India Trip – Don’t Lose that Boarding Pass!

I took a few weeks off from my India trip blog, but before I forget.. this one is good and I’ll remember this for a long time!

When we were returning from Goa to Mumbai by Air.. this is an amusing (it wasn’t funny when it happened – trust me)…

I passed through security final security check point and my carry on bag was pulled aside for “questionable content”.. I had some small scissors in a case as part of my overnight stuff. Remember this is has been in my bag since we came to India and it was not flagged in ANY security check points neither in US nor on the flight TO Goa..

So I said to the security guy.. go ahead and take the scissors.. as I had forgotten that I even had them. They removed the offending item and I was on my way.. with my carry on bag.. Of course this is where the fun begins.

I met my daughter and we were getting some snacks pre-flight and I ask her whether she has my boarding pass and she of course says “NO dad.. you have your own pass!”. Of course I did not have it! I had left it behind at the security check point.. and in being flustered at the bag check.. I had left for the gate w/o the boarding pass.

We went to the gate and asked for a duplicate pass and of course.. the gate agent said “We cannot print  you a new pass, you will have to go BACK and get a new pass at the checkin gates”.. Panic sets in.. Keep in mind this airport is ultra modern with all the amenities you want except #IndigoAir cannot print boarding passes at their gates!

The agent tells me to go back to security check point and see if the boarding pass was pulled aside.. I race back to security and of course it’s not there.. The security officials send me to the customer security desk.. monitored by the military.. I go over to the security desk and explain to them my situation (and the officer was very very patient and helpful I must say)… he was aghast that the gate agent asked me to go back through security to get another duplicate from the check in gate agent at the front of the airport!

After I tell him my sad stupid mistake.. he asks me to go back to the gate and get the gate agent.. so I race back to the gate and ask the gate agent to come to the security desk.. so now we both go back to the security desk and she says again.. “Customer must get new boarding pass from check in desk at front of the airport”.. The army officer goes ballistic and says.. “No.. he is the customer.. you go to the front and get him a duplicate”.. After a few minutes of back and forth… the gate agent finally agrees to have a duplicate boarding pass sent back through security  gate.. so I can board my flight!

This wait was about 15 minutes.. whereas the gate agent said they would print the duplicate and be here in 2 to 5 minutes.. Well of course this was not the case.. So here I am sweating profusely at my stupidity for losing my boarding pass after security check.. as well a quite bit embarrassed. By this time my daughter is texting me as our boarding time is approaching for our flight to Mumbai is approaching…

Finally the Indigo Air customer service agent comes and gives me my duplicate boarding pass.. I snatch it and make a beeline to the gate. Can you guess what happens next???

My daughter and I are boarding at the gate and the gate agent (a new gate agent).. says “Sir you cannot board.. Your boarding pass is not security stamped!”.. So the gate agent tells me to “run back to security and get the boarding pass security stamped.. Let me lay out this scenario.. the distance from the gate to the security check point is at least 1/10 of a mile..

So now my daughter boards and I sprint back to the security check.. I ask the military official to stamp the boarding pass.. and he just looks at me in disbelief and and refuses to stamp my pass.. By this time.. I’m sweating profusely and my NY attitude is surfacing with multiple choice words about to be expounded by my vocabulary..

Luckily the security desk guy (again.. I must say this officer was totally amazing!).. sees my distress and comes over and tells the other guy to stamp the pass.. I guess he had rank.. so the security reluctantly stamps the boarding pass.. and I race back to the gate to board the flight finally!

Now lessons to be learned here:

  • Never ever assume that security in Indian Airports is consistent
  • Never ever let go of your boarding pass when you pass through security check in India.. Of course.. there is NO cellphone boarding passes.. so you are always dealing with paper!
  • Remain calm.. always say to yourself —> “This is India and you are wrong.. as they are just following their directions”.. this will absolutely nullify any anger and panic you are feeling
  • Security at Airports is very very tight… If you don’t pass through multiple security check points with the same information.. something is very very wrong.. The terrorism threat in India is taken very very seriously!
  • Stay Calm! After all you are the one at fault. even if what is the norm in America.. you cannot expect this level of normalcy in India.. even if technologically India has really surpassed America (i.e. Dual Sims Phone are the norm in India.. we don’t have ANY Dual sims phone in US!)
  • Remember that even though technology is superior in India.. they are still living in the paper world with process!
  • Always, Always, Always.. make sure your carry on bags don’t contain anything that may cause you grief.. Well how would  I know that my cuticle scissors that I’ve been taking everywhere would be flagged at this airport??

After I got on the plane.. I did a silent prayer and told my daughter of the whole episode.. She of course was laughing so hard that tears were coming out.. Well what more can you expect??

So my next post will talk about what happened with Air India on the way back to India. Again.. totally my fault.. but who knows what is can happen when in India..

