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June 25, 2007 | Filed under:

Bombay U turn

I'm just catching my breath at Mumbai International Airport. The flight from Sydney to Mumbai was long but uneventful. The fun started when I got here to Mumbai. I left the plane to find a place with no signs. I followed the crowd, managed to find my bag and get through customs.

The first friendly man (this story has many) then asked if I was from Qantas and where I was going. "To Trivandrum on Air India" I said. "Go in there" he said sending me into this place where you wait for a bus to another terminal. The bus came and I went to get on it and a very friendly lady told me I needed to head upstairs for Air India. Hmmm. OK. "Its easy" she said, "just get the elevator". I did so and found myself in a labyrinthine building site of airline offices. I wandered these for 10 minutes and eventually emerged in a departures terminal.

I queued for 10 mins at Air India and then a man helpfully showed me to the correct desk... Except it wasn't - it was Delta. So then the friendly lady at Delta got another friendly man to take me to the right pace. He had my bag scanned and then took me to the Air India desk. The man there told me I was inthe wrong place and I needed to go to the domestic terminal.

"How do I get there?"

"Oh, its easy"

I just needed to go downstairs again to the bus transit place and get the bus to the domestic terminal.

This I did as I listened to groovy Indian dance music as it monsooned with rain outside. Finally I got to the right terminal but non of the Air India desks were manned. I went to the Air India office and they told me there were no flights til tomorrow.

Hang on - here's my ticket. "Oh! You need to be over at the international terminal."

"But I've just been there and they sent me here!!! Grrr."

So I go back down to the transit bus to find a queue that I am told will be an hour and half before I get on the bus. Get a taxi I am advised.

So I step outside into the monsoon and a man with a big smile takes me to his taxi. A rickety black and yellow thing. He puts my case in the boot and the boot won't shut properly. I look concerned. It'll be OK he tells me! I get in the cab and so does his 'friend'. I look anxiously out the back window to make sure my case stays in the boot.

His 'friend' tells me it'll be 2100 rupees. What!? An argument about the price ensued because I didn't have enough... "Oh fine - just take me" and they 'kindly' took me to the ATM on the way... I was so ripped off.

We then drove through crazy traffic in crazy rain, beeping, spitting out the window, shouting obscenities. It was actually very comic.

Finally I got to the right place and after paying someone else to take me to the right place, here I am in the departure lounge waiting to get onto the plane.

Surprisingly, I've been quite light hearted about the whole thing even though its been a it confronting.

UPDATE: I told this story of the taxi to my buddy from Trivandrum, Jugs and he told me that it was only "by the grace of god that they didn't take everything" from me. 

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