I reached the gate of the PANAM terminal at the John F Kennedy airport and was sweating as I had rushed for boarding a flight to Washington DC. The next moment I froze in horror on realizing that my air ticket, the passport and other travel documents were missing. There were barely 45 minutes for the next flight to depart. My mind raced and then it struck me that on leaving the Air India terminal, I had probably left my documents on the desk of customs. I rushed back to the terminal almost 100m away and then re -entered the concourse. The customs official smiled as he saw me come and next moment I sighted the papers and the documents lying on the table. I thanked my stars and collected the documents. I somehow managed to board the flight for Washington DC in the nick of time. It was my first trip abroad but even now my mind goes numb when the event plays in my head.
A few years back, I was scheduled to attend a conference in Heraklion, in Greece, where I had taken my wife and daughter too! The ticket was booked from Delhi via Vienna to Athens. On reaching the airport at Delhi, I was informed that the Austrian flight had developed a snag and was in lieu given a ticket to fly with KLM via Amsterdam. The flight left 4 hours later. On reaching Amsterdam, I was informed that the flight for Athens had already left and the next one was late in the evening. So instead of cursing the luck, we decided to explore Amsterdam. The city of canals was beautiful and we arrived an hour before the flight to Athens was to depart. We reached Athens late in the evening, minus the baggage which was somehow not loaded on the flight. At midnight we headed to the domestic airport in Athens driving through the deserted streets. The officials gave us seats on an early morning flight . By the time we reached the hotel in Heraklion, the lovely capital of Crete, we had been awake for more than 48 hours! Thankfully, the baggage was delivered by late evening.
Missing the baggage is no big deal but have you ever picked up a wrong bag? Last year , I achieved this feat when I did this at the airport in Singapore. On reaching our daughter’s place, the lock would not open. On breaking the lock we realized that the belongings were not ours! Initially my wife lamented that I had packed the wrong stuff! Even the baggage tag was consigned to the garbage chute, in a hurry. So with a torch, I rummaged through the muck to retrieve the baggage tag. Next morning an additional trip to Changi airport had to be made. The story was explained to the ‘lost baggage’ section who were kind to help me in locating my bag and taking the wrong bag in their custody.
Right from the childhood, the dreams of Gulliver’s Travels, and Alice in Wonderland have set the imagination on fire. While , traveling one does land in fiascos from time time giving goosebumps and a momentary paralysis. In my many years of travel, the incidents of these kind abound , but has left me bolder than ever before. There is hardly a time when there is a perfect travel but god has been kind to salvage the situations. I am sure the readers too would have suffered at times due goof ups and would have had their own stories to share. Life could not be more interesting without such hiccups while traveling.
PS: 1.This is my 300th blog post and am grateful to all the readers who have undertaken this journey with me full of fun and surprises!
2. Image Kind courtesy Google