Chennai > Portland > Frankfurt, aka Madras after dark, aka Next time, just bring one laptop, Mr. Michael!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/01/23 10:01 -05:00, original URI:

Now that was quite an interesting flight. Everything a nameless friend told me about how this was a much better trip in Economy than in Business was completely incorrect.

I am going to have to look into upgrading for the return; though I could probably make it okay, it just wasn't very comfortable....

I will say one thing -- for all of the harsh words from folks in Frankfurt about how much less organized and harder the experience would be in Madras, I found things to be exactly the opposite of that.

And let's not even get me started on the Portland airport plug that blew the fuse on my scooter charger. I'll have to get that fuse replaced or a few days from now I'll be hurting pretty bad!

Anyway, Frankfurt.

Frankfurt had no jetway for the arrival and I was forced to take the stairs off the plane. The person charged with getting me to the other gate almost took me to baggage claim instead (this person had trouble with both my English and the flight attendant's German, suggesting other issues beyond a language barrier!). I barely made it to the gate in time and the person at the gate refused to change my seat even though there were repotedly a few closer to the front of the plane available.

I almost wish I had a layover in Frankfurt - after all that effort, it seems like I at least deserved to get my passport stamped!

Anyway, contrasted with Chennai, where people spoke English great (and I suspect more gramatically than I!) and everyoje was very helpful getting me where I needed to go, up to and including the ride from the airport waiting with signs in two locatons to make sure they didn't miss me and a very helpful hotel staff, even well after midnight.

Everyone was very curious and interested in the scooter, like its range and stuff. It was quite unusual, but not in a bad way at all.

My only real concern was that the customs oficial refused to give me a re-export permit for my laptops (something I had been warned to ask for to avoid the possibility of being asked to pay duties upon departure).

Though she did assure me after she looked at them that no one would suspect they were bought in India.

I thanked her and started to turn to the exit. "Next time, just bring one laptop, Mr. Michael!" she scolded me as I scooted out to where my ride awaited me.

I'll probably never get used to that Mr. Michael/Dr. Michael thing, I have been hearing it since 2001 when Dr. Ponnavaikko first introduced himself to me in Malaysia.

I have to explain that I have no doctorate, but no one who made the assumption gets snooty (as they have before in the US on occasion!). People are just really nice....

Tomorrow I have to buy a mobile; I turned mine on for yucks and I was sent a text message warning me about a $2.49/minute roaming rate for service, which sounds more like phone sex rates than the kind of calls my phone usually gets. A local phone to use for a few days sounds more sensible....

Anyway, I am sure there will be more once I am out in the world here....


This post brought to you by(U+095b, aka DEVANAGARI LETTER ZA)

# Vinod Kumar on 23 Jan 2008 10:13 AM:

Welcome to India !!! Looking forward to meet you on Saturday in Bangalore for the Usergroup sssion :) ...

# Ben Bryant on 23 Jan 2008 12:17 PM:

You are bloggerific! I thought I'd have to wait until your return to hear about the trip.

# Mihai on 23 Jan 2008 1:05 PM:

Agree, Frankfurt can be quite bad.

This is my adventure from a few years ago: they have a special departures area for US (with extra security checkpoints and all). So I got there, very early, only to discover there is nothing on that side of the checkpoint except for a vending machine taking Euro only, no cards, no nothing. Being in transit, I did not have any cache, and especially not Euro.

Since I still had 2.5 hours, I wanted to exit and go to the central area, where all the stores are. No such luck. The exit was locked (!) and the guards at the entrance refused to allow me to use the "eingang" in order to "ausgang," even if there was not line, no nothing.

So I was stuck there for the rest of the waiting time with nothing to eat or drink.

Very friendly place!

# Pavanaja U B on 23 Jan 2008 9:00 PM:

> You are bloggerific!

Whah! I learnt a new word today. I knew many other words related to blog like blogging, blogger, blogosphere, blog-site, etc.

Michael (ok, no Dr, no Mr :-)), we are eagerly waiting to listen to you at Bangalore.


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