Through my eyes

living my life without regrets

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Flight From Kathmandu to Varanasi

Wake up call 6AM for Flight at 10.30AM. Of course we are on time; actually we are a bit early. Checking out of Nepal is no problem, but getting off the ground? Difficult! We are delayed, and again delayed and finally take off at 2.30 PM. The reason we’re late? Nobody tells us, could be fog, could be no plane, and could be anything. Being this late means we lost our connection in New Delhi. One can not fly directly from Kathmandu to Varanasi, those are Indian rules. Only a few airports in India are set up with “Immigration” facilities. Yes, we have to enter India again, we need another visa, the first visa we had is no longer valid. We knew about this and we all have a 2nd visa with a certain time slot on the visa, telling us what days we can arrive, how long we can stay, etc. India has rules. So, again, we must go to New Delhi first, take our luggage, have it inspected, book another airline to Varanasi but it would be a tight connection. Remember the fiasco we had going through immigration when we used our first time entry? But what choice do we have? We are on a schedule. We all agree to have a travel agent book us connecting flight on a 5 PM flight even though it's a different airport terminal, a different airline, etc. it will be very, very tight.
Packed Waiting Room for Flight to New Delhi

So we finally leave Kathmandu at 2.30 PM and arrive in New Delhi at 4 PM. We have 1 hour to push all of our Group (16 people) through Immigration using new visas, get our bags from the plane and then go through inspection, find the local representative, get on a bus stow ourselves and the suitcases, travel to the other section of the airport, 10 minutes away by car, unload the bus, check in all our bags and ourselves and then get on the plane to fly to Varanasi. We must do all of that in 1 hour. Welcome to India, it worked with 5 minutes to spare. Thank you Dinesh, you are the best. And thank you Harry, the local rep in New Delhi
Another Long Wait for Flight to Varanasi (only stair seating left)

who knows the ins and outs of the airport well. Those guys were unbelievable. Some of our paper work was not elegant, we had 3 boarding cards on 1 sheet of paper for example, but we had  all the paper work, it all worked. Even Immigration was relatively ‘fast’. The bus was on time, everybody hustled. Again it was a show of amazing India. I am still dumb struck on how it all worked out.

So…. Now we are all smiles and ready to board the plane to Varanasi but…welcome to India…the flight is delayed. Instead of leaving at 5 PM as per the schedule, we now have to wait. There are not enough seats in the waiting room, all seats are taken. Some of our group have to stand. Some, like Carol have a seat, and we all wait. I find a spot to sit along the wall, on the floor; next to large staircase. After a while my butt hurts sitting on the concrete. We wait. I find an improved seat along on the stairs. Next to me are all kinds of travelers, all waiting. Why we wait we don't know, but we just have to wait. Welcome to India. We finally leave New Delhi at 7.15 PM, arriving at our Varanasi Hotel at 10 PM. All of this bureaucracy, the delays, they all add up. What should be a 2 or 3 hour affair takes a whole day.

So what is next on the agenda?  Varanasi: the oldest city in India, maybe on Earth. Tomorrow's wake up call is at 5 AM.

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