The write-ups are just my random anecdotes, experiences, observations and wanderings while travelling. I got the opportunity to travel far and wide across India and the United States for studies as well as work purpose. From the year 2006-08- for my boarding school in the Western Ghats range, then from 2010-15- for undergraduate studies along the banks of Mahanadi river close to the Eastern coast. In 2015-16 for post graduate studies, I got the opportunity to live, study, work and experience life in the then great ‘United States of America’ (pun intended due to Trump), it was fortunately still functioning under the Obama administration while I was there. After returning from the US, I lived and worked at a law firm in Mumbai for a year. Thus being on the move for almost a decade, I have experienced any and every mode of transport, different languages, cultures, foods and most importantly- met and interacted with people from across the globe with diverse backgrounds and varied experiences. Now back in India, the work gets me moving and travelling around. Some encounters I had written at that time & place and some I recollect while writing. I can go on and on about ‘travel’ and the importance of it but for now, this write up is about when I was going back to the US to continue with the spring semester of LL.M. course at the University of Illinois, College of Law, after spending a short winter break back home in India.
En Route Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Not so long back, just a year and a half ago, it was the time when for me to take a flight to any First world country, I had to travel either to Mumbai or Delhi from where the major aircraft carriers such as Emirate, Etihad, United Airlines etc. operate. So the travelling itinerary used to be Nagpur → Mumbai/Delhi → a stop over in some country, depending on the airline (for e.g. if you fly Etihad then stop over will be in Abu Dhabi) → Chicago- the final destination. Just recently, with Qatar Airways starting its operation from Nagpur, the itinerary is shortened to hopping at three airports instead of four, so now its Nagpur → Doha → Chicago (or wherever one wishes to travel).
This was the second time I was flying to Chicago and the first time from Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in Delhi. I took a train- NZM Duronto Express to Delhi on 21st January that was scheduled to reach at 11 am the next day but got delayed by 7 hours due to thick winter fog. The train reached at 6:15 pm, I got down and rushed to Tilak Nagar where I had to meet a friend before leaving the country and then continued to IGI Airport. I was travelling by ‘KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ which has its hub in Amsterdam, the flight KL 3817 took off 3:00 am IST on 23rd January and reached Amsterdam at around 8 am UTC+1.
I was just enjoying the thrill of getting to step in new country even though limited only to the Airport. I roughly had around 4-5 hours to enjoy the ambiance of the huge airport before boarding the onward flight. I wandered and walked around and one thing that I was surprised to find was that there was a Casino in the airport itself. A few months later when I visited Las Vegas, I was ok with trying out the mini casinos and slot machines as soon as landing there but Amsterdam was an eye opener.
After some time I reached the food court to take a break. “Coffee and Croissant” is what is a cliché combination of F&B one must have when in Europe, I wanted to have either one just for the sake of it and also coffee or tea is always a tranquillising and relaxing companion while travelling. I first walked around the busy and buzzing food court filled with travellers waiting, sipping coffee, having a bite, talking with fellow companions, resting/sleeping or just busy with the screens of their phones/ipads or laptops. I found a coffee shop by the name ‘HMSHost’ and ordered one. The cappuccino was some € 4 which is a fairly high price for coffee in INR, but to heck with it “When will you be in Europe and get a chance to sip coffee next?” I asked myself and ordered one which was gladly served along with the balance euros. Then I came across the omnipresent food chain- McDonald’s but found that nothing was as appetizing as it is on the menu in India and I remembered that I had bought a ‘Mc Spicy Paneer Wrap’ in Delhi before boarding the flight.
I found myself a comfortable place to sit and have the European Cappuccino with the Indian Big Spicy Paneer Wrap in Amsterdam, ‘quiet an interesting coincidence’ I thought to myself while savoring it. Then I continued to the boarding gate and waited for flight KL 0611 to Chicago that was to depart at 12:40 pm UTC+1.
View from the waiting lounge.
A glimpse of the airport captured while wandering and walking.