After more than 6-8 months of talking and planning (I have even lost track of when we started to think about doing the ride) I finally move to the next phase – action. I am now sitting in the waiting area at Heathrow Airport awaiting to board the Qatar Airways flight to Doha and then onwards to Delhi, and funny enough, all the excitement that was there a few days ago appears to have left me. I guess the adrenaline has run out for the moment after the stress of my last minute packing and checking in.
Revisiting my first blog about preparation, I now find it funny how after all those chats and discussions about what to take and not take, I actually packed my stuff about 8 hours before the flight. And then comes the realisation that all that was recommended cannot fit into a baggage limit of 30kgs. I wonder if any of the airline executives have ever packed their own bags and travelled on a trip covering two different climate conditions. The decision on what to take and what to exclude took about couple of hours and involved complete unpacking and repacking at least twice. Goondas be warned. 😀
Anyway, managed to get it down to few kilos (5kgs) more than the limit, and the nice chap at the Check-in counter did not make too much of fuss. But then he sees my camera bag and asks me to put that on the scale …. 17 kgs. My first thought was WOW…I carry that on my shoulders all the time. 😀 Then the nice chap suggests I include that in checked-in luggage and we start a long discussion about guarantee that my camera gear will not be damaged..blah blah blah. Ultimately, he gets fed up with me and lets me carry on (Now that is an achievement) 😀
Next challenge…getting through the security. Normally I always get picked at security due to my trekking boots which are Steel-toed. To avoid any unnecessary attention on this trip I decided to leave the boots home and instead took a pair of normal Trainers. The Airport Security must have thought we cannot allow Nimish’s journey to be less stressful….so instead they decide to strip search the whole 17kg camera bag. Every camera body, lens, battery, memory card, you name it, was individually inspected, swabbed and scanned. A normal 2-3 minute passage through security took precisely 40 minutes, albeit with a smiling face. However I am not sure if the security lady was genuinely being pleasant or was enjoying my plight, but may be next time I should drive to wherever around the world I want to visit. 😀 😀 😀
Anyway, all done now until I reach the chaos at Delhi, which I am sure will be another story to tell. Till then time to put feet up and enjoy the airline hospitality (I hope). 😀 😀