We did indeed begin boarding in 15 minutes, but we boarded a bus rather than a plane!!!
Our flight to Bangalore was great. We both were able to sleep a little bit and enjoyed reading, watching movies and, of course, Michael spent several hours working on his computer. I selected the Indian meal instead of the French one and enjoyed curry and rice. It was interesting to look out of the window as it was beginning to get dark. Since we were flying away from the sunset, it only took about 20 minutes for it to go from full sunlight to complete dark. It looked almost as if we were flying into a black wall.
We also enjoyed watching the computer screen that showed where we were flying. It was a bit eerie to realize that we were flying around Baghdad, over Tehran and straight across Pakistan. This is the furthest east that either of us have ever been.
We arrived in Bangalore at 12:26 am on Friday, about 20 minutes late. The Bangalore International airport is brand new, having opened about 4 weeks ago. It is beautiful and even more important….efficient!!! We went straight through customs, found our bag within about 20 minutes and were out of the airport very quickly. Atlanta could take some lessons!!!! The people were also friendly and helpful, both those on staff at the airport, as well as the nationals that were flying in.
As we exited the airport, we were greeted by Thomas who was holding up a sign with our names. He helped us with our bags and loaded us into his car. While we are here we are spending a few days with Paul Billy & Shirley Arnold, who are friends of one of our friends in Athens. They are Indians who trained at Covenant Presbyterian Seminary and are now acting as “Church- planters” in Southern India. Thomas is Paul Billy’s assistant.
As we headed out of the parking lot, I was immediately impressed with the amount of honking that Indian drivers do. They honk to tell people to hurry, honk to tell people that they want into the line, honk when they are passing another car, honk when they are coming to an area where others might be turning in front of them and sometimes seem to just honk for the heck off it.
The other thing that was a bit disconcerting was that there were no orderly lines to get out of the parking lot…..everyone just pushed forward until someone was forced to stop.
The road from the airport is also brand new and was 6 lanes wide. People seemed to be traveling fairly fast on it, but Thomas kept his speedometer at 60 km (about 36 mph)….Michael said that he thought that the speed limit was actually 30 kms. When there is a stop sign, or any reason that the traffic is supposed to slow down, there are HUGE speed bumps to cross….even on the 6 lane highway.
Since it was so dark, it was a bit hard to see things around us, but the little that we did see showed a huge dichotomy between affluence and poverty. There were huge apartment complexes and large stores right next to small shanty’s and shops. There were several large stores that had rope lights hanging from the roof to the ground….it definitely helped them to stand out from the crowd. There were expensive cars driving on the airport road, passing vagrants sleeping on the median between the lanes.
The roads got smaller as we traveled into Bangalore, and as Thomas started making turns, each lead onto a progressively smaller road. He passed Paul Billy’s house and drove a block further to where the guest house is located. He showed us how everything worked and left us to get some sleep. We crashed into bed about 2:30am local time…..5pm Athens time.