The day starts with my bed empty; my wife had to leave early for work, so we said our goodbyes the night before.
I take a look at my luggage: My bag is full and I worry I may have overpacked. Inside were about 6 shirts, 2 pants, 5 pieces of underwear, an extra pair of shoes, a Macbook Air, an iPad mini, 2 DSLRs, 3 lenses which include a giant 70-200 lens, an extra waterproof camera, a battery pack, my TMA-1 Headphones, plus other accessories.
Yes I had more gadgets than clothes in my bag! Even though it weighed about 30 pounds, it looked quite compact. I wonder how I’ll be lugging this around all over the world.
I pick up my bag, all set and ready to go, but not before leaving with one more picture with our son Diego.
I head out and it was slightly drizzling. I hail a taxi, and as usual the taxi driver tries to milk me for more cash. We settled for an additional P50. I knew I shoulda did GrabTaxi instead. I expect to be at the airport around 9:45AM, enough time before my flight leaves at a little past noon.
I arrive at NAIA1, and a LOOOOOONG line was waiting for me. NAIA was old, antiquated, due for an overhaul, but hey, it’s still my home airport. I just realized this is one of many airports I’ll be visiting on this trip.
Being a Citibank miles cardmember, I was able to hang out at the MIASCOR lounge for a bit. If you’ve never been there, it’s a nice quiet nook in the middle of one of the world’s most crowded airport. You can get unlimited snacks and drinks, plus free wifi. It’s not much, but it’s a nice oasis in the middle of the hulaballoo.
I eventually take my first flight for this journey: Cathay Pacific for a layover at Hong Kong, then fly to India via Jet Airways.
As most Pinoys now, HK isn’t very far. Davao is actually even farther from Manila. The trip was an uneventful 2 hours… or so I thought.
In just the very first leg of my trip, I already lost something! After going past the gate, through security, and the arrival lobby, I realize I left my travel pillow in the plane!
I searched for the CX desk, and they said the plane already left. Uh oh. They said I can try calling Cathay Pacific when I get back to Manila. Realizing that I won’t be back for a month, I figure my neck pillow was gone. Knowing myself, I was pretty sure this was not the last thing I’ll lose in this trip.
This leg was also the LONGEST layover in my whole trip. I had a 5 hour gap before my next flight. Good thing HKIA has a lot to offer, with free wifi to boot, and plenty of places to charge my devices.
I grabbed a mid afternoon snack, and noted the tables were getting filled up. I wasn’t the only one who was waiting for the next flight.
A gentleman approached me and asked if he could share my table. After a while, we got to talking (part of my plan to be more social in this trip).
His name was Michael Bromfield. I tell him my plan to circumnavigate the globe.
Turns out… he arranges travel adventure tours! Apparently he organizes experiences similar to what i was doing, to travelers from all over the globe! What a funny coincidence.
He showed me pics from his last trip: Antarctica! Which is again perfect, because my wife and I were planning to go there someday. We shared our stories (he was quite an interesting character) and the time flew by quickly. Eventually he had to leave for boarding; we said goodbye, exchanged cards, and said maybe I’ll talk to him about Antarctica one day. You can find out more about him at http://www.notesfromanomad.net.
Not too long after that, I went to board my own plane to: Jet Airways to New Delhi. Jet Airways would be the first of many airlines I’ve never flown in, so that’s another part of this adventure.
And wow it was different. Take a look at business class. The photos don’t do it justice, but each seat was actually angled in the plane. It’s kinda like a small pod, to give them more legroom. I was in economy though, so I didn’t get to enjoy those seats.
Having said that, economy in Jet Airways wasn’t so bad! The food was indian of course (never had Indian on a plane, this was the first).
I don’t know how, but somehow I found myself in a conversation with my seat mate, Raj. And wow, did I learn so much about India in that conversation. I didn’t realize that India was a collection of states, similar to the USA, and sometimes they go in conflict with one another.
Looks like this “more social” thing is working. In just my first day, I’ve made two friends, and I haven’t even reached my first country yet!
After a few hours, I finally land at New Delhi.
Ok now let’s talk about the Visa thing. If you remember, the countries I was going to were specifically selected because for Filipinos they had other no visa requirement or they were visa on arrival. India was one of those that were visa on arrival. So how does the process go?
Well, it’s simple. You got to the Visa on Arrival desk, you fill out a few papers, pay the $60 fee, and in a few minutes… you’re done! I was the only guy who went straight to the desk and the whole process took about 5-10 minutes. The best thing about it was that I didn’t need to go the immigration line anymore!!!
So yes I have landed. Welcome to India!!!!
This is going to be fun.