Hi, all! Yes, as you guessed, I'm back in Baroda, albeit, for a short trip(till 5th June). So, without further ado, let's look at the amusing things that happened:
Firstly, Emirates gave me an upgrade to Business Class at a very nominal charge. I accepted, naturally, since I was bringing a LCD TV back to India, and BC passengers(Nothing to do with OBC) are usually given the 'green signal' at customs. Reached the airport terminal 3, went straight to the BC check-in zone. Got the TV and a bag totally wrapped up in polythene, so that they looked 'pretty in pink', something like bikini statistics-revealing just that much of what's inside, but not totally. :)
Reached the check-in counter-'Is that all, Sir?', asked the check-in lady, to which I replied as I mentioned in my previous post. 'Your seat number is changed, Sir,from 04A to 08A- different aircraft'. I smiled and went off to the Duty Free. Frankly, this time, I was feeling somewhat tired after a hectic work day, so duty free did not seem so appealing. I still went round my favourite shops- one of them stocks loads and loads of DVDs- besides movies, they also have BBC shows, US shows, et al...from the ole to the new- of course, Seinfeld/ Everybody Loves Raymond, et al were there. Didn't see 'Mad Men'(No, not those who travel on the flight, but, the American serial)- I'd downloaded 2 Seasons and have yet to see beyond Season 1 Episode 3.
From there, off to the Business Class Lounge- I did take some pics-let's see if I can find the cable to transfer them to the PC. Lots of variety of food, as always- in particular, I head for the salad counter- they have this delicious 'boiled potato-onion-mix' salad which is delicious. Also tried out a baby sandwich, a mini-choco treat and washed it down with a cuppa tea(But naturally)...I can never remember unusual names of food,so don't ask what they were called. People were eating away as usual like they had not eaten for 2-3 days. I had a good time observing them.:)
Sat in the reading zone for a while, and read New York Times, The Times(U.K.), Daily Mail, etc- papers we rarely see otherwise-and, they charge an arm and a leg for them if you do buy them even in Dxb, where they're now printed locally(by permission/agreement,I guess).
They announced that the Boarding Gate was changed from 231 to 221- second change in Emirates, quite surprising. And, even as I was reaching Gate 221, they announced a 50 minute delay-another first for me, when travelling by this Premier airline. But then,everyone has their specific days like this, I guess- turns out, they were waiting for some transit passengers to arrive from another country and that flight was late.
For those who're curious, here's a nice video from Youtube, @ Emirates business class lounge. It has a nice tour of the terminal too.
Anyway, they boarded us 1 hour earlier, thankfully. I walked in and found, indeed, that it was a different aircraft than normal. In fact, my seat 8A, was right in the front, (i.e. where there's a partition in front, and not another seat), and there was this huge partition thing between 8A and 8B. Turns out, the partition was where they 'hide' the 14" TV screen.:)
In came 2 guys- Indians, and spouting heavy accents. They discussed the same thing 5 times with the airhostess, namely, that they were gold cardmembers, that they'd asked for First Class, and were told there's no First Class in this sector, that they would 'manage' with business class and when would dinner be served and what would be served? I put on the headphones to avoid further repetitions. Then, there were the excited kids walking towards the Economy class, and beseeching their parents' Dad, let's come First Class next time'-after seeing the huge seats et al. Ah well, worry not kids, the day will come. As it did for me, when I first travelled by this class.:)
Since this was an aircraft from a long-haul flight, I had a choice of 21 Hindi movies(Not the usual single channel movie), from Great Gambler to Munnabhai to Tum Se....picked Great Gambler, just for nostalgia's sake.
I also had a special seat- separate TV screen for it- for vibration mode, footrest raising mode, full flat bed mode(No, I didn't opt for that...couldn't have watched Great Gambler then, you know). I selected dinner from the menu- as such, Veggie's don't have much choice- Dahi Bhalla, Kadhi, Rice,fruit and a sweet. Simple(- like me...LOL.). But, the Bhallas did not have adequate Dahi on them(Or maybe it was hidden in the dim lighting).
Landed...the eager beavers behind in Economy could be heard unsnapping their belts, opening overhead drawers before the plane stopped, switching on cellphones to call their family at 3 AM in the morning to tell them 'I landed'.....I noticed the 1st class in the aircraft while walking out- small coupes that provide you all the privacy your little heart needs- well, someday, I'll be able to try that out,too someday-I just know it)
I was memorizing all the arguments I'd have at customs. Had carried a print out, nee three printouts of baggage rules, definition of baggage, et al, anticipating that they'd demand duty(As part of their personal 'duty') on the TV. As soon as the special BC bus dropped us from the aircraft to the terminal, we saw a crowd already standing outside- turns out it was an Air India flight...so, there went my hopes of 'exit in 15 minutes when in BC, where luggage comes first as 'Priority')...but, it was all meant for my good only. Courtesy these passengers and the horde of passengers behind us, the duty officer just smiled and let me load the TV on the trolley and I walked out with the biggest smile(in the last few weeks) on my face and relief that no arguments were needed. As I say, whatever happens is always for the best-provided you believe in it.:)
(Could you get angry with anyone for falling asleep while driving on such a nice expressway?:))
My usual pickup guy was there to take me to Baroda...besides a near mishap when he dozed off and hit the divider but controlled himself and the car very quickly(He brings a friend along, these days, to ensure he doesn't doze off and to take care of such situations), we had a smooth journey home.:)
More on Baroda coming up soon.Keep smiling.