found unusual is that your bags are X-Rayed a second time to be able to leave the airport. Finally I’m accosted by someone appearing to sell me something, but it turned out he wanted to see my passport and immigration papers. Ok, I’m tired and been awake for nearly 20 hours and long overdue some sleep 🙂
I’m making my way to the airport exit, where I’m greeted with many warning signs advising travellers to be safe and only use pre-booked taxi’s.
I emerge from the airport, it’s warm, dark, 30 degrees, quite humid and met with the strong smell of Ammonia as I enter the square, which is made of metal low barrier fences with drivers and name boards, eagerly awaiting their fares.
I pace around the square and can not find my driver. Someone realises I look lost and tries to direct me to their auto rickshaw. I politely decline and continue to look, until eventually, my driver identifies himself. After a short drive we get to the hotel, where I wasn’t expecting another full security sweep Military Stylee! A polite Namaste greeting from your interrogators before mirrors sweep underneath the car with boot and all doors opened and searched, sniffer dogs checking for presumably drugs and explosives make an appearance and then you’re free to go and greeted by…. Yet another metal detector and X-Ray machine. My baggage is checked, re-checked before being let through.
The hotel receptionist meets me with a smile (a few Namaste’s later) she immediately escorts me straight to my room, completes the paper work and leaves allowing me to finally freshen up and get something to eat. It’s now 3am Mumbai time and I have to be up in 3 hours to get ready for the next part of my journey.
At this point, I bid you all a good night and will update my blog with the sights and experiences I encounter in India 😀