Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Off to Europe.....

4th Oct. 2011, I boarded the Shatabdi Express for Mumbai at 14.30 hours and reached the Andheri Airport at around 22.30.  My Turkish Airlines flight was at 05.00 hours on the next day, so I had planned to spend the entire night in the airport, but when I was entering the airport the security guy showed me the departure of my flight and told me to come just 3 hours before the departure.  Now what to do ? At least 4 hours before I can enter the airport building.  So I found a place on the outside and sit there observing people coming and going.  Cars came to drop the people flying away and buses bringing the airline crew members, people parking their cars everywhere, rickshaws coming and going.  Soon I realized I was not the only one standing outside the airport premises.  Finally at 01.00 hours I decided to give it a second chance to enter the airport and luckily this time I got through.  

Luggage checked - in and boarding pass in hand I crossed the immigration and security and sat waiting for the announcement of my flight.  Tried to take a small nap but couldn't.  Finally my flight's boarding was announced and the ground staff called the passengers as per the rows, but I guess people got impatient and everyone started to line up.  I had asked for an aisle seat and had got it and to my pleasure the next seat was empty.  Wow so now I can have a nice sleep for six hours before I land in Istanbul and take my next flight to Warsaw.

View of Istanbul city from the airplane.

My flight landed in Istanbul some 30 min. late but I had enough time for my next flight.  In Ahmedabad I was really very confused what present I should carry for Bartek (Dorota's husband).  So at Istanbul airport I decided to buy some nice alcohol for him.  Suddenly realized that polish people like to have vodka and after few rounds in the liquor shop found a nice bottle of vodka.  Finally boarded the flight to Warsaw and arrived right in time with lots of excitement which soon turned out to be a small hiccup at the immigration.  Standing there in the line, its my turn and I handed my passport to the immigration officer,

Immigration officer (I.O.) : Looking at me suspiciously asks what will you do in Poland ?
Me : I shall be traveling as a tourist

I.O. : Where are you going to stay in Warsaw ?
Me  : At a friend's place on whose invitation I have arrived in Poland

I.O. : Do you have the invitation ?
Me  : Yes I do have the copy and I showed her the same.

I.O. : Do you have the return flight ticket ?
Me  : Yes I have and I showed the same.

I.O. : But your flight ticket is from Vienna.  How will you be going to Vienna and where will you be staying in Vienna ?
Me  : By a night train and I shall be arriving there on the morning and the same day evening I have my flight, so I won't need any place to stay.

I.O. : Suspiciously looks at me, gathers all the documents, hands it over to me and tells me, please sit over there and wait.
Me  :  I was like, what happened, you mean I should sit there ?

I.O. : Yes

So with all my documents I sat on a bench close to the immigration office and noticed that there are few other people too from Iraq, Turkey, Armenia and some other country.  My heart was pounding and I was sweating.  Dorota and her husband were suppose to come to the airport to pick me up, so I text'd her that I'm stuck at the immigration and it might take some time.  Soon the immigration officer came with some papers and guided the 2 Turkish girls towards the exit.  Meanwhile the Iraqi guy was told that sorry dude we are sending you back by the next flight to Baghdad.  Poor guy.  Before i could ask the immigration officer how much time it'll take, he called up my name and led me to the exit.  I was so very much relieved.  Rushed to collect my backpack and hurried to the exit.  Once out looked here and there for Dorota and there they both were.  So happy to see them.  Couldn't believe that I am meeting her again after she left India.  

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