Kelowna to Calgary, Calgary to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Delhi, Delhi to Kathmandu.  I roughly figure 36 hours on the move.


But let me go back a couple of days. A few moments of panic occurred when a wayward nut set a goal to loosen a crown on one of my molars just 2 days before departure. The thought of a toothache in Kathmandu sent me frantically dialing my dentist and begging to the point of offering a kidney in order to be seen immediately.  Bless her kidney-loving heart, I was in the ‘chair’ next afternoon. Turns out the tooth fractured below the gum line and crown had to be removed. 


The good news is because I had already had a root canal in said tooth, it could remain as is until my return when it will have to be extracted and a bridge installed.  Much as I am grateful to my Canadian dentist, the difference between her cost ($3,500) and my Mexican dentist ($500), my business will go well south of the border next winter when we migrate to Yuma.


Back to flying.  Great start from Kelowna as I sat on the airport floor removing one suitcase out of the other and split the contents between the two all in full view of fellow travelers.  Seems my smart idea caused an overweight problem in the baggage rules.  I tried to explain that I weighed much less than the average passenger which made up for the overage of my suitcase-inside-suitcase brainwave, but the unsmiling face had no sense of humor.


On to the second lap.  The Air Canada aircraft was a new model.  A TV screen in front of each passenger allowed us to choose our own movies, TV shows, audio, etc.  Watched three movies, “The Reader”, “Hotel for Dogs”, “Taken”. Honest, I did try to cat nap but was not successful thus the marathon of movies. I’d have given my other kidney for one of those sleeping pods in the first class area!


 No problems getting around the Frankfurt airport to the Lufthansa departure gates except for the security screening wherein they had a more than particular interest in my travel digital clock which necessitated me being taken to a private area where they examined it further, decided it wasn’t a leftover mine from WW2 and sent me on my way.


Third lap. What was good about Lufthansa? Let’s see….I know, stainless steel cutlery, no snapping plastic forks. Not so good was the fact that I was now spoiled and did not have my own TV.  The passenger list was mostly of Indian ethnicity, understandable as we were on our way to Delhi.  Is it just Indian children or was I plain lucky?  One wee 2 year old darling had the face of an angel and the scream of train wheels executing an emergency braking on the tracks and he was obviously in love with his own voice. For six hours! Seems he was not the only one as we were eventually serenaded by a Delhi Boy’s Choir at full volume near the end of the flight. In spite of this I did manage some catnapping mainly because I had earplugs and had already seen the movie.


Now I’m losing track of time.  The meal, when served, could have been breakfast, lunch or dinner for all I knew, but with all the racket going on I ordered a gin and tonic anyway.  Here’s the difference between an Air Canada G&T and a Lufthansa G&T. No cute little miniature bottle on Luft.  It’s premixed and served with the remaining tonic in the can. Said can was Liliputian in size.  First sip and my tongue went into paralysis while fire exited my nostrils. Definitely no skimping on the gin!  No wonder I finally got some shuteye.


But back to that meal…Chicken Teriyaki and rice.  A sauce over the rice resembled the colour of urine and contained what appeared to be corn and coconut (aghhh!).  Don’t eat the yellow sauce!  Nice chunk of Camembert cheese on the side though.


Arrived Delhi at 2:00 am local time and it was still 34 degrees C. Here is where I have to collect my luggage and make my way to departures and Jet Airlines to check it in.  First, due to Swine flu we have to go through a ‘medical´ clearance. Everyone mobs this poor little guy in his scrubs and masque who is handing out the forms.  Answer the questions on said form, line up at a counter, someone stamps it and it’s on we go. 


Having reached the Jet Airlines counter it is now about 2:30 am and I am greatly looking forward to dropping off the two checked suitcases but find the counter is closed.  Dilemma #1: I’m alone¸ I have a baggage cart that won’t fit through the doorway of the washroom and can’t leave it unattended. Dilemma #2:  I am hot and dying of thirst and have no Indian rupees with which to buy water.  I sit, I wait, I wander dragging my cart around like a bag lady.  I find a money changing booth and am able to get my water.  Oh, did I mention the Indian soldiers walking around with their nasty looking guns?


The Jet counter finally opens up at 5:30 am. In line I strike up a conversation with a couple of other Canadians going to Nepal to volunteer at a medical clinic and an Aussie doctor living in the Philippines. The four of us pass the time while inching our way to the counter.  I place my two suitcases on the baggage weigh-in and am told I am only allowed one piece of baggage. I now picture myself sitting on the Delhi airport floor putting one suitcase inside the other and repacking once again.  However after a discussion including the words ‘thirty hours’, ‘volunteer’, ‘six weeks’ and a third kidney if I had one, the agent accepted my two bags.


Flight is delayed an hour and I have time to do a wash up and a change of clothes in the bathroom at last.  Wander to a coffee counter, a Starbucks knockoff, and figuring I now have to stay awake, order a coffee and confidently hand over my Indian rupees.  Seems they do not have change for that particular denomination and they give me my coffee free! Now why couldn’t the ticket agent be that nice?  Security…again.  The ladies walk through a separate security archway from the men and are then escorted to a screened off area where a female agent gets rather too acquainted with my body parts as she uses her beep wand and her hands to frisk me. All because my watch set off the alarm.  Then another agent removes everything from my carry-on and minutely examines them for 5 minutes.


Arrive in Nepal during a torrential rainstorm.  The first rain in 7 months. Again a Medical check-in, complete an entrance form if you can find one in English and complete a Nepalese Visa form.  Line up at the money exchange, line up at the Visa counter to pay for your Visa ($100 US).  Then line up at the Visa inspection and acceptance counter.  Note you pay for your Visa before you know if you are accepted or rejected!  My turn and I cannot find my passport picture for the Visa.  By this time I am starting to really feel the jet lag and just put my head on the counter while they figure out what to do. I’m the last passenger and alone at the counter.  Eventually they give me the go sign and I find the baggage pickup, grab a cart and race out to find my Coordinator who is picking me up.  He has gone thinking I had somehow missed the flight.


Picture this:  Little ol’ me stranded at the airport in Nepal hanging onto all my worldly goods, jet lagged and abandoned.  Stay tuned for the next installment!  I promise pictures next time.