So just a little recapping on the Journey home on Sunday 7th October . well after packing up my exhibition titled ” Faces as Doorways of Light & Truth.” Aspects of Divinity series 8. saying thanks and good by to lots of wonderful people / Friends that i have made during my stay in the Tajee hotel over the last 4 days. especially Bimal .manager in the Hub restaurant . a man from Ghoom . we cracked jokes every day i ate there wonderful man . and of cause Vijaybabu who is the Guest Service Officer of The Promenade Lounge where i had the exhibition. Vijaybabu and his offsider Neeta just could not do enough for me . What ever i wanted regardless of what ? He just said camely it will be done . and that was that it was, I was very impressed by his professional and Friendly approach to what needed to be done . Thanks Vijaybabu.and of cause my main contact at the Taj Bengal was Seema Mohanchandran . General Manager . Sales Seema guided me through the Mandala that is the Taj Bengal hotel with professional and very Friendly help in every way possible . Thank you Seema and I will be Back ..
After saying good by . all my Baggage was taken down to the Big yellow taxi that had been seconded of the street and was waiting for me right in front of the foyer….it looked a little out of place there ?? a sort of an Outsider Taxi ..is there such a thing or process ?? there is now . So the great question is how many Taj staff does it take to load 7 bags into a Yellow Outsider Taxi …????? I know you can’t guess can you …well its 7 plus 2 laughting on the side …..not sure if they were laughting at me or with me or at all of us ??? or at the Yellow Taxi driver who did not know the way to the International airport one hours drive away …I was paying him around $6- to get me there …If possible ?? anyway we all just laughted and laughter as i was driven off in the direction of the airport ….after several stops to ask the way from other taxi drivers etc etc he finally got me to the domestic terminal …and after one and a half hours in Kolkata ..it felt Terminal…I pointed to the International terminal about 6oo metres away …He just smiled and drove to it against oncoming traffic in the wrong lane every body just smiled and laughted at us ….I did not care by now i just wanted to leave this Great Yellow Outsider Taxi and embark on the next challenge….and don’t we need them .No Pain No Gain as they say or a better one…. Trust in Allah..but tie up your camel. One of my favourites.
I now had trouble finding my ticket which i had secured away …some where ???? after a good panic and visualising Singapore airline staff saying loudly No ticket No flight …shit i was momentarily stuck just at the front door the security would not let me in without a ticket or boarding pass ….mmm I even looked hastily for my Big Yellow Outsider Taxi . but he had gone probably lost in the back streets of Kolkata for ever , anyway back to No ticket ,,,how could i be So stupid in forgetting where it was ?? then a great answer . I am having a” Grey Moment ”and i should not panic …then i remembered that i had a copy of my flight itenery …..NOT ..TICKET…..glued in my bound travel journal the first page of this was quickly ripped out . Looked very much like a ticket this got me through security …I was a foreigner this also helped …and i was not really doing any thing wrong ….I just did not have a physical ticket . through baggage security with my seven bags . then to the ticketing counter . the staff there were and are always very friendly and helpful . well they looked at this …ticket and looked at it again ..they knew that something was a little strange ???? but just did not pick it …thank God ..because the part of this page one showed that i had a baggage allowance of 30kgs….this was on the way over to India but on my ticket it clearly stated on the way back i only had a baggage allowance of 20kgs ..Why ??? God only knows ? Perhaps Flight Centre where i booked stuffed up ? So i had no ticket and a baggage allowance of 30kgs …and weight for it my total weighed in baggage was 43kgs …WOW ..23kgs over this is a first even for me . as i was allowed 30 kgs they knocked 3kgs off i had to pay excess baggage of just under $400-Australian…so i gave them my Debit travel money card and said just go for it ….No came the answer we don’t take Debit cards …bloody hell Good Old India rearing its strange ways again …i the gave them my Amex card as you do in these situations off they went with it 20 minutes later a grim faced staff man came to me and said problems it won’t work tried it over ten times just will not work …?? So what to do ?? I suggested as Singapore Airlines is an International I should be able to pay any where e.g. Singapore or Australia ???? Wow this brought very strange looks and reactions ???? they suggested that i may like to abandon some of my over weigh baggage and just stared at me …..mmm….I will not write here what I though of this suggestion for fear of legal action against me from all sorts of people …..We were at a stale mate ..them and Me i was not going to just give inn …Remembering that i was well over the weight limit . No ticket and they had not weighted my back pack which was full of heavy text books and camera equipment etc etc …they said no the luggage will not go unless you pay 20000rupees cash ?? it was now cash ! I just said where am i going to get cash at 12 30 am here in this airport ? they just looked the other way ….mmm…Then i casually said is there an ATM machine in the airport ? aaaarrr yes came the answer from lovely smiling check inn lady …Why didn’t we think off that ??? I had to be escorted by the check inn staff past all the security checks out the front of the terminal building too a or the only bloody ATM machine for miles around it just kept spitting Rupees out till i got a large bundle of 20.000 rupees …back through security etc etc payed my excess baggage bill,,some how it had gone down from 20.000rupees to around 17.400 rupees …Why ?? then they had no change ….bloody hell Where is that Yellow Outsider Taxi ??? eventually it was sorted and yes they were all really nice and did try there hardest to help and accommodate my needs …so into departure lounge …then into the plane .I had made it ….thank God …just then i spied the check inn guy walking down the plane with his eye on me …bugger i had been caught out at the last minute …..Guilt is a wonderful thing even for me . he said i need to look at your excess baggage ticket as there is a mistake ??? he just added a couple of numbers to it and said enjoy your flight Mr Wright and walked off ….Too close .
The flight back home via Singapore was easy as always . Sydney i could not find my two boxes of art works ? eventually they turned up but by this time i looked SUS so got a good check over but they were cool just doing their jobs and got me through in no time at all .my taxi ride ….mmm…he wanted to show me the sights of Sydney and i had to yell at him ..he obeyed my suggestion and it also shut his chatter up ……I was back home . NO this was not a Great Long Whinge this was just how it was and is . the joys of travel . I JUST LOVE IT . and Cheers to all who have looked now and then at this Blog I do hope that you have not been too bored .Remember that the Trail of the Blogger is never straight . it weaves . tosses .turns. Dives .comes back up again and just carries on . Don’t take what i say too seriously . just enjoy .Mjw 13/10/12..