Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Overcoming commitment phobia

I had to wait almost two hours for my parents to pick me up because my flight landed at a small hour that they couldn't quite do. (There's never a question of making my own way, I save my breath for the important battles.)

So I had time to look around me and felt much proprietary pride and pleasure in the shiny new airport until I encountered the petty bureaucracy of the free WiFi. One, it's not really free if you have to send text messages over international roaming for a one-hour password. Two, the password came four hours after I had reached home so it's not only unfree, it's also unusable.

But apart from this weirdness – I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt since it was just the one time for me – it's great. After all these years of no-strings camping in someone else's airfield, saying "but we're doing fine, why change things now", Bangalore has finally taken the plunge.

The airport is... well, a real airport. Swank too. They'd even opened up all the immigration counters instead of just one and a half as per usual government procedure. There are seven baggage carousels in place of the one rugby scrum that collecting luggage used to be. The trolleys work. All wheels. At the same time, in the same direction.

There are shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, a spa, more than one telephone, things to do. (I was once stuck in the old airport for seven hours because of a "suspicious flight" with nothing to eat, drink or do once I'd finished my book. It got so bad I risked arrest – unpleasantness, anyway - to sneak into the domestic terminal where the party was at. I bought a book, a sandwich and a coffee and got busted on the way back. I traded the coffee for my freedom.)

Standing in the immigration queue reading, I was briefly disoriented when I looked up, compounded by the fact that there was a giant ad on one wall for Damac properties, with Dubai phone numbers. For a moment I forgot where I was – Bengaluru International Airport did not know it, but that was a huge compliment.


Extra No:1 said...

hahah of all the things Damac Properties. I tell you it's pleasantly beautiful the way airports have changed. Nothing to bitch about..so proud.. Even with the unfree internet, half hour shorter queues, one trolley only (with all wheels moving and in one direction) there's very little to complain about. Dad and I got lost on the new Bombay airport once, because as tradition you go through immigration and turn left for baggage. We conveniently missed the large neon boards in front of us which signalled all flights that were now on the ‘new right wing’ of the airport. Damn we felt stupid but nice. We had a spanking new right wing :)

Gargoyle said...

Stupid but nice reminds me of someone. Who could it possibly be? Which reminds me, have you learned to read basic road signs yet? Yes I know, so proud. I've felt proud of many things since I've returned. Equally annoyed about some others!

Reflections said...

Really....difficult to believe. actually cant wait to go back in december(vacation).
But then drive back into the city must be taking ages...the old airport was just 8kms away from anywhere in b'lore:-P

Gargoyle said...

We've been spoilt by having the airport close by, most cities don't have the international airport within spitting distance. It's cleared up (old) airport road dramatically.

It's a very pleasant drive into the city. I went to the airport to meet someone recently and had no problems then either. I found most of the media negativity to have been overdone (as it usually is).

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