Monday, March 22, 2010

Living In A Suitcase & On The Airports….

I can’t think of anything better to fit as a title given the situation where I am in at the moment. I have just landed back to India after a grueling session that I delivered at Sri Lanka. Normally I get a day or two’s rest once I finish any program but this time, due to the schedule that I had got, I have a session starting from tomorrow. So I had to take a flight from Colombo to New Delhi, had to wait there for some time and than had to take another flight from there to Hyderabad where I am at the moment. If you travel too much, you would see those places too which you may not have even imagined even that are there and this time, I did see one such place like this and that was the inter-terminal transit that I took. I never saw those places which are there in between of the international and domestic terminals. It was a small but still exciting bus travel. So after a total of 4 hours of flying in flight 1+ 2 hours of stop+ 2 hours of flying for flight 2 + 1 hour( how many hours in total? ) , I am now in my guest house writing this post. If this doesn’t qualify to be called living in a suitcase and over the airports, I don’t know what would!

The tour itself went okay. This was my 2nd official trip to SL and like last time, this time too, I was called for a program which was happening there for the very first time and I got the honor to be the first instructor to teach that advanced module there. Fortunately, two delegates, which were there in my last program, did also attend this one. It was good to meet them and also to meet some new delegates. The tour didn’t start off very well starting with my bus travel from my home to Delhi because my bus driver drove the bus like a jet plane and made all the passengers “kiss the roof” not sure how many times. Anyways, still both the bus and the passengers(including me) were in one piece so I took a cab and got to the international airport. There is a lot of renovation going on at the international terminal and the way things are shaping up, I am sure this terminal would come out as one of the best ones in entire India. Anyways, that’s a future vision but the there were some present issues which I had to deal with! I am not sure but I had a gut feeling that something would happen in this tour and it just appeared to be true when at check-in, airline staff told me that I am in a “RR” category. As per them, this stands for the Random Check category(  I don’t know how Check fits in R in the RR). Well, essentially this means that before my luggage would get a green signal, it would go to the customs and after they would clear me and my luggage, I would be allowed to board the flight. Hmm, now what can be the reason for it, that I am not aware of but the same happened with me long time back when I was traveling to Singapore and I had rescheduled my flight. According to airlines, if you do reschedule your flight, you have to clear custom. What kind of crappy rule it is isn’t it! Anyways, a rule is a rule and if you want to fly, you have to follow it and pass through the checking as well. So here I was, sitting on the stairs , waiting for someone to come and tell me that when, where I have to tell what’s in there my luggage? After waiting for about 20 minutes, one guy asked me that I am waiting for the custom clearance. When I said yes, he filled a form and asked me to follow him to the custom officials. There were three of them sitting. One official grabbed my passport and started asking that where I am going and why? I told them what I do and I got a session at Colombo so I am invited there. There was one another official sitting. He looked at me and said, there are very good beaches there too, did you get a chance to go there? I wanted to say that the only ocean I have seen in Sri Lanka is of Oracle and I have sailed in that only with my delegates but then I thought, it would be a too smart answer for a dumb custom official who probably would think that oracle is some club or something so I should better keep my mouth shut! I replied, yes I do know that the beaches are great and so is the crowd over the beaches and I shall try my best that I would get to spend some time over there for sure! He said, yeah young guy like you should have some fun! Sigh! Come with me Mr. Custom official and you would learn the new definitions of fun :). Anyways, I got the clearing and the next thing that I had to do was to get the security clearance. Well that’s a routine and important too so no issues with it. Cleared and than I was waiting for my flight to come and pick me up! Did I mention that in all of this, I had spent almost the entire time and had only about 40 minutes or so to eat something? Fun , yeah right!

I took this time a direct flight to Colombo via Sri Lankar airlines. This was the 3nd time I was traveling with them. When I first ever stepped my feet out of my home to travel outside India (and also anywhere outside my city) in 2004, I took Sri Lankan airline. While coming back,me and one another couple had a huge argument with the crew because of the poor service that they offered to us and unfortunately, things haven’t improved much since then with this airline! The only good thing which I got was that I got a direct flight of 4 hours rather than taking an intermediate flight from Delhi to Chennai and from Chennai to Colombo which takes around 7 hours in total including both the flying and waiting time. About the service of the airline, well I have nothing to say except this that the domestic, no-frill airlines that operate in India, even they are better than this one in the service, food and appearance. But some times, time is the most important thing to save so in that prospective, this did fit into the bill perfectly. After a boring, not-so-good 4 hours of flight, I was finally at the Colombo airport where my cab was waiting for me to pick me up and take me to Cinnamon Lake Side 5-star hotel where I was supposed to stay this time. Last time, I did stay at Taj Samudra which is from Taj group of India and is a part of the famous Taj hotel group of India. I thought it would be a good idea to compare both the hotels and I must say, Taj wins hands down in everything compared to Cinnamon. Be it food, be it appearance, be it service, be it anything, its the best place to stay in Colombo and if you like to have Indian dishes in your meals, you won’t get them anywhere better than Taj. The Cinnamon ,otherwise is a nice hotel, should be since its a 5-star hotel and has a very good name at Sri Lanka. I normally don’t get to enjoy any of the facilities of any hotel too much since my use of the hotel is only in the night when I have to come back and sleep so for me, all the hotels are almost same! And this time, even I didn’t get my sleep also too much since a couple probably was a little too much enjoying their stay at the hotel and they were creating lots of “noise” in the night which didn’t let me sleep at all for 2 nights. Other than that, its a good and nice hotel and if you do like Thai food,Sushi, sea food, there are tons of dishes that you can taste from these categories.

About the session, as I said, it did start off okay. The only issue which was reported to me that I speak a little fast and that appeared to be a problem for the delegates. I know that I speak a little too fast and the reason normally for that is that I want to say so much and if I would speak in a slow pace, I probably wouldn’t even able to say half of that what’s in my mind! But still, I need to work on it and I would do that as well. Other than that, I guess things were okay.

I didn’t follow what was told to me by that custom official because of lack of time. So all what I did that I used to stay in my room and did watch couple of movies, like XXX( no that “XXX” but the movie XXX ) , Exorcism of Emily Rose, Primal Fear, Mad City over HBO . I also did see two episodes of CSI, the famous crime series over AXN. Needless to mention that besides all this, I did read my Oracle book as well! That’s all was the fun that I had there :) .

As I said, I had to start a session here at Hyderabad tomorrow so after the hectic travel which I mentioned above, I am now at Hyderabad, the pearl city of India! Hopefully, things would go fine and session would start off well. I am too tired so I won’t upload those 2-3 pictures which I took from my hand phone at the moment. But tomorrow some time, I shall do that. At the moment, I am looking for bed to crash over it :) . I have got two blog posts in my draft folder which are not complete but for sure, I shall complete them and post here. But that would be later, at the moment, its sleeping time! Where are you my bed?


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