DUS to Abu Dhabi turns out to be an easy flight. I have an entire row for myself and manage to get a few hours of sleep in. This should help later.After all, it’s plenty of journey left.
Etihad has actually nice planes and friendly staff. This kind of travel is easy.
Abu Dhabi at 1:40 in the morning. Trying to catch a few more minutes of sleep. Still enroute to Delhi. Really busy and loud here. Every 5 minutes an announcement, how should one get rest?
At least I got 3 hours of sleep in a sleep capsule, a great Swedish invention. That turned out to be a brilliant idea.
I keep seeing food and feel hungry again but decide I will stay away from any sweets. I know it’s because of the sleep deprivation. So, no food right now.
“Toilets” as they call it here are way too few. There’s literally lines of people.
A 6.5 hours’ flight finally takes me into Delhi airport. It’s humid and not the most welcoming place but it’s what it is.
New Delhi immigration officers.
N&U nice and useless. Until here things went just fine. Then came the immigration. Most of the officers are still sleeping or at least show no interest. I manage to find one. That individual does not look to comfortable though?! What’s going on?
After a lot of additional paperwork (what’s the purpose of e-visa?) I’m told I cannot come in as my visa is only valid for one entry. Well, how about you use it for this one? Thoughts? No!
One entry but 30 days. I did not catch that one. Bummer! Now what?
They send me up, down, left and right but nobody wants to deal with me. I end at a closed door with one junior officer waiting for it to be opened by a senior. I have no time for this. Going back, grab that dude and ask him to move. End again in a long line with no movement and people that for sure don’t know why they should do what they do.
Too long, I decide and walk straight back to where I came frame. Just grab another officer and it seems to work now?! Yes?! No idea why but I get a stamp and are good to go. No ask, no tell.
Now, where’s my bag? Running by 12 belts, none moving. Find a screen that shows Abu Dhabi belt 9. Got it. 15 min too late. Nothing there. Sh*t!
Finally see a guy with a trolley and plenty bags pushing that thing down the hall. My bag on top. Give it to me, baby. Thanks.
Where is DrukAir? Need to check it in again for Paro?
By now I lost my cool. Im in a full sweat. Have done multiple sprints after 25 hours of travel.
Nobody seems to speak English. Even in Kolkata the majority of folks was pretty fluent.
People are usually friendly but not helpful right now. A guy tells me to take the lift to the 2nd floor. But that’s domestic flights, I was told international. I’ll try.
The controlling officer tries to spell my full name and is excited when I compliment him. Man, I love you trying, appreciate your kindness but I’m in a hurry. My flight leaves in 25 min and I’m not even through security.
I manage to get past that guy but again can’t find DrukAir. A friendly helper, send from heaven leads the way. Found it.
A great, bright smile is asking for passport and flight details and checks my bag to Paro! Strike!
Final task is customs and security. Let’s hope for the best and relax. I manage to relax again. Until 2 of the 4 officers just leave the desk without any word, which doubles the wait time. Really?!
10 more min later I finally make it through. Let me get this straight. You stamped me in 30 min ago and now stamp me out. All with maximum paperwork, why the e-visa again.
Final step is security and if you travel enough, which I do, you know this is not an easy one. Luck is required, always!
I pick the fastest line. At least that’s what I thought. It turns into another stamping action. I don’t have a tag for my bag?! Running again, while leave my bag behind. … Made it!
Now I have 3 min to get to gate 10B. As luck had it, 10B is at the very end. Wow! A 3min/km pace is needed.
I made it but I look like a wet dog.
Summary: bag enroute to Paro, me too! All good.
I almost got a window seat on the left to see the Himalayan mountains when flying into Paro but it did not work out.
I already met two fellow runners from Heidelberg, Claudia and Christina. They had their challenges as well. Security in Germany confiscated some of their survival gear.
Waiting for takeoff.
I managed to take a few pictures though, as one of my fellow runners has a window seat. Amazing! I see the peaks standing out of the clouds. Wow! And soon I’ll be running through. Life is great!
1.5 hours left and I shall have reached my final destination. That is the airport. There is still an 1.5h drive to the hotel, where checking and pre-race briefing take place. Way to go. But it’s already within a group of co-runners, which makes things a bit easier on the mind. I’m calm… Start to settle and really looking forward to the upcoming days.