An Intro to India (and a little Bangkok)

I woke up this morning after what should have been a good night’s sleep and wasn’t. Dad phoned me with the plane ticket information I needed (thanks!) at midnight (no-thanks, but I needed the info) and then Ibrayma phoned me at one in the morning. I never even have that phone on, so he must have tried to phone me a lot in the past 10 months to get me the first night I have my US phone on. But I was so tired that I’m still not sure what he said. French is hard enough when you are fully rested. But after a 12 hour cramped Cambodian bus ride with screaming children and smelly boy-men, wandering around Bangkok for an hour, and, remember it being one in the morning, being woken up from the dead of much-needed sleep it is near impossible to comprehend. At the end I remember some form of the verb “dormir” and then the end of the phone call. I think Ibou realized that I was too asleep to understand anything. I had to check in my call log in the morning to make sure he actually phoned…I thought it was a dream!

I was taken to the airport before the sun was up. In that dark gray pre-pre-dawn mood with rain pattering on the windshield. I lugged my bags full of all my earthly belongings from Cambodia into the Bangkok airport and stood for no small amount of time in front of the Departures screen. Searching searching searching for my flight so that I would know which line of the many lines of counters to walk down to check in. Searching searching…wait…did the Indian looking guy next to me just say my flight number? Is he pointing? Where is he pointing? Why do the columns on the board keep changing?…for Vishnu’s sake BKK, just get a bigger board! Okay, now he is looking at me because I’m pretending to be a part of his family so that I can hear. Apparently I look suspicious being a blue-eyed brunette with white skin encroaching on a large Indian family at the Thai airport. Quick Jojo! Make a joke! “Flight 854! Man! I’ve been staring at this board forever trying to find it!” Now smile. And back away quickly before they think you need to go into a mental institution.

Up to the counter, give passport, drop off bags, take boarding pass, away from the counter. Up to the counter, exchange currencies, away from the counter. Up to the counter, give passport, away from the counter. Up to the belt, remove computer, walk through fun walless-beeping-door…oops, it isn’t supposed to beep…back up, remove shoes, back through the walless-unbeeping-door, collect shoes and move on. COFFEE. COFFEE. Crap, no money for more coffee. Why are the Arab guys smiling at me? Come on Abu-Dabi-type boys!!! Are you seriously hitting on me?! What do you expect to get out of a 5-minute conversation in the Bangkok airport? Ugh…men are the same EVERYWHERE!!! Up to the counter, give passport, away from the counter. Up to the counter, give passport, away from the counter. Up to the door, give boarding pass (at least it wasn’t the passport again), board plane!…then sit in plane because it takes off late. Sadness!

The plane ride is 4 hours. I sit next to a large Indian family who are very nice. But the Indian guys behind me are just as bad as those Arab boys in the airport. SEE!!!…men ARE the same everywhere! This was the first time I have ever been asked the question, “Would you like the regular or non-vegetarian breakfast?” Umm…I’ll just go with it. Mmm…omelet with chicken. Sorry nice vegetarian Indian ladies sitting next to me. I realize it smells like flesh in here. To be completely honest, the vegetarian breakfast looked better than mine and I regret my decision to consume meat.

Yay!!! New Delhi! Of course, it takes 5 extra minutes to pull in because there is a plane in our terminal. Then they don’t have the forms…7, and I mean 7, tables for form filling and not one form. So we wait for forms… Damnit, there are those guys from the plane. And how did the Arab guys get to Delhi? = JOKE! I mean joking about the Arab guys. The other guys were actually there. Okay, think Jojo. They all have shades and jewelry and popular clothes. Obviously trying to look really cool. Plan: talk to the very religiously dressed 20-something (I think he is Sikh). Get them all confused about why you would choose him over them. Score!! It worked. Finally the forms come. Then out to baggage claim. Now where are the bags?!! Wow. That took forever.

Out of the airport in search of a cheap way to an expensive hotel. Not easy, let me tell you. Prepare to be charged extra when they find out your going someplace fancy. Wait, there is a guy with my name on a sign under the name of my hotel? I didn’t know I was being picked up! YAY!!! No taxi fee. No haggling. Into the hotel where they actually let me check in without my mother’s credit card and travel agent id. And OH MY GOD!!! => Did that man just say that the café is open 24 hours?! I love this country.

Now, how do I turn down the air-con in my room because I am freezing?! I had to put on socks and a jacket for the first time in 10 months…and it is 100 degrees outside! It is like a bad game of hide and seek. If you don’t find the remote then you’ll freeze to death in one of the hottest places in the world. …I’m fading fast… ….so …..ca…ca…cold…….

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