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Today is the first day of our vacation to
I’m writing this on board a DC-9 headed for
As we were walking up to the gate, the man at the podium
told us the flight was overbooked, and asked if anyone was willing to take a
later flight. Kathy and I volunteered
because instead of two Delta flights (
We are supposed to fly from
We’re supposed to have three weeks in
So Kathy and I contacted Journey Masters to make hotel
reservations for the sites we wanted to visit, and also to book guides, drivers
and trains for the three days. Our main
contact was a guy named Duni who sent us e-mail assuring us that he had made
the appropriate reservations and requested us to pay him. We weighed all our options for paying him,
but didn’t want to send our credit card information in an unsecured e-mail, so
we asked for information on how to directly send money to his bank from our
bank. He e-mailed us back and sent us
two sets of bank routing numbers and account numbers. One was for a bank in
We spoke to our credit union (bank) about how to wire-transfer money to his account, and they told us there would be a fee. The fee for the New York bank was much less than the Delhi bank, so we opted to wire the money there. After some amount of hassle, we managed to wire the agreed upon amount to the New York bank.
Days passed, and Duni sent us an e-mail asking us where the money was. He had not received it. Concerned, we spoke to our credit union again, and got more information about the bank we transferred the money to. We forwarded this to Duni, proving that we had sent the money to the account he gave us. Everything looked good from our end.
Duni replied that he had still not received the money, and now he was concerned about us not paying him for the commitments he had made. On the other hand, we were concerned that he was trying to steal our money, since it must surely be sitting happily in the account he gave us.
Several weeks passed, with both Duni and us trying to
track down the missing money. The
destination bank in
Finally, two days before the trip, Duni sent us an e-mail
saying he had finally tracked down the money in
This trip is important to us, so we bought some new equipment for the trip. First, I retired my old Casio Fiva laptop I have used on other trips. It was starting to flake out: the screen would occasionally go completely black and we had horrible times trying to get it back. Second, it was very slow, and had too little hard disk space to hold our digital photos we intend to take. It only had a 10GB hard drive. Therefore, we invested in a new laptop, which I am using now. It is a Sharp Actius MP-30. It is a sweet computer because it is only two pounds light. It has a bigger screen for my 44-year old eyes. It has a 40GB hard drive, and wireless 802.11G networking, and a 1.6GHz CPU. Plus, it came with Windows/XP and WordPerfect, my favorite word processor.
The reason we needed the bigger hard drive is because we
decided to go all-digital with our photos.
We retired Kathy’s EOS E-Lan II SLR camera we used in
Well, we’re about to land in
We landed okay in JFK around 5:00pm ()
We proceeded to our departure gate, and discovered there
was no representative from Air
In the meantime, we decided to play a game of
In the middle of our game, an Indian gentleman approached me holding two dollars. He showed me a piece of paper with the telephone number of his son and he asked me in very broken English to help him make the call. I walked him over to the bar where I had him get four quarters for the telephone, then I walked him back to the telephones, dialed the number, and he spoke to his son. The call was fifty-cents for the phone and fifty-cents for five minutes of long-distance. His wife was talking when the time was up and he was cut off. He was very grateful for my help.
After our game, we saw that someone was at the Air-India gate and Kathy went to speak with them. Unfortunately, they told her we couldn’t get our boarding passes or seat assignments there at the gate. Of course it couldn’t be that easy. No, we had to go all the way back out of the secured area, go back to the Air India ticketing counter, and talk to them. Just what we didn’t want to do.
The problem was, the computer was only 97 percent charged, and if you unplug early, it cuts down the capacity of the battery. The other problem was that this was an international flight, and you’re supposed to check in two hours ahead of departure. It was well past that; only and hour and a half remaining. I sent Kathy to the gate to make sure we didn’t miss some timing window, and I proceeded to nervously wait for the computer to charge to capacity.
After about fifteen minutes, I finally gave up and unplugged it, packed it away and dashed for the exit, and upstairs to the Air India ticketing booth where Kathy was pacing nervously. There was a crowd of people waiting to check in, so we got in line.
Eventually we were processed by a man who seemed
knowledgeable, but he was slow and he mumbled.
We had to explain how we arrived on NorthWest Airlines, but our luggage
would be arriving on our original Delta flight.
He scribbled out some hand-written paperwork regarding the transfer of
our luggage to
We headed back to the security checkpoint and proceeded to wait in an extremely long line to get cleared. Eventually, we were permitted to go back to the gate and got right onto the plane, which was already boarding.
The plane was filled efficiently and we pulled away from
the gate without being too delayed, but then we proceeded to park on the tarmac
for nearly an hour before taking off.
Let me tell you: getting to
Eventually we took off and now we’re finally on our
way. Currently, I am on a huge DC-10
The wonderful thing is this: Air