I think is fair to say that the last 4 weeks have been a whirlwind.
Rather akin to Dorothy and Toto, small person and I have been swept up from our familiar surroundings and travelled to a land of wonder and excitement. It’s been a slightly longer process than they had to endure, but far more comfortable along the way I’m sure ( although if you had asked me when I had just disembarked from a sleepless night flight from London for a 3 hour stop at New Delhi, I may not entirely agree with myself ).
The multi-stage journey ran as smoothly as I could have wished with only one 20 minute delay on the very last bit. And no tricky ‘3rd seat passengers’ to deal with this time round which is always a blessing. Having a first stage night flight was a bonus, as when traveling with a small person even a little sleep is a gift.
I would like to take a moment here to commend air India for their service; priority boarding even when your small person isn’t that small anymore, good on board entertainments ( the films epic (and for me 500 days of Summer) helped to pass almost half the flight in companionable silence), and the food was both recognisable and tasty. The lay-over in New Delhi went as all lay-overs in India go, once we had passed through the very strict security checks of course.
The last time we had to change flights in India we almost missed our connection as my bags were torn apart by the ‘flying monkeys’ at the security checkpoint as I was caught in possession of a dangerous weapon. It was as much a surprise to me as anyone else when the dangerous weapon was confiscated and chastisements handed out, but as ever with Indian security, no protests were made and apologies were profuse. I had to console small person as it turned out that the dangerous weapon belonged to her and she really didn’t want to give it up, but I assured her that when we had reached our final destination we would be able to buy her a new ‘Ben 10’ pencil sharpener.
I was fully prepared this time and no dangerous stationary items were to be found in our hand luggage. I was also prepared for the very long queues for security screening. All items ( including a stuffed toy giraffe ) had their own tags to be stamped as ‘passed’ ready to be checked again when we boarded our connecting flight, we even remembered to get into same gender lines as females have to be screened separately behind a special curtain. I remembered to wait until instructed to place my items into trays and never place an item on the conveyer until instructed. Sadly the person who instructed me hadn’t consulted the soldier doing the screening and he wasn’t ready yet so simply pushed the trays and all their contents off the end of the belt onto the floor. Of course I didn’t complain, its only a tiny crack in my I-pad screen and he had a really big gun. One thing I have learned is never to argue with or otherwise antagonise airport security in India. Not if you want to see your connecting flight anyway.
Another top tip I have is that if you are tempted by a can of ‘sugar free Pepsi Atom’ be warned, it tastes of curry. So many levels of wrong. Thankfully the chocolate muffins did not have a similar addition.
After our small sojourn in New Delhi airport we were up in the air again for a few unremarkable hours to Bangkok, our last port of call on travel day one.
A very brief wait at immigration this time and our passports and visas were stamped by a very smiley border control lady who welcomed us to Thailand. Our new home.
One terrifying taxi ride through the airport suburb and we were deposited for a welcome nights sleep followed all too swiftly by a delicious breakfast, then it’s off to the airport once more for the ‘last bit’. A tiny 1 hr hop to Chiang Mai, with a big nod to the check-in staff for overlooking the extra kilo or 10 on our hand luggage. Despite the numerous re-packs, it’s not east to fit your life into a couple of suitcases.
The imagined running straight into hubby’s arms at arrivals was reduced to a scarecrow-esque limp wave, through the door as we waited …. And waited …. And waited for the aforementioned luggage to appear, but after what seemed like a very long wait for a very small airport I was able to load up my trolly and stagger through the gate and into his waiting arms. And without the aid of ruby slippers, we were finally home. And there’s no place like it.