I’m sitting in an Air India plane that is rumbling its way into a descent towards Delhi (where I’ll connect to an onwards flight to Mumbai). As is my wont, I’ve ended up in the very last row of the plane, though I did happily score a window seat. 41K: my home for the past eight hours.
In that time, I’ve taken pictures of my air sickness bag, the flight map, the in-flight magazine, and pretty much anything else that said “India” on it. I’ve turned into an embarrassing tourist even before I land in country.
Oops, turns out we’re landing, so I had better shut down my electronics before I get chastised. Talk amongst yourselves!
And I’m back! I’m now sitting in the domestic terminal in Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport.
That was quite a process transferring from an international flight to a domestic one. I probably made it harder than it needed to be by first attempting to go through the wrong passport line (I needed the “e-visa” line rather than the “foreign passport” line). Then I couldn’t figure out where to exit. Then I couldn’t figure out whether or not I was supposed to collect my checked bag (I was). Then I couldn’t find it. Then I couldn’t figure out whether I was supposed to physically exit the customs area to transit to a domestic flight (I was). Then I walked in the wrong direction. And so on. Thank goodness for multi-hour layovers.
But I think my Happy Moment thus far – other than perhaps the brand-spanking shiny new stamp in my passport – was going through the security line to enter the domestic terminal. They have separate queues for men and women! You literally go through a separate metal detector! I was once again chastised, this time for trying to walk through the one labelled "men": "You go through 'Ladies,'" I was told. Oops! Hadn't noticed the sign! And then for women you go into this little curtained room so you can be patted down in privacy. I’ve never seen that before! How delightful!
I’m probably getting way too excited over what is after all still a process of standing in line and a hassle of taking off clothing and removing electronics and blablabla. (And I just realized I unironically used the word 'delightful' to describe it - which only two days ago I refused to use to refer to snow. Yes, I apparently find metal detectors more delightful than the magic of winter falling from the sky.)
But still! Something new! Something different! Something cultural!
Sometimes it’s the little things.