Saturday, May 17, 2008

USA 2008 - Arrival - 16 MAY 08

After a gap of around 25 years, I made my first out-of-country trip. And like last time, it's the USA this time around too. Getting a good deal on airfare was tough even though i started hunting a good 5 months prior to departure date. But then I heard, I should have started 8 months back! So anyways, it Jet Airways finally. The only downside: I had to fly to Newark and then i had to change flights and airlines to go to Detroit - my final destination and base whilst in US.

The flight was damm good and on time. Overall, Jet Airways's experience was very good and the leg room was also quite good, better than we had expected. The food was very good, and we relished the various delicacies that they served us. Choice of Indian and Continental, vej and non-vej was given to us. Service was also good. But the flight was jam-packed and I heard was over-booked.

Brussels was a quick stop where we did not even realise how time flew. We were there for about two hours but the airport was so large that it took forever for us to disembark, go to the other end to embark the aircraft for Newark. Mom loved Brussels - the scenery we saw before landing was awesome, just like English country-side with beautiful homes amidst lush green fields. Mom immediately thought of buying a house there!!! The airport was also very beautiful and as expected sparkling clean.

We landed at Newark at around 11.30 local time amidst rains and gutsy winds. It was cold and the temperature outside was 14 degrees C. By God's grace, everything went of smoothly. Unlike in India, luggage carts are not free. But what I would find out later in the trip as being not-free would shock me, and you too when you come to that part. I paid $6 for 2 carts.

Customs and immigration was quick and we thereafter surrendered out bags to the officials to be shifted to our onward flight to Detroit. We took our that we took the sky train to go to Terminal C; we had arrived at Terminal B by Jet. One of the good things at the international airports is that they have trains to go from one terminal to another. The train at the Detroit Metro City Wayne airport is newer and looks more swanky. Anyways, it was a long walk from the station to Gate 85 where we boarded the flight. Gate 85 is right at the end of the Terminal C. We went through security checks; they made us remove our shoes too. Everything was very systematic though, so we didn't encounter any difficulty. Staff at both, Brussels and Newark airports, were very helpful and courteous. I've heard the JFK staff is very aggressive though. Continental flight arrived at Detroit at around 4.30 or so and since we had already gone through customs and immigration at Newark, we came out in a jiffy.

The new Detroit Metro Wayne City is fabulous. It too has a sky train, but only to go from one end of Terminal A to another. Terminals B and C do not have sky trains. With good signage everywhere, one doesn't have any difficulty in finding one's way. We walked from our terminal to Terminal A - and eventually to baggage claim - in an underground passage that took us from beneath the taxiway and aircraft parking bays. It's a long walk, but time flies by quickly especially when you keep admiring the beautiful underground passage whose walls change colours like a fountain whose lights change colours. Rusimama's car is so large that all our 4 suitcases and hand baggage got neatly tucked away in his car trunk at the back. I won't be surprised if in addition to all of that, I too would fit in! After a sumptuous dhan-daal and fish patia (Villoo mami's fabulous cooking magic had just started and there was much, much more to come) and a glass of white wine, I could barely keep my eyes open; yet it was around 9.30 by then.

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