Travel is always an adventure. The Delhi airport, however, definitely took the foreign airport experience to a new level from the armed guards strutting around with large assault rifles to free mandatory massages by security, it didn’t disappoint in the WTF factor.
Jet Airways was our inter-country flight option. Not a fan. Even my small carry-on bag was deemed “too heavy” for the flight so I had to check it. So much for packing light to avoid the inconvenience of waiting for my luggage. Just how damn tiny is our plane that a small carry-on doesn’t fit in the overhead? Dude checking me in couldn’t understand my flight info and tagged my bag to Hyderabad-my next destination in two days. Explaining I really needed my bag to follow me to Bangalore and not skip ahead to Hyderabad without me took some time and effort, though eventually I believe we got it right but I’ll reserve judgement until I can confirm the bag makes it to the right destination. Not holding my breath.
Entering the security area, my female teammate and I were told to go to the most remote scanner as we were “ladies”. Sure enough, not only were there separate “lady” and “gent” lanes to walk through but the ladies got to go into a special curtained tent area where I proceeded to get the most thorough pat down EVER. I’m talking full body, no private part left untouched and I didn’t even get introduced to the guard. Perhaps I should have asked for an address where I could send a Christmas card because after that security massage, she knew me better than most of my dearest friends.
With bags and body checked, we proceeded to shop. It was that or grab a smoke in the multiple smoking lounges, but I don’t imbibe even after a quality pat down. Along with the smoking lounges which were quite crowded, there were prayer lounges too. I chose to check out the Benetton shop which is a blast from the 80’s in the U.S. but apparently still quite popular around the world. After advising my co-worker to verify the size portions, as a medium would probably be small in US sizes, sure enough she ended up buying the extra-large for her medium-sized husband.
Why, why do nice airports still have squat toilets for the ladies? They had the regular kind as well so is it to make the visitors from China feel at home? I did find it interesting that every bathroom had multiple bathroom attendants who literally wiped your toilet seat for you before inviting you into the stall and then they handed you a paper towel to dry your hands. I’ll remember these hard-working gals when I think my job is tough and remember to count my blessings.
Spying a spa across the promenade, I decided to follow up my full body massage by the guard with a lovely 30-minute foot massage. Now, I haven’t had many massages since my Dragonfly Spa membership in Shanghai so it was quite the treat. In China, they soak your feet in a big bucket of hot water first which makes sense because people’s feet are yuck. Really, who on Earth would want to rub dirty feet? Obviously, here in India it’s not a concern because they got right to the action with no cleaning. Double yuck. The Indian version of foot massage involved some pretty rough pulling and cracking of the toes and the use of a small wooden rod that she dug into each toe to make a point. Pretty sure I’ll have bruises but it was all for the greater health and well-being of my body. Finally, the rough stuff stopped and was followed by a lovely lotion rub that felt amazing. Here I was leaving Delhi for Bangalore and enjoying a massage. Who am I and how did I get so lucky???
Finally arriving at our gate, I was surprised to find chaises upon which weary travelers could recline and relax before their next terrifying flight within India. Ahhhh, it’s all about the journey and what a gift travelling is to experience other cultures. Next stop Bangalore.