We had a lovely relaxed morning, finalising packing and saying our farewells.
Lots of people came to say goodby, the jeweller, the grocery man, the wood furniture man, Amin (Ashraf's brother) etc
We left for the airport at 1:30, traffic was light due to another strike with shops and businesses shut. Not sure why.
When we got close to the airport the chaos started up again.
They checked the bottom of the cars for bombs, all the luggage had to be taken off the cars for a security check, then a quick frisk and pile the luggage back.
Drove on and eventually arrived at the airport, for another security check to enter the building. once inside the luggage had to go through another scan. This time they tagged our luggage and there was lots of confusion as to what to do with our cabin bags. Mine got tagged incorrectly and ended up having to be check it in. That left me with just sunglasses, my passport, my phone and a bottle of water. The bag had my purse with my credit card, my glasses and details of my e-ticket. I was worried that I may not see the bag again.
We also had to fill in a departure form (departure from Kashmir) and we could finally check in.
Then the "fun" started. The plane came in late so a bit of a delay, but we boarded eventually. The plane was full and just after we started to move, an argument erupted between two Indian passengers. Within minutes there were half a dozen men shouting and pushing. The stewards tried to calm them down without success until the pilot announced that we were turning back and security will remove the passengers involved. Immediately there was silence and they all took their seats.
When we got back to base a number of security men boarded and took two men away for a while, but they returned. The pilot announced that the men promised to behave and they were part of a family group of 17. Although they deserved to be taken off the flight we were glad that they were not. Having to find and remove their luggage would've caused further delays. This way the flight left a mere 1 hour late.
We arrived at Delhi domestic without further trouble, but just getting our luggage and finding the shuttle to the international airport was a bit of a challenge without Ashraf to guide us.
Once there everything changed. It was like any other international airport, calm, clean, spacious with helpful staff. In fact another world.
Monday, July 01, 2013
Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India