The Grey Chronicles

2009.January.16

My Out-of-Country Experience


My visit to India was an eye-opener experience. Being my first-time to visit a foreign country; I savored all the good things I’ve got to see and experience and kept notes along the way.

NAIA Terminal 3 Lobby

NAIA Terminal 3 Lobby

It was also the first time that I was able to walk through Terminal 3 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport. I was amazed by the spacious galleries, the natural light and the aura of freshness. What I disliked was the manner in which outgoing passengers had to snake through Immigration. The wait was long, although there were several Immigration Officers’ stations, questions such as "When are you coming back?" seemed a shock as though I was planning to go to India and stay there. Little did these Immigration Officers knew that I did not have any intention of doing that!

Changi Terminal

Changi Terminal

Changi Airport looked like the forest came to the city. There was a Green Wall, indoor garden and an orchidarium. Instead of walking and towing one’s luggage through the long walk between terminals one can try the Travelator or the Skytrain.
Changi's Sky Train

Changi's Sky Train

In the lounge, the Terminal even had things for everyone: free access for internet addicts; smoking bar for smokers; PS3 gaming stations; wide-screen TVs [then covering the Beijing Olympics], 24-hour open shops selling chocolates, cellphones, perfumes; and sky hotels. Never knowing any better, we did not try sleeping in one of the sky hotels but let the night passed us by at the terminal lounge, where Airport Police tried waking us up about three times to check on our passports.

Mumbai Airport

Mumbai Airport

At Mumbai International Airport, however, chaos was the name of the game! Most of the signages were in Hindi and there were no visible English translations. Apparently, the airport terminal was still on expansion phase that we were led to a maze of alleys just to exit. In contrast to my sister’s observation in her visit to Hong Kong wherein she smelled the smell of money; outside Mumbai Airport, one is greeted by the putrid smell of sweat, rotting garbage and brown clay earth which stick to your shoes. On the horizon, you could see the rows of shanties protruding from the slums. Above, the sky was grey due to air pollution. And we forgot to change our dollars to rupees.

The next day, on our way to Nagpur, we were scheduled to fly Air India. Oh, the stewardess were older, the first time I saw stewardesses these old. Breakfast was served on white styrofoam trays and it smelled curry all around. Fortunately, there were English editions of newspapers to pass the time and the smell.

IndiGo Airplane

IndiGo Airplane

On our way back to Mumbai from Nagpur after three days in Kalmeshwar, having had the detour, instead of the scheduled Air India flight, we flew IndiGo Air. At least, the stewardesses were young, sexier and beautiful. I wish I took one home, even suggested to my boss to take his pick, too! The only problem, having no rupees with us, we were not have to eat snack, much less dinner on flight. I should have listened to my wife to bring with me some MagicFlakes! The plane took too long to land; it circled for about ten times because of air traffic. On the plane, one could see the black pockets of pollution hovering above the airport. Thus, as soon as we landed in Mumbai before 11 p.m., we changed some dollars into rupees, hoping we could spend some while in Alibaug.

Common Raven

Common Raven

The ride to Alibaug was long and reached Ravikiran hotel past 3 a.m. [IST] Went to bed without food. Then toured the Dolvi plant four hours later. Went back to the hotel after 2 p.m., and ate a delicious lunch. There was nowhere to buy something in Alibaug, though.

By four, we were back on the road for our 11 o’clock flight to Singapore. It was a sightseeing road trip. Argued whether it was a crow or a raven, we’ve seen along the road.

Karnala Fort

Karnala Fort

Relieved ourselves while Karnala Fort was watching us. We reached Mumbai during rush hour. Traffic was at a snail pace: what with people criss-crossing the highway and holy cows resting on the streets. Tried window shopping for souvenirs and the proprietor sensed that we were foreigners, somehow marked his prices up almost instantly. I did not buy anything, committing the tourist mistake of computing the selling prices in rupees to its equivalent in pesos.

