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  • Writer's pictureBen Church

Arriving to India

Hey everyone! It’s been about 2.5 weeks since I left America and have FINALLY made it to Kathmandu, albeit about a week later than expected. The last few weeks have been crazy, stressful, intense, beautiful and more of an adventure than I could have ever anticipated. This post will be a little long but trust me, it’s a story worth reading. So grab a snack and get ready for a doozy….

The day Deepali and I were set to leave for India spirits were high. We had our flights booked, our bags packed, and our visas granted….or so we thought. The travel nightmare you are about to read all starts here.

When Deepali went to print out her visa on the day of our departure there was some issue with printing it and upon further inspection our fears were confirmed: there was something totally wrong with her visa. As it turns out a computer error had re-granted Deepali her Indian visa she got for wedding shopping back in the Spring of 2016 instead of for our upcoming trip. Panic set in. Deepali did not have a valid visa and we were not getting on our flight that night. Instead of leaving our apartment in a calm and collected way, the minute Deepali got home from work it was a mad dash and frenzy to get out of the house to get an emergency visa. We immediately got in the car and drove down to New York City in an attempt to get an emergency visa at the Indian Embassy. We were told “Yes come down, we will stay open late for you”. Awesome, we may actually still fly out today. Well, after getting in the car it quickly became apparent this was not the case. No one else at the embassy confirmed that they would stay open late and it looked like we wouldn’t be getting the visa until the next morning. Deepali spent the next 4.5 hours in the car (a normally 2.5 hour ride now over 4 hours thanks to Friday evening New York City traffic) calling the embassy, calling airlines, trying to make something work. We arrived in New York with new plans to get the visa and leave the following night from JFK instead of from Logan. Lucky for us, Deepali’s sister Sapna lives in New York and put us up for the night (thank Saps!).

The next day we were up and at the Embassy 15 minutes before it opened. An hour later we had the emergency visa in hand. Ahhhhh, we can breathe a sigh of relief! We spent the day walking around the Natural History museum, eating our favorite New York foods, and getting things ready for our flight that night. We got to JFK without issue, through security smoothly, and then waited at our gate. Our flight got delayed by about 1.5hrs which we didn’t think much of at the time but boy were we wrong. That delay caused us to miss our connecting flight in Dubai by literally 10 minutes. We arrived at 10:10PM, the flight left at 10PM.

So then me, Deepali, and another 200 angry passengers overloaded the Emirates ticket counter. After waiting in line for what felt like forever we got our new flight….14hrs later at 2:30 in the afternoon. WHAT?! We now are going to lose 2 days on a 7 day trip. The wind was totally sucked out of our sails. We spent the next hour really really upset, bickering at each other, just so angry. In reality we were just mad at all these external circumstances we had no control over. Eventually we did what we do best, we made up, made a plan, and got busy trying to get out of Dubai. Deepali went back and forth to the Emirates counter while I looked for any and all flights into India. Success! The emirates people found us a flight 3 hours from now to Mumbai and I found a flight from Mumbai to our destination city Jaipur. We packed up and got to moving. Picture that scene from Home Alone, (the one where the family runs through the airport not the one where Marv steps on the nail) that was us the next 30 minutes. Our new flight was across the airport in a different terminal and after moving walkways, navigating crowds, and catching shuttles, we were at our new spot ready to check in.

Alas, the nightmare continued. At the new counter as we tried to check in the attendant said “Oh it looks like you two are on different flights, Deepali you are going to Mumbai and Ben is going to Delhi”. WHAT?! Different flights, different times, different cities. Why is this still happening?! Well after an hour of pulling out our hair the mistake was finally fixed. Now we had 30 minutes before our flight took off. Cue Home Alone scene again. We get to our gate, settle for a few minutes, and then begin to board. Oh wait, theres more. Because we went across the airport to a new terminal so quickly, our baggage was still en route and was not going to be on the flight. “I’m sorry ma’am/sir there is nothing we can do”. UGH!! PLEASE! THROW US A BONE! Thank god for our guardian angel wearing a florescent yellow vest who appeared out of nowhere and called some people and was able to get our luggage on the flight. Whoever you are sir, a million thank yous. Normally this is where we would breathe in some relief but we knew there would be more. And we were right.

Upon arrival in Mumbai we needed to go through customs. I went to the E-visa line and Deepali to the normal visa line, cause you know, at the beginning this whole nightmare started with a glitch in the visa application system. Well I get through no problem but where is Deepali? As it turns out the ticket attendant who completed our tickets typed Deepali’s passport number in wrong so the customs agent kept asking Deepali “Where is your other passport? Show me your other passport!” Deepali of course only has one passport (that I know of, Deepali are you actually working for the CIA?). Eventually it gets sorted after all 300+ people on the flight make it through customs and Deepali is the only one left. We get through the Mumbai airport, take a taxi to the domestic airport, fly to Jaipur WITH our luggage, and get to our hotel: 48 hours later than planned. I lay on the bed and in utter disbelief blurt out….what the hell just happened…..

If you want to know about how wonderful our India trip is go on to read the next post. If not, then skip ahead to the post after this because if you thought it was bad getting into the country, just wait until you read what I went through to get out of India. Again, trust me, it’s worth the read.

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