India 2017- A Trip in Review

First in a series of posts on my Big fat Indian Wedding in India and random thoughts of my trip to India in December of 2016

In the last month of 2016, My daughter and I went to India for the first time in o
ver6 years. We went for an Indian wedding and to say we had the time of our lives would be an understament.

India
India 

To see India as a native is also an experience that was eye opening. There is no country that is more diverse and has sense of pride than India. This country is a super power and you see this everywhere!

As many of my readers know, my writing is infused with a sense of humor. Over the next few postings, I’ll convey to you my views on what I saw during my vacation in Mumbai, Goa, Pune and back to Mumbai. Many of my opinions will invoke responses (hopefully). Much of what I saw and my thoughts should be just considered my views and treated with the humor and realism, I try to inject into my postings.

When I go to India, I am a foreigner.

  • I’m what they refer to as an IBCD (Indian Born confused Desi (slang term for a person of Indian Origin)). This year when I went to India with my beautiful 24 year old daughter, I went with an open mind and went without the normal prejudices I bring to the table when I visit India.

My experience in India was amazing! The changes in the lifestyle of the people that call India home (regardless of whether they live there or are NRI’s like myself), has progressed tremendously.

Some ramblings to start:

  • Be prepared to walk – When you get off the plane, the huge rebuilt terminals are just that.. huge and spacious.. your walk from your plane to immigration and customs will be at least 10 to 20 minutes. The vastness of the international airport in India is a sight to behold. The same holds true for the aiport in Goa.  What you experience in these terminals is for another posting.
  • Your Dollar goes further – If you are coming from United States, you are already at an advantage as you are getting a favorable return on currency. One dollar equals $67 Rupees. This number might make you feel rich, but the fact is that even with this favorable returns on currency exchange, it is quite expensive to get around (be it by taxi or other mode of transportation).
  • Currency and De-Monitization: 2016 was the year of demonitization of the 500 and 1000 rupee note.. this made getting money via ATM, via currency exchange an adventure. Empty ATM machines and Limitations on how much you can exchange for currency for me was quite restrictive. At the airport, I could only exchange $40 for local currency!
  • Change Anyone? Make sure you have plenty of cash on hand and change. Due to de-monitization and the basics how things run in India.. Don’t expect to get change easily.. So everytime you get change for currency you are using for payments, treasure it. You will need it!
  • Rules of the Road: There are none.Forget the concept of normalacy and organized traffic patterns  when it comes to automotive traffic and travel. The law of the land is “If u are in a car, Look Forward only, and lane indications are just for sake of having them“.  Remember that when you cross the streets.. you need to always look “right-left-right” and if you are an NRI, for the first few days, you are always looking the wrong direction when crossing ANY street!
  • Traffic is a mess, but rarely do you see any car that has dents or has been damaged due to an accident. The patience and skills that drivers in India show is amazing.. I have to applaud the patience of every single driver that is in a car, motorcycle, scooter, bus, taxi, rickshaw… and any other vehicle that is on the road!
  • Technology in India is at par with what we see in the US. In certain thing we have been left in the dust. Can you get a dual Sim phone in the US for less than $80?
  • Travel is divided into multiple categories: Pedestrian, Car, Public Transport, or Taxi (can be rickshaw, or taxi). Yes there is even Uber in most cities in India!
  • Travel Light: You can literally go to India with a carry on and get everything you need within 24 hours! With Malls and markets readily available buying d Clothes is not a big deal.. be they Indian or western (for me that’s Jeans, shorts and short sleeves).. So my suggestion is pack light and leave lots of room for souvenirs and clothes that you MUST buy!
  • Family is family – For me I met I attended my first real “Big Fat Indian Wedding”. The size of my family is huge and to meet them in one fell swoop is not only overwhelming, it’s touching. Considering I have 17 first cousins and each of them have a few kids, the family in attendance at the wedding was huge!
  • Curb your apppetite – With India comes food. You get the best variety of food in the world. Be it vegetarian or non-vegetarian. If you are looking for beef you are out of luck! Cows are sacred in Hindu religion, so you will not get any beef (or at least I didn’t find any) in Mumbai). Friendly advice… if your stomach is weak, make sure you take enough meds to settle your stomach, otherwise you will be making constant trips to the bathroom.. Most of these will not be pleasant as you will be running there! I was lucky.. I only had only 24 hours of this unpleasantness, but the symptoms were around constantly!
  • Security – India is very secure. With all the threats of terrorism, you will see plenty of armed military from the time you land to the time you leave. You will not feel insecure when it comes to this. At times this is overwhelming, but you will see that this is absolutely necessary with the world we live in.

There is so much more that I can write about my trip. I’ll use the next few postings over the next few days to give you my spin on my trip. 

 

Goa Travels – March 2010 Highlights

Summary of my visit to Mangeshi

So Dad’s taxi escaped the heat of Goa yesterday… We cut short our trip in Goa, as it became quite apparent that the heat would get the best of us (Me specifically).  We spent our last full day in Goa at the beach (I think it was Tito’s Beach).. Near Arpora.

