My next post was going to be about the wonderful trips that we have had in Delhi, Jaipur and Udaipur with some very nice photography as accompaniment, but unfortunately that just isn’t going to happen today.
Currently it is Monday, December 27th, Mel and I were supposed to fly to Varanasi today and spend the next two days there. We checked-in online yesterday and noticed that our flight was delayed about 4 hours from 8 am to 12 pm due to heavy fog in New Delhi. Initially I didn’t think much of this since it enabled us to sleep-in and relax a bit. We got to the airport by 10:45 am, and waited a half hour but was able to check our luggage and get our boarding passes, however by this time Jet Airways informed us that there would be no way for us to make our connecting flight to Varanasi.
Dilemma #1: Mel and discussed it, and by the time we would get a flight and get to Varanasi we would only have 1 day there. So we decided the best course of action was to CANCEL the Varanasi leg of the trip and go straight to Delhi. Which is very unfortunate for me, since I was really looking forward to visiting both the city and Saranath. This of course opened up a whole can of other worms, as I had to cancel the hotel (we were still charged one night at the Radisson, and the flight back from Varanasi on Air India).
We were both hoping that we would be back in Delhi by around 7pm, well 6 hours later in the Udaipur airport it was pretty apparent that the flight wasn’t taking off. In fact the Jet Airways personnel, specifically Deepak and the manager, Mr. Pitak knew me by name by the end of day (since I was bothering them for updates so often). Our flight was cancelled at 6 pm, due to fog in the area and the plane not being able to land to pick us up. Note it truly was unorganized pandemonium, since there was like 2 employees servicing like 300 people, mostly irate foreigners. Mel and I waited in line like everyone, and even kicked people out of line, as most of the indigenous people felt like they could cut into line, we definitely weren’t having any of that! Then after waiting what seemed like about 20-30 mins we were at the beginning of the line, and Mel and I were asking the service agent a bunch of questions to ensure we could make the right decision on the spot. We took a little longer with the agent, but since it was our turn we figured we should get all our questions answered while we had the opportunity. An Indian standing in line had the audacity in Hindi to call me an “Amercian Sahib”, which essentially meant he thought I was taking too long at the counter and implied that I thought I was more important than everyone else because I was from North America. Unbeknownst to him, I understood exactly what he meant, so I looked straight at him gave him a really mean look and said that was indeed correct, needless to say he didn’t bother me after that.
Dilemma #2: There were about 300+ tourists/foreigners at the airport, most of whom were looking to get to Delhi, needless to say all the flights to Delhi for the next 3 days were booked out completely. We had no intention of staying in Udaipur for 3 days, so we looked at a map and decided to drive 4 hours to Ahmedabad, the capital of Gujarat and take a flight from there to Delhi. According to everything we saw, all the flights were on time and flying out from there. Unfortunately the only flight available was tomorrow at 8 pm. So we had to stay the night in Udaipur, and do the drive to Ahmedabad tomorrow. I have to say Mel and I broke this down pretty well, she took care of all the ticket stuff, and I was on the phone cancelling and booking hotels. Most people would panic but I guess due to all the travelling the both of us have done, we didn’t even flinch. Unfortunately not everyone was in the same situation, there were several other people there that seriously looked like they were going to cry. Obviously we did our best to assist, however I hate to say it but every traveller for themselves, and we looked after ourselves first.
The great thing about that is we met a couple who was vacationing from Toronto, and they recommended the Sheraton, luckily we beat most of the guests here and were able to secure a room, after this truly disastrous day. Needless to say we decided to indulge while at this beautiful hotel!
I really wish I could say there was a silver lining to story, but I’m just praying we get to New Delhi by tomorrow night.