No matter how prepared I think I am to get to the airport on time, I somehow am always rushing around. I hurried to video chat back home while our awake-times lined up (early in the morning for me, late at night for them). I scrambled upstairs just at 8:50am to make the last ten minutes of breakfast. I packed with impressive speed and printed out our boarding passes right before our noon check-out time. With packs on our backs, we speed-walked to the jewelry stores to exchange our Vietnamese Dong for Indian Rupees, and finally had some time to enjoy a large Big Mac meal at McDonalds before hopping on the bus to the airport.
After all that rushing around, we found out we were on the airport bus in the wrong direction. The driver, who must have known we didn’t have a clue what we were doing, drove us all the way to the end of the line and told us to get off and board the other Airport Bus waiting to start the route. We groaned, paid the fare again, passed the stop that we originally boarded, and finally ended up at the airport still with time to spare.
Even though I consider myself a generally rational thinker, I couldn’t help having an extra helping of worry since we were flying with Air Asia. They were one of the Indonesian Airlines that had recently tarnished their record with a crash. Add this to the fact that as we were waiting in the terminal to board, we discovered the news about the horrible German Wings airplane crash–no survivors. Thankfully, it was a quick flight to our layover in Kuala Lumpur and then a four hour flight to Hyderabad, India and we arrived safely in the middle of the night.
Once in India, we were greeted by a dozen taxi drivers attempting to fight for our business by harassing and following us. Little did I know this was a proper introduction to what the rest of India was like. We wisely went to the prepaid taxi booth and felt at ease with our official driver. That is, until he pulled off the main road and started down a dimly lit dirt road leading to a construction zone. He paused, turned the taxi around and started back towards the highway, and then circled back around to park next to the heap of scrap metal, dirt, and an excavator. My heart pounded as I made sure my door was still unlocked if an escape was necessary. It turned out that our hotel was actually located behind this construction pile, but not one sign was to be found indicating this. The manager of the hotel woke up from his pallet in the lobby and showed us to our room–no AC, which I learned is essential to surviving India with your sanity.