Monday, May 2, 2011

Heading back to Canada

 I made my way to the airport in Chennai without's always so weird to be driving at night when there is no traffic or horns honking.  My check-in at the airport went well and I was sitting waiting for my flight with two hours to spare.  I decided to pick up some duty free...lugging alcohol for 30 + hours is not so fun, but the price was so good it was hard to pass up.  By 4:10am  we started to board the plane...I'm traveling to Doha, Qatar...4.5 hour flight...on my first leg of my journey home.

The flight was non eventful and I was exhausted, so I spent a large portion of the trip sleeping.  I only had 1 hour and 15 minutes to switch planes in Doha, so when I finally made it to the Doha terminal, I was a bit concerned when I saw the hundreds of people pushing their way through the crowd to get to the security screening point.  I thought there would be no way I would ever make my flight, but surprisingly so, the crowd moved along quickly and I made it through the security check point within 30 minutes.  Since this was a US flight...I'm flying from Doha to New York City...14 hour flight...I had to stand in another line upstairs to go through another security check...gotta love flying through the US!!!!

I made it through this security check by 8am...this is what time my flight was to leave...and made it to my plane by 8:20am.   Needless to say my flight did not leave on time.  When I finally made it onto the plane, the captain told us we would be delayed due to a technical problem...the A/C was not working and needed to be fixed.  This took about two hours, so we all sat on the plane for an additional 2.5 hours before we even took off...not what you want to do when you have a 14 hour flight ahead of you.  On top of this, I asked for a window seat and got a middle seat....yuck!!!!

By 10:30am we were on our way to NYC.  The flight was packed and I had lots of young kids sitting all around me.   Lots of screaming and crying....this was certainly going to be a long I put on my headphones and watched 5 movies, listened to lots of music, slept and ate three meals.  Not that bad after all, but glad when we finally touched down in NYC.

In NYC, I had to go through customs and immigration...when I entered the immigration area I actually saw two large billboards advertising Habitat for cool is that!!!!  As I was standing in line in immigration along with hundreds of other people, I noticed on the big screen TV's that Osama Bin Laden had been killed and that the USA was on high alert for potential retaliation.  Just my luck to be in NYC when this would happen...I will be glad when I'm back on Canadian soil.  It's a bit strange that this all happened while I was traveling home, since I left on a year backpacking trip two weeks after 9/11 and the war on terrorism broke out while I was in all comes in full circle I guess.

When I rechecked my luggage in NYC I found out it weighed 20kg...only 7kg more than when I left...not too bad!!!  Once again I had to go through security as I had to change terminals.  To my complete surprise I was not allowed to bring my duty free purchase...1L of Bailey's Irish Cream...onto my plane!!!!  Apparently I needed to put it in my checked baggage before I rechecked it at the other terminal since I was not on a direct glad someone thought it might be important to let me know this before I checked my luggage!!!  Needless to say I was NOT impressed to leave my liquor in the garbage in NYC...they guys behind me in line said they would help me consume it before we boarded if I kind of them!!!!!

After I got over my unexpected security incident....thankfully I wasn't too cranky after being awake for 48 hours...I found my gate and boarded my flight to Halifax at 7pm.  My flight was once again non eventful...but very cold...and I arrived in Halifax at 10:30pm.  I made it through customs and immigration without incident, picked up my luggage and found my pre-arranged taxi without incident....lord it's COLD here...30 degrees cooler than India!!!!

On my way home I realized the federal election results were just coming in...a majority Conservative government with an NDL opposition...interesting results.  While chatting with my taxi driver about my travels in India I think I peaked his interested in the Habitat for Humanity Global Village experience...he even asked me how to apply!!!

I am absolutely exhausted and ready to sleep in my own bed.  It seems a bit strange to arrive home with no one to greet me...not even my dog...but nice to have a "normal" toilet...with toilet paper!!!!   I expect after a good night's sleep it will all hit me that I am back home and I will begin to relive some of the life changing experiences I have had while visiting such an interesting and memorable country as India.

Until then....

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