Monday, July 9, 2012

One Door Closed...

I know you want read about EVERY. SINGLE. BIT. of my journey, so I'll start at the very beginning of the day I left NYC.

Oh, only my mother requires that kind of detail? Well, then I'll write this for her and for posterity and you should feel free to skim. Just know - there will be a quiz at the end of this posting, and if you don't pass you'll probably lose my love forever. But really, feel free to skim.

Actually, let's start the night before. My last night in the US was July 4th. Fitting right? I spent the evening with some of my closest friends on a roof top in Brooklyn, watching all four of the Macy's fire work displays explode simultaneously over the gorgeous Manhattan skyline.  If you haven't yet read the posting in which I explained why I haven't been crying, you really can go ahead and skip that one.  Despite my personal waterworks, it was a perfect send off.

When I got in bed that night I made myself a play-by-play, down to the minute schedule for the next day. This is something I do. It's both intensely anal retentive and nerdy, but also spectacularly satisfying and effective. You may laugh, but someday you're going to try it, and then you'll have to call me to apologize.

A combination of nerves and excitement woke me up early, so I used the extra time to take one final walk around Brooklyn, drink a veggie smoothie (I had a pretty good feeling that I wouldn't be able to order green smoothies here in Bangalore) and chat on the phone with my parents. I had my heart set on taking a yoga class before I left for the airport to help me stay mellow during what was sure to be a very, very long day(s). As luck would have it, there is a small yoga studio around the corner from my friends' apartment and I was one of only FOUR people in the entire 90 minute class. This has NEVER happened to me before in NYC.  I've been one of 50, maybe even one of 100..but never four.  I took this as a farewell gift from the God of Brooklyn Hipsters.

Sometime around the 85th minute of my class, I realized that in all my organizing, scheduling and planning, I'd completely forgotten to ask Tal for our address in Bangalore. So... I could get myself to Newark Airport, I could get myself to Frankfurt Airport, I could get myself to Bangalore Airport and I could get myself to the giant complex/gated community in which we'd rented an apartment, but after all that I'd be faced with knocking on thousands of doors until I found the right one. Obviously I had to call Tal (it was the middle of the night in India). I called four times. Needless to say he was not as happy to hear from me as he usually is.

With an address in hand, I waited outside for the car service to pick me up. The car was on time, which really is a miracle. However, when I got in and double checked the price with the driver (I'd priced out all the local companies before scheduling an appointment) he quoted me a completely different, way higher price. When he called into headquarters to check, I invited myself to be part of his conversation with the dispatcher. Despite my obvious advantage of elementary level Spanish, and the incredibly clear connection from my spot in the backseat, I did not win that argument.  Starting my day -$15 was NOT on my schedule.

My first stop was to pick up my impossibly heavy luggage from the lobby of a friend's building in Manhattan. Why were my luggage and I staying in separate apartments you ask? Earlier in the week I'd remarked that it "weighed too much" and it took offense.

So anyway, I picked up my luggage,  got back in the over priced car and was on my way to Newark. At Newark I took a quarter out of my purse to get a cart for my luggage. Turns out they raised the rental price to $5. But since my 3 bags weighed more than I do, it was necessary.

Poor girl, she has no idea what's coming.

The check-in line went quickly, and within minutes I was at the counter. I had not concerned myself with the cost/weight of my extra baggage because Tal had not had any problems. If this were Saved By the Bell, this is where the scene would freeze and Zack Morris would pan front and say, "WAIT. YOU SERIOUSLY DIDN'T LOOK INTO THE WEIGHT ALLOWANCES AND EXTRA BAGGAGE COSTS FOR YOUR FLIGHT, EVEN THOUGH YOU WERE FLYING A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT AIRLINE?" Smug bastard.  No. I didn't. So when the attendant informed me that my extra baggage cost would be over $400, I nearly threw up. Really.  But... and this is a nice. darn. but. The cost to upgrade to first class, which allows three bags of any weight, was almost exactly the same cost. 

Ooooooooh Yeaaaaa.

Still. My unexpected expenses for the day were now: -$15 + -$489

Ah well. At least when I returned my cart, I'd get my five bucks back, and that would feel AWESOME.

Right. They don't give you your money back when you return the cart. 

-$15+ -$489 + -$5

I got to my gate in record time, thanks to my new high roller status.  Boarding was scheduled for 6:40pm. 6:40 went by. Then 7. 8. 8:30.. around then I started to get super hungry and was forced to purchase an overpriced snack.

-$15+ -$489 + -$5 + -$6

We finally boarded around 9pm.  The flight was spectacular. First class really is that. much. better.  They gave me REAL silverware/china and tiny salt and pepper shakers with my four course meal! The best part though was that my chair reclined into a bed, so I was able to sleep all the way to Germany. Actually, the best part was the mini shakers, they were freakin' cool.

I was supposed to have a  three hour layover in Germany. But by the timed we pulled up to our gate and the doors opened, I had 20 minutes until my next plane boarded.

When you picture me sprinting through the Frankfurt airport, please do me the kindness of imagining a graceful Kenyan athlete.  

What I actually looked like. Only, more awkward.
But I made it to my gate with four minutes to spare. EXACTLY as much time as I needed to talk the attendant into upgrading me a second time, since they made me pay so much for the first flight.

Ooooooh yeaaa.

We boarded right on schedule, and then proceeded to taxi for two hours.

At 3am two days after I'd left NYC, I finally landed in Bangalore.  I cleared customs without any snags, and my luggage was some of the first to land on the carousel.  When I arrived in the lobby with all of my things, I saw a million drivers with signs, but none said my name. I was nervous that he'd given up on me since my flight was so delayed. 

But then, waaaaay behind all of the drivers, I saw a head bopping up and down. Up and down. Then there were waving hands in the equation. Bopping and waving. Tal had come to pick me up himself.

My total for the day, including the cost of my flights, was in the range of $2,000. But finally arriving in Bangalore, and being reunited with my Tal? 


Quiz: You thought I'd forget didn't you? Awww, I'm just messing with you. If you're reading my blog at all, you have my undying devotion.


  1. Nice move, upgrading yourself AND your bags! And high-five to Tal for coming to the airport.

  2. Nice post! I laughed out loud (oh yeah, and at work) about the Zack Morris freeze frame. love it! Glad you got there safe.

  3. Thanks team 'not-blood-siblings-but-better'!!