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And my Osprey made it to Cochi

Touch down in India

Touch down in India

Touch down local Kochi / Cochi time 10am / 10:00 Singapore 12.30am / 12:30 or NZ 5.30am / 05:30. Four hours just like pilot said.

Airline crew said that it was 28C outside. Nice.

With the plane full of probably locals coming home for Christmas, I was the only person with an E-visa and had to sit down in front of immigration staff to be processed. First time sitting down.

Got rupees which will hopefully last me the whole trip. I didn't see any ATM machines inside the customs / baggage area.

Thankfully my checked in bag came onto the conveyor belt.

Collected a prepaid taxi for 1,180 rupees / NZ$24.70 / US$18.25 and left the airport at 10.50pm / 20:50 local time or 6.10am / 06:10 NZ time = body clock.

At this hour of the night I was quite surprised at how busy the streets were with cars, vans, trucks, buses, bikes, tuk tuks, you name it if it had wheels were weaving their way. Most of the many roadside restaurants had punters. Kochi’s metro was being extended. The buildings had streamers of coloured lights hanging down in front. I had arrived in India. It will only get worse.

It eventually took an hour to get to Fort Castle hotel tucked down a narrow lane. Didn't look much from the outside. Just a basic G Adventures type joining hotel. Showed how to turn the hot water on. Switch on and let the tap run for 5 minutes before you get any hot water.

A long travel day.

Sleep is in order.

(Others in the group took them 2 hours to get to the hotel the next day - warning for my transfer back to the airport.)

Posted by bruceontour 00:30 Archived in India Comments (0)

"Mad" dash from T3 via the sky train to T2

Lost count of the number of times the airline crew came around and offered glasses of water to keep us hydrated. Plus the mini roll, chips, nuts or chocolate bars. Thanks Singapore Airlines - service always with a smile.

Dinner option was the pork.

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Captain informed us that he had made up some time and subject to airport control should land at 6.45pm.

Boats at anchor off Singapore

Boats at anchor off Singapore

IMG_1732.jpgTouchdown in Singapore

Touchdown in Singapore

Changi

Changi

We touched down 6.45pm / 06:45 local time or 11.45pm NZ time, 5 minutes short of 10 hours in the air.

It was another 15 minutes before the flight connected with the air bridge. Thank goodness I was sitting behind Business Class and at the front of cattle class on the upper deck so was off the plane fairly quickly. Then a "mad" dash from T3 via the sky train to T2 and the long walk to gate E11. I'm sure there was a quicker route. Perhaps I should have taken the bus. Had time to get the airport free Wi-Fi code.

IMG_1736.jpgIMG_1737.jpgSQ5368 = MI468

SQ5368 = MI468

Singapore to Kochi with a full flight of what appears to be local Indians going home. I seem to be the only non-Indian on board. Must be on the right plane. Actually I saw when leaving 2 European / Caucasians.

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So much for my leg room on this Silkair Boeing 737-800 compared to the A380. Only have to endure the 4 hours flight in seat 10C.

Tight fit

Tight fit

Lift off at 8.30pm / 20:30 Singapore time or 1.35am / 01:35 NZ time.

Fish or vegetarian? Fish please.

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Posted by bruceontour 00:21 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Time to head off

It's been a year since my last overseas trip (Laos and Vietnam). Time to head away again. This time Eve, yes my most valued travel agent, has finally got me to travel to one of her favourite countries - India. She has been trying to get me there for many years now.

Doing 2 x G Adventures trips. This time not paying the single supplement as it was too expensive so fingers crossed that like on my previous trips will be the "odd" male out and will end up in one’s own room anyway.

Hope India lives up to my expectations. I'm expecting a diverse country from the quiet low lying laid back south, a couple of hectic full on days spent in Mumbai and Kolkata before heading up into the north east hills with the tea plantations around Darjeeling. Will it be like the tea plantations of Sri Lanka which I saw 18 months ago?

Will I see the Himalayas again, this time covered in more snow than what I saw back in a summer around the mid 1990's? G Adventures brochure said "... see from Tiger Hill, famous for its stunning panoramic view of Mt Everest and Mt Kangchenjunga". Let's see.

While booked ages ago in June, but not knowing what laid ahead of me and what I've been through since then, it wasn't till yesterday at noon 24 hours before lift-off time when I started to pack and focus on the 33 days ahead of me. I'm the type of person who is packed a week before departure. What's missing as the first pack weighed in at only 13.9 kg? That's light for me.

My trusty Osprey

My trusty Osprey

As long as I have my passport, money and camera, suppose one can always buy what's missing. But could I buy a missing camera lead? That's why I carry 2!

Having filled 1/3 of my bag with Raro drink sachets, it finally weighed in at 19.2 kg.

But have I enough "winter" clothes for the Indian winter up in the hills around Darjeeling? With Google saying in January that it will get minus at night and a day time high of 5-7, or if lucky 11C, threw a beanie in at the last moment along with the 3 layers of Merino and my lightweight travel fleece jacket that I always take.

Just hope that it doesn't rain as I didn't pack any footwear for the wet. Could have packed a jandal / flip flop but forgot.

With the media saying because it is now peak travel season, allow another 30 minutes to get through the expected crowded Auckland international airport terminal. It was a breeze with no hold ups at all.

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With any daytime flights, I love looking out as we fly over the landscape below. But I know that Seat Guru said Singapore Airlines 380-800 upper deck and the front row seat 71A with that extra leg room I paid for in the rear cattle class has no window. View or leg room?

Well my 71A certainly had enough leg room and the bonus was the window just behind me.

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While the Business Class toilets were in front of me, it didn’t bother me.

While it was scheduled to depart at 1.30 pm / 13.30 and the itinerary said it would take 10 hours and 35 minutes, we eventually lifted off at 1.50pm / 13.50. The pilot said that the flight should take 9 hours 50 minutes. Let's see if he is correct.

Lift Off

Lift Off

Approaching South Head

Approaching South Head

South Head

South Head

Manukau Heads and bar

Manukau Heads and bar

Karekare

Karekare

Piha

Piha

On landing I have to get from terminal 3 over to terminal 2 in order to board my next flight to Kochi which lifts off in an hour after my touch down. Will I make it? But will my checked in bag join me? Hope so. Again took a photo of the bag, just in case.

"Can l give you a hot towel?" Thanks Singapore Airlines.

Downside I need to in future bring my own headphones. Can't use the "in ear" ones. Been on Santa's wish list but is it that I'm never at home at Christmas?

Just an hour into the journey lunch was served. Choose the red wine beef option.

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Posted by bruceontour 23:46 Comments (0)

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