India ... here I come

Thursday, December 21, 2017
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Thursday 21 December 2017
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 ones 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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2021-12-07