KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
There were no direct flights from Croatia to India so we chose to fly with Emirates through Dubai. It wasn’t until after we’d completed the booking that we realized that we would be flying with the Emirates low-cost airline called FlyDubai. It turned out to be okay as the plane from Zagreb to Dubai had barely fifty passengers and we had comfortable bulkhead seats.
However, I swear they parked our plane out in the desert somewhere because it took over half an hour to ride on a bus from the plane to the terminal where we were told we had to transfer to a different terminal. Wouldn’t you know it? The bus eventually arrived to take us (the only passengers on it), back to the terminal where our flight from Zagreb had landed. That took another forty minutes. So much for any relaxing time in the airport lounge.
It didn’t help that it was the middle of the night; we arrived in Dubai at 11:05pm and departed for Delhi at 4:10am. The flight put us into Delhi at 8:50am so at least it was daylight – but the pollution was so severe that we could hardly make out the runway when we were landing. Anil’s two brothers were at the airport to meet us, but only travellers with tickets are allowed in the terminal.
They had to wait outside in the morning chill, with nowhere to sit. Meanwhile, we stood in line for an hour and a half waiting to get through immigration because we were arriving with an e-visa. It was chaos with several flights arriving at the same time and only two agents processing passengers with e-visas. There must have been five hundred of us in line. What really slowed things down is that fact that the agents were taking biometrics – fingerprints and iris scans from the passengers.
For some unknown reason, when we stepped up to be ‘processed’, the agent just looked at our printed visas, stamped our passports and waved us on through. I had recently counted how many times I’ve travelled to India; this was my seventeenth visit, it has never been easy.