Posts Tagged ‘Airport’
After nearly a decade, I had the chance to be in Delhi during winters. Delhi’s winters have changed so much over my lifetime – as a child I remember foggy mornings and clear afternoons of the late seventies. On weekdays the mornings used to be a torture – the brick houses would be practically as cold inside as it would be outside, sometimes as cold as 3-5C. I showered and shivered, then huddled in the cold school bus as it careened through the fog, and folded into myself during morning school assembly in the cold open fields. But the afternoons were clear and warm and lunchtime typically meant sitting out in the sun with friends sharing our packed lunches. Weekend afternoons would often be spent eating oranges or roasted peanuts while sunning oneself on the porch or balcony. I remember the nineties winters as a dirtier version of my childhood – the fog became smog, the afternoon sunny sky was grayish brown with sun never quite managing to poke through the smog screen.
Maxim’s outpost in Hong Kong – indubitably.
This Hong Kong trip had been a bit of a disappointment in terms of food – I was expecting greatness at every meal but it ended up being a mixed one. The congee breakfasts were exceptional. Fried rice at the traditional Luk Yu Tea House was good. Lunch at the casual Kyoto Joe’s was below par. The 16 course dinner at the Yellow Door private kitchen was a complete disappointment. The fried noodles at Crystal Jade, famous for their hand pulled noodles, were greasy. So, when the 36 hour sojourn at Hong Kong came to an end, I was beginning to wonder if I was going to come back to this city again.
Here I was again, stuck at yet another airport in the middle of a San Francisco-Delhi trip. My last long layover was a twelve hour one at Bangkok when I had managed to sneak away to the city. I had the urge to get away again – in a decade of hopping between San Francisco and Delhi, I had never had six hour layover at HKG before.
My travel agent had found me a ticket from San Francisco to Kolkata that was $200 cheaper. Downside being a 12 hour layover at Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok’s brand new multi-billion dollar airport. I had done similar stretches at Singapore’s Changi and I was none the worse for wear. Besides, I had never been to Bangkok before, and it sounded like an adventure. Worst case scenario would be a nap at the transit hotel.
Upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi, I realized the problem. Too few toilets. No lounge chairs, no showers, no workout facilities. Maybe I could have taken a nap in one of the many prayer rooms. Cost of the dingy little solitary transit hotel, in a remote part of the airport, was outrageous. I had already been traveling and sleepless for 18 hours, and yet my mind rebelled against spending time and money at that hotel. So, there I was, with 12 hours to spare, at an unfriendly airport. Getting out was the only sensible option.
The information kiosk staff were polite, friendly and not informed at all.