Highlights of Goa:

  • Heat is unbearable, unless you like to deep fry on the beaches and while you tour
  • Goan Food/Seafood (fish, prawns, calamari, crab) is to die for.. You will not find such delicious food/seafood anywhere else in the world. Goan spices make the seafood just a treat!
  • When you order food, make sure u know what you are odering.. Pancakes can turn into crepes very easily.
  • When you order any “masala” dish, make sure you order Mild, unless you want to pay for it later.. we won’t go here.
  • Shopping Nirvana.. There is no such thing as a fix price. Everything is negotiated down from the asking price.
  • Go to the local market and learn the skill of haggling for a few rupees.. My best method: “Shake your head, and walk away”.
  • Look for Bargains and carry a calculator, you will easily pay more if you don’t know what is the value in your local currency!
  • Roads are narrow, and taxis are expensive! With the generous conversion rate from $ to Rupee, you still come out ahead.
  • Do not go to Goa in Summer.
  • The Goanese people are very friendly and helpful. Friendliest people you could ever meet. They are soo happy…
  • You must rent a scooter if you are staying at a resort. I didn’t do it as I was with my family and none of them wanted to ride with me.. hmm.. probably with my history of accidents on 2 and 3 wheeled vehicles gave them just cause. 🙂
  • Be prepared to spend lots and lots of money..
  • If you are looking to buy a summer house, Goa is the place for you.. with construction going on.. you can pick and choose where you want to buy.. Be prepared to pay thru the nose….
  • European and Foreign Tourism is putting a lot of money into Goa.. Many foreigners now call Goa their 12 month home.

Overall, my trip to Goa was great. Incredible scenery.. Beaches, Food, Shopping, and great fun to be had.  My next trip will be during a cooler time, so I can visit some more churches and temples…

I will always consider to be one of my favorite places.. My special attachment to Mangeshi is the clincher for my reason as to  why I will come again and again to Goa!

My next posting will be about Pune.. Another one of my favorite cities..

Goa – week of March 18, 2010

Goa vacation in March of 2010 for Dad’s Taxi,

So Dad’s Taxi has been in Alpora Goa for a few days now and only a few words words can describe my stay here thus far… Sticky, Hot, Humid, and just overall very difficult. Even if I took a shower 2 to 3 times a day, I’d still be bathed in sweat as soon as I stepped outside my air condititioned Suite

The Royal Goan Resort is ok.. Nothing outstanding… The most memorable thing is paying for all the utilities during my stay and the huge walk up hill that takes your breath away whenever you have to go back to our room… Don’t look forward to that now either while carrying my laptop! 😦

Goa is truly a tourist trap.. I have not been here for 20 years and no way I could recognize the Goa that I knew to what it is today. Today’s Goa is fast roads and cars and new construction everywhere for vacation properties that are being snatched up by everyone. If you got the cash and can stand the sloooow pace, this is the place for you.

The natives are really nice, even as they over charge you for the taxi rides. Rides that should cost 5 to 10 rupees cost 50 to 100 Rupees. God bless the all mighty dollar for the conversion rate.

Today we went to Mangeshi. This is the town where my Mom was born and raised and during my childhood, I always considered to be my second home. The Mangeshi Temple today is a  mecca for the tourists and visitors to Goa. To me it is still home.. Today when I visited the temple and the place where I spent many a summer vacation, I felt the pangs of recognition and the emotions raced through my mind as thoughts and images of my late mother  flashed through my memories.. I had to hold back many a tear as the pangs of these memories at times were overwhelming for me.

Seeing my Uncle and his family also was a joy.. So much has changed in 20 years.. I promised to myself that I would not wait another 20 years before I visit Mangeshi again.. Next time I will stay at my uncle’s house as this is truly where I belong..

In Old Goa we saw the Basilica of Bom Jesus (A world Heritiage Site). I felt at peace when I saw this shrine  for St. Xavier. I could have spent the whole day in this church and listened to the tour guides for this site. If in Goa, you must visit this site!

As I sit under this roaring fan, I’m still sweating profusely and I realize that I could go on and on about the beauty of Goa.. To see Goa is to really appreciate it. We are staying in a European tourist ridden area named Aspora by the Portugese, and this is a beach town!

The variety of Sea food in this area is just beyond belief!

Where we are staying is great, but the biggest annoyance is carrying my laptop down to the registration area for Wi-Fi Access. Don’t know why this is the case that Wi-Fi is only in this small area, but there must be a business reason behind it.. I just don’t think it’s convenient to the guests. I took down 2 stars for this nuisance.. My teenage daughter does not seem to mind as she’s been uploading our trip pictures to her Facebook account and keeping in touch with her friends in the US.

As I take prepare for the trek up the hill to my room, let me leave with this thought.. Goa is a beauty of a place to visit. You should absolutely put it on your list of cities in India that you must see!

Oki! Now back to my kike up the huge slope to our room..

Dad’s Taxi – Sweating it out in Goa!