So, as many of you already know, I’m in India this week to work with my company’s Bangalore team. It’s my first international travel experience, so I had – and since today’s my first day in the office, still have – no idea what to expect from the week. Nonetheless, here’s a quick list of first impressions in (roughly) chronological order:
- That’s a long time to spend on a plane.
- Flying business class is a big improvement over coach and essential for long flights, I think.
- The boarding “process” in Frankfurt (my connecting flight) was a complete gagglef***.
- I need to figure out how to sleep on planes.
- The culinary options on flights aren’t so bad. I was well-fed and most of it was really pretty good.
- The aesthetics of the airport in Frankfurt look frighteningly similar to those of an IKEA store.
- I was less impressed with Lufthansa than I expected. My United flight out of Dulles offered better service than did Lufthansa.
- I couldn’t use my laptop on the flight from Frankfurt to Bangalore (the Lufthansa flight). The power plug was there, but I couldn’t maintain a connection for more than a minute before I’d lose juice and switch over to battery. That sucked. I had planned to get some work done.
- Deboarding in India was a breeze. They did a really nice job of getting us through everything very quickly.
- My hotel room has two single beds. I’m traveling alone, so it’s fine, but I can’t remember the last time I slept in a single bed (not counting last night, of course).
- My hotel has free wireless access. I say again, free wireless access. Wish hotels in the US would offer that.
- Traffic in Bangalore is beyond insane. Quite.
- Bangalore’s population is ~10 million. Evidently they were all driving to work this morning at the same time we were.
- Bangalore appears to offer the same mish-mash of wealth and squalor you might see in any big city. The squalor is a bit more visible and maybe a bit more pronounced, but that’s a difference of degree, not of kind.
- There’s more green (in the way of vegetation) here than I’d have imagined. And palm trees. I didn’t expect that.
At the risk of offending Peter King, I have one “Enjoyable/Aggravating Travel Note of the Week” to share. Before leaving Baltimore, I had to get approximately 1,393 shots for vaccinations against pretty much any disease that catchable. The company that provides these vaccinations also sold me an India survival kit of sorts with staples like insect repellent and sunscreen.
I had to buy it somewhere, so it was handy to buy it pre-packaged as long as I was already there. These guys are travel “experts”, so I didn’t give it another thought. Not until I got to Dulles Airport, anyway, and the TSA screeners confiscated all of it because the containers were larger than 3.4 oz. That pissed me off – at the company, not the TSA. It’s partly my own fault, of course, but these guys are supposed to be the experts. They should know better.