All I saw of Calcutta was traffic jams.. non stop traffic jams. I did see a few man-pulled rickshaws, barefoot, dragging a few customers on their rented rickshaw... felt serious pity for them.
Anyhow, we ended up getting to the airport about 10 mins before checkin closed. But, er, luckily, it being a dirt cheap carrier, the flight was late. 2 Hours late.
But wait, it gets much much better.
Welcome to this week's installment of "See Chris try to educate the Indians on how Things Are Done (TM)".
It's been 5 months since I was on a plane. I've totally forgotten the routine, and so I forget to take out my pocket-knife from my backpack when I check-in at the airport. When the security guard took it away, I was somewhat concerned - given that the knife cost more than the dirt cheap flight.
We arranged a deal. He would hold it, until an Air Deccan employee would come down, sign for it, give it to a stewardess, who would then give it to me when we got to Chennai. A great idea.
However, what really happened was - the gate employee signed for the knife, put it in a Air Deccan bag, and as soon as we had turned the corner, gave the bag/knife back to me, and told me it was our little secret.
Thats right. I boarded a domestic Indian flight with a pocketknife (admittedly, not a major weapon) - after having it taken away, and then given back by an employee.
As a security geek, this was just too much for me to take....
I asked for a knife in flight to cut open some guava, and was told plastic knives weer no longer carried due to security reasons.. however, I kept my mouth shut.
Once we landed, and it was perfectly safe, I had the chap next to me discretely take a photo of me sitting in my seat, holding the air deccan seat-cover, and the knife wide open... However, this wasn't enough.
I waited until everyone left the flight, went to the front, and in my best cute little kid impression, asked if I could have my photo taken with the captain. The steward said sure, knocked on the door, and introduced me to the columbian pilot (columbian pilot on an Indian domestic airline? Welcome to the age of Globalization).
I explained exactly what had happened to the pilot, who seemed shocked, and for obvious reasons... rapidly declined to be photgraphed with me and the knife.
When I get back to civilization, I may write to deccan. Who knows. I've reported it, so hopefully the gate employee will get the axe.... My safety is on the line, after-all..