Travel adventures.

Monday, November 09, 2015

India Day 1 - DFW to DXB to BRU

NOTE: This is a preliminary summary. I should be able to add photos and a few additional details in the coming weeks.

Travel from DFW to DXB 14:30

We had a 1:40 layover after the long flight from Dallas (DFW) to Dubai (DXB). After disembarking from the A380 we went through a security checkpoint on the way to the Emirates connections area of the airport. As with most checkpoints we placed our bags, shoes, belt and contents of pockets on a belt to a scanner. However as I approached the manometer the security guy was talking to another security guy, had his back to me, and waved his hand as if he was gesturing for me to pass through. He paid absolutely no attention to me as I passed through the magnetometer and was so involved in his conversation that he probably wouldn't have noticed if it alarmed.

The airport in Dubai was opulent and frankly it seemed pretentious considering the unpleasant appearance of the dessert surroundings. The sky appeared heavy with smog or some sort of sand storm and we could hardly see the skyline or the Burj Khalifa (tallest artificial structure in the world).

As we walked around we saw several prayer rooms designated for men and women. The gold and jewelry retailers were packed with shoppers and the restaurants and food courts were mostly empty.

There were many lounge chairs with about a reclined position of about 45 degrees. The surface of the chair appeared and felt like leather and was fastened to the frame of the chair along the edges. It was quite comfortable.

DXB to BRU 3:35

Upon arrival at Bengaluru aftet our flight from Dubai we stopped at the restroom and then walked past the e-visa area towards customs and stood in line. Playing on speakers throughout the immigration area was a melodic and calming Indian or Middle Eastern selection of music.

At the customs desk they only wanted Danae to approach and motioned for me to wait. Then they sent us back to the e-visa area. The customs agent was very casual and friendly and even suggested to Danae that she please have a seat and relax while waiting for my processing. Then he asked a few simple questions, typed into the computer and took my photo and a bioetric fingerprint scan.

When a second immigration officer sat down he greeted the first, counted some forms and asked the first to confirm his simple arithmetic.. This was probably the second least stressful immigration processing I have ever experienced. France was less stressful because the immigration officer just stamped my passport and didn't say a word to me.

My security escort was waiting just beyond the last customs checkpoint and inside the barrier that prevented non-travelers from entering into the airport. He offered to take my checked bag and left Danae to pull both of hers. So I grabbed one of Danae's bags. Then the driver met us just beyond the barrier and offered to take my bag but ignored Danae and her bag. So again, I grabbed and pulled Danae's bag to the car.

As we walked to the car, there were many men loitering along either side of the sidewalk, but there were very few women loitering or maybe none at all. I did not feel like any of the men were pickpockets or scammers waiting to prey upon us. Nobody approached us to offer transportation or any other services.

The driver and security escort sat silently throughout the entire ~45 minute drive to our hotel while Danae and I discussed the crazy traffic and sights we saw out tge windows. When Danae was ignored when she asked the driver and security escort a question. I can only imagine that this was due to some sort of cultural difference.

We saw entire families on one motorbike. This typically involved a toddler riding in front of dad holding onto the handlebars with a wife riding side-saddle holding an infant on her lap with one arm while holding dad with the other arm. One of the women was strattling the bike and had her infant dangling beside her in such a precarious way that it seemed at great risk of being dropped.

All along the route we saw many cars and motorcycles along the side of the road even though there seemed to be no reason to be parked there. This was also the first time we saw cows along the side of the road in such an urban setting.

At one moment we watched a man open and climb into a door on the reer side of a bus as it began to accelerate and he closed the door just before it would have hit the sign post at the bus stop. He narrowly escaped the loss of an arm or leg.

Upon arrival at our hotel my security escort asked me to sign a document and asked if Danae also worked for my employer but never spoke to her directly.

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