slivka.com > Trips > India 2011 > Tue Apr-19

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Tue Apr-19 FRA->MAA, Chennai, Andy and Bess
Ben arrived in Frankfurt at 8:45 a.m., walked off the plane, boarded the bus, and was ferried to the main terminal. He found gate B45 and plugged in his iPad and BlackBerry to charge.

United Airlines flight #9310 (Lufthansa again) departed at 11:05 a.m. Ben sat next to Shanti, who was born a five hour drive from Chennai and married another Indian and moved to the USA 15 years ago. Her mother had fallen ill and she was flying back to see her in the hospital. Shanti shared many observations and advice about India with Ben.

The A340-300 traveled approximately 4,724 miles in roughly 9 hours, arriving in Chennai (MAA) just before midnight. As we approached the airport the cabin humidity rose markedly, and when we stepped off the plane it was quite warm. With only the a carry-on soft luggage bag for clothes and a computer bag, clearing customs was a snap -- perhaps 10 people in each line.

Exiting the airport brought the heat on and there was a large crowd of people holding signs for Mr. Xyz and Mr. Abc, and with only a few hours of sleep in the past 30 hours, Ben stared carefuly at each sign. Finally finding his driver, Ben clambered into the small sedan, and the driver backed up and started honking furiously at the car in front. Indians honk a lot, regardless of the size of the vehicle, as a safety precaution, as all but the largest multi-lane roads have pedestrian walking along the edges (and sometimes in the middle of the road).

The taxi driver was unfortunately not very skilled, so he didn't know where he was going, got lost several times, stopped to consult with random people standing on the road side (it is well past midnight now), and finally we arrived at the home of Ben's friends Andy and Bess at 1:30 a.m. Andy gave been a very quick tour and Ben got to bed at 2:00 a.m.

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