Going back to Bangalore!

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My colleague Rudi picked me up on Wednesday morning 7 am in a rental car. We headed out of Aachen onto the highway to Amsterdam.

Normally we would have left from Brussels for Amsterdam, but our seats were not confirmed so we decided it would be safer to take a car to Amsterdam. Under normal conditions it takes only 2 hours and 15 minutes from Aachen to Schiphol. Since our flight was at 10:45, leaving at 7 am should be sufficient to reach the airport in time.

Up to Eindhoven everything was normal. Then the traffic got thicker and we had to drive more slowly. We heard on the radio of an 11 km long traffic jam ahead of us. By the time we reached it, it was only 3 km long. But it cost quite a bit of time and nerves!

We reached the airport at 9:50, returned the rental car in a hurry and tried to find the check-in counter as fast as possible. The monitors showed that our flight was already boarding. A little bit early...

After a lot of questions from a security officer about our job, our hand baggage, and so on we were finally allowed to board the DC-10 that would bring us from Amsterdam to Delhi. 10 minutes before takeoff the captain informed us that the tower had scheduled us for a departure some 15 minutes later than planned. This stretched to nearly 50 minutes!

It was a joint Northwest and KLM flight. The American crew was from the Boston area with "our" flight attendant being from New York. The service was excellent and the Indian food was better than on the Lufthansa flight a few weeks earlier.

During the entire flight they showed 4 movies. This was quite unusual since the Northwest flight magazine mentioned only one. Unfortunately, the last row of a full airplane is not the best place to enjoy these. But it didn't matter much because we were both pretty tired and slept or dozed during most of the flight time of 7:48 hours.

We arrived at the Delhi international airport about an hour late due to the delay before takeoff. Delhi was hot and humid, even at midnight. The temperature was about 33 degrees Celsius.

At the airport two taxis of the Radisson hotel were awaiting us, even though one would have been enough. It appeared that there were two rooms booked for Rudi and one for me. This was not the first time this happened that day. There were also two seats reserved for Rudi on the plane. We never found out how that happened.

After a nice meal&emdash;our first one in India&emdash;we went to our rooms to sleep for some three and a half hours. Our connecting flight left at 6:35 am from Delhi domestic airport and we had to be an hour early. Still, these hours were very relaxing, if not really cheap. The room cost US $140 plus taxes, another 25%!

We checked in at the Jet Airways counter at the airport. Everything here was more modern than at the Indian Airways terminal. Which doesn't mean much. At least we didn't have to identify our own baggage again outside of the building before it was shipped to the plane.

A bus brought us the 50 meters from the terminal to our plane! We waited longer for the bus to be filled than it would have taken to walk to the plane. And there was no traffic (except for the buses) either.

The flight from Delhi to Bangalore was very pleasant. There was enough to look at. The flight attendants were all young and very attractive. This was in stark contrast to the Indian Airlines flights I had earlier.

The Bangalore airport looks more like a warehouse than an international airport.We arrived in Bangalore on time. It was a beautiful morning with temperatures around 25 degrees. Much nicer than in Delhi! We left the plane and walked over to the arrival building of Bangalore airport. It looks more like a warehouse than an international airport.

There was already a taxi from the hotel waiting for us. We arrived at the hotel about 30 minutes later and had a great reception. Everybody was greeting us and asked how our vacation was. There was even a car waiting for us in the garage. It turned out to be the same car we had on our previous trip, so we didn't have any trouble remembering its number. And the driver was the same, too.

First thing we did after dropping our baggage in the rooms was meeting at the pool and soaking in the sun. Soon it was too hot so we had to cool off in the water. Afterwards we let the sun dry us off then went unpacking. Had we stayed in the sun any longer we would have had a decent sunburn.

After a good lunch where we met more of the familiar hotel personnel, we took the car to Brigade Road and M.G. Road to do some shopping. Rudi wanted to find a certain photo store and I wanted to buy some swimming goggles. We also looked through some toy stores for juggling balls.

On M.G. Road we passed the Plaza cinema. They were showing the James Bond movie Goldeneye, next show about 45 minutes later. We spent the meantime in a nearby bookstore.

The tickets where incredibly expensive. They cost a whopping 30 Rupees for the auditorium. Other options were the front row class for 15 Rs. and the balcony for 45. Despite it being a Thursday afternoon, 3:45 pm, the cinema was filled quite well.

The chairs looked like they were bought used some 30 years ago. This must be were all the old stuff from the European cinemas ends up. The front row people had to sit on simple chairs without arm rests. Airco consisted out of several ventilators mounted to the ceiling and walls. The room was lit by a few dim lights and some open windows.

Somewhere in the front was the silverscreen. It had a big white frame around it and was slightly flapping in the wind. Well, you could actually see it waving a little bit.

When the movie started we were quite shocked by the audio quality. It was way too loud and seemingly lacking in the bass range. The cinema actually spotted signs of Dolby dts but you couldn't guess from what you heard. And the DVD version of Goldeneye is a Dolby reference disc...

It was also a very well used copy of the movie. There were a lot of scratches and sometimes entire scenes were missing. Several times the movie either stopped or there was no audio or video which provoked some loud whistling from the audience.

The personnel of "The Only Place" is posing for a picture. The restaurant was closed for cleaning and all the furntiure and interior had been removed. The next day it was open again. After the show we went to the office where the car was waiting for our return. On the way we walked by The Only Place, a restaurant specializing in steaks. It was closed that day because they had removed the entire interior and were scrubbing the floors clean. The restaurant was open again the next day. Incredible!

A styrofoam sculpture to advertise the Italian week in the hotel's grill restaurant. It looks better without the flash. We had dinner at the grill restaurant in the hotel which had an Italian week. They had a special menu with Italian recipes. Everything was excellent and had a real Italian taste with a touch of India in it.

back to Bangalore, India | forward to Muthyala Maduvu (Pearl Valley)


Michael Prümm