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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Bangalore - The Journey and Arrival

Well, we made it here to Bangalore late on Saturday evening -- India time. The journey was long, but without issues so that was pretty nice. I am all checked in at my hotel here in Bangalore, The Chancery Pavilion.

The first segment to Frankfurt was relatively uneventful. It seems that Lufthansa in the last year have upgraded the majority of their airplanes of the Boeing 747-400 nature be the long haul planes. That's great because you get close to lie-flat seating in Business class, although it is at a slight angle. And, it is great to know where your seats will be, so I always check out Seat Guru. Basically this flight was really about eating and sleeping and that was pretty much it. I also caught the movie "Shooter" with Mark Wahlberg. Entertaining at least.

Our transfer time in Frankfurt was fairly short, so I missed out on my favorite attractions in Germany, a nice weissbier. Sad as that may sound, the 3 hour layover on the way back will provide ample opportunity for that. The terminal transfer went fine and we arrived at our gate just 5 minutes before boarding. My co-worker's brother Brian also happened to be on the same flight as us from Frankfurt to Bangalore. They were scolded for greeting each other through the gate before Jonathan and I check in. Oh, well.

The flight to Bangalore was a little more interesting this time. While last time our path took us a little ways north through Iran, this time we hit parts of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The mountains out my window to the right near Kirkuk were pretty impressive and we had a nice fighter-jet escort off our wing for about 3 hours of the journey. Hmmmm, both exciting and interesting - makes you feel really safe.

They feed you way too much on these flights. The first leg had dinner & breakfast on it and now after having a heavy lunch earlier, the dinner is coming around. I am passing on this one. Eating 4 large meals in 20 hours is just a little much for me. I decided to pass on the second dinner of the night and took a little nap.

Arrival in Bangalore was nothing too special or out of the ordinary. Actually, it was fairly similar to my arrival in Mumbai last year. I quickly changed $100 to rupees in the airport (38 per $1 USD, down from 46 per $1 USD my last trip), picked up the luggage and cleared customs. Walking outside was just as entertaining as it was my first time to Mumbai with hundreds of drivers lining the walkway holding signs with names. It takes us a couple minutes of searching then we locate our names and grab our drivers.

We arrived at the hotel, the Chancery Pavilion shortly later - only about a 15 minute journey from the airport. The hotel bills itself as a 5-star business hotel, although I am not entirely convinced based on previous stays in India. Definitely not a dive, but also definitely not 5-star in my opinion. More on that to come. I am tired, so I am going to get some sleep.