Singapore's Changi Airport Terminal

Singapore's Changi Airport Terminal

The flight to Singapore was uneventful, except that I had the luck of trying out the mouton dish, which unfortunately was cooked Indian-style. I should have chosen the chicken instead. Even the dessert tasted bitter. Arriving at Singapore, we only had an hour before our flight to Manila. Unfamiliar with the Changi Terminal, I found B4 gate after running, hopping, and dashing from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3. No time to buy gifts for home. As soon as I reached the gate, they already close it behind me.

Reached NAIA, bought chocolates as presents at the Duty Free, only to find out latter that they cannot be liquidated as expenses. Next time, no more pasalubongs for all my friends! Anyway, gave all the rupees to my wife; having bought nothing with it—charged it as personal expenses.


Notes:

Disclaimer : The posts on this site are my own and doesn’t necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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7 Comments »

  1. You, whoever u r… must be a philipino(~yuck)… who u think u r? go and check ur arse before commenting on any of worlds cities or on any thing..

    Comment by amit paraskar — 2011.May.8 @ 21:34 | Reply

    • Thanks for your comment, anyway!
      The correct term is Filipino, not philipino(~yuck)!

      Comment by reyadel — 2011.May.18 @ 16:51 | Reply

  2. Well ! Dear Blogger. You should not be so offended with the comments you got, don’t gear yourself in defensive mode, rather you should take it as a good advice which will enhance your ability in understanding what people like to read. After all you wrote this for others to read. And besides I have been to Philippines, the International Airport there is wonderful no doubt but remembers that it is a private firm that owns the airport not the government. And as you know anything which is governed by the government lacks a lot. Accept the Airport manila is the copy of Mumbai city. Shanties and slum clusters are all over manila but that did not deter me from admiring the beauty of your country. No wonder Manila is a beautiful City specially Makati. I wish i could get the opportunities to assist you in finding dozens of Makati in Mumbai … cheers!

    Comment by Stranger — 2010.April.12 @ 07:06 | Reply

  3. I am sorry I read your blog – it ruined my Friday. I will tell you why….
    As a writer you fail to either notice or write good things. When you do attempt to do so, you reveal your sexist attitude “At least, the stewardesses were young, sexier and beautiful. I wish I took one home, even suggested to my boss to take his pick, too!” Why should stewardesses be young or beautiful? In my mind they have to be pleasant to their customers and be well trained in security procedures.
    A bit of unsolicitated advise in the hope you will take it and not ruin another random surfer’s Friday….
    When you travel you take in the good and forget the bad.
    If you really feel compelled to write about your travels I strongly recommend you read some travel books. Note how they mention the good and warn their audiences about the bad without being offensive.

    Comment by D — 2010.March.19 @ 16:22 | Reply

    • Sorry I ruined your day.

      I thought noticing that the stewardess was young, sexier and beautiful was noticing A GOOD THING, out of my travel misadventures! You took the phrase out of context declared it a sexist comment. The Grey Chronicles is NOT a travelogue nor it is a site where you could find nice places to visit or go to! Travel book authors do that foremost to sell their books and promoting the place to go to becomes secondary. I only wrote my personal experience during my travel and what happened to me and I am not promoting to visit this or that place!

      A bit of unsolicited advice: Kindly read the About page prior to giving advice. Purposely provided in the right-hand of each post under the heading: The Grey Pages are links so that readers like you could click away if they do not want to read the blog or the posts contained therein. Simple!

      Thanks for the visit!

      Comment by reyadel — 2010.March.19 @ 20:30 | Reply

  4. your blog is very negative and boring – you should just stay home

    Comment by sarah — 2010.March.5 @ 00:47 | Reply

    • That’s why I’m staying home and still blogging. At least, this particular post received one reader’s comment . . . YOURS! Thanks, anyway! Maybe you should read the other posts . . . or other blogs.

      Comment by reyadel — 2010.March.5 @ 07:04 | Reply


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