Amongst all the others, I have also joined the Uber craze that is the new age taxi service! I must say I have really enjoyed the service, but sometimes you get drivers that want to out-smart the GPS and take their own routes. This afternoon was one of them!
I’m headed to the airport in Bengaluru/Bangalore to catch my flight to Jaipur, and as I hear the GPS tell the driver to “Turn Right” I feel the car taking a left instead. This can be very unnerving to those that do not know the area all too well, but luckily we were just driving through one of the back roads in Kadugodi village.
The driver said it would be much faster this way! Even though the GPS shot up a couple of extra minutes, it was definitely better than running into unexpected traffic on the main roads. In Bengaluru, it actually can take around an hour just to go 20 km/12 miles! I know… I give that look a lot too. But hey, while you’re waiting you have these gals and guys that will walk around trying to sell you items such as children’s books, pens, steering wheel covers and window visors. Then you just have the beggars who come and knock on your window for 3 minutes making “I’m hungry” hand movements. In my opinion, I think it would be smarter to just go into a restaurant or street cart and ask them… Unless… You’re just trying to scam me. However, on this particular day there happened to be a man selling peeled cucumbers so you could snack while you waited!
Yes, I did pass on the cucumber… He apparently didn’t have salt. Haha! So we jump onto the back roads and head towards the Kadugodi village area. Within minutes of driving down the dirt road lined with tasty street food, handmade clothing shops, and many places to buy an Airtel Sim card, I hear the sound of the train and see the gates closing leaving us, sadly, the last car not making it through.
Not only that, but here come the bikers and the auto-rickshaw drivers all squeezing their way to the front of the line somehow making us close to the last car in line now. I’m starting to think that maybe it would have been a smart idea after all to take that right instead. Thankfully I did leave early enough in hopes of trying the different eateries at the airport, and as long as my tummy gets full then there will be no monster raging inside of me today! 😀 ! I say this too because I have heard rumors that on Indigo and Asian Airways they do not serve complimentary snacks and beverages like most airlines that I have flown with.
So I made it to the airport! To be honest, the Uber driver really stepped it up and sped through those backroads to get me here in a very timely manner. 😀 ! I know most people may have been freaking out about the driver cutting to the opposite side of the road, weaving in and out of oncoming as well as passing traffic and dodging people walking on the sides of the road. I mean this too because if those side mirrors were a little more extended, someone’s side areas would be really sore right about now… Though, I have learned to have some faith in locals because they’ve been driving here a lot longer than I have. (Which I probably will never get into the driver’s seat while in India… I would freeze up and be the one creating those horrific traffic jams like the first time I drove through a blizzard in New Jersey!)
One thing I remember from arriving at the airport in Bengaluru is that you can only enter if you have a ticket. The airport has a metal bar you must stand behind if you’re dropping off or waiting for friends and family to exit through. (You can also purchase an entry ticket that allows you to wave goodbye from the inside!) I don’t agree with this 100% mainly because there are times when people need help checking in, finding a certain counter, or just need help with the extra luggage! Which you can also get here.. for another fee. Yet, from a security standpoint, I can kind of understand. I can’t understand all the extra charges though and feel this is just another ploy to get more money out of you.
After receiving my ticket, I proceed towards the security check. To my surprise, this happens to be separated for men and women. I kept looking for the women’s security line as I passed by men after men, after men, after men. X.x Then finally I see the single lonely women’s security checkpoint all the way at the end! I started to imagine all the time’s people had missed their flights due to families with more ladies, or groups of women travelers that just so happened to have men accompanying or traveling as well. In my personal opinion they should at least have more than one women’s security checkpoint as at least 3 of the men’s lines weren’t even occupied!
I laughed though as I was the only one taking off my scarf to place in the bin, along with my sunglasses, neck pillow, and other travel items. I was even ready to take off my shoes until one of the female security officers told me that wouldn’t be necessary. X.x .. I guess this shows how accustomed I am to practically undressing when going through security back in the U.S. I did happen to appreciate the fact that as I placed my laptop into a bin, I was given a tag with the number to reclaim my laptop. Which I thought was brilliant compared to other times I’ve stood there anxiously watching everyone on the other side thinking, “Don’t … Get … Near … My … Oh ok, that one is theirs”!
After passing through a regular metal detector I had to enter through another room with a female who carried a hand held metal detector! Here I was instructed to stand on a platform while she used her own to further scan me. Even the men had to go through this as well, and I did appreciate the privacy versus being stopped in front of everyone while random people starred at you suspiciously while your lady bits were being fondled to make sure you were, indeed, wearing an underwire bra.
These are a few of the trinkets you can pick up as souvenirs or keepsakes. The shop is located across from the security check. I spent a good amount of time looking at all the trinkets and idols. They had numerous amounts of bangles as well as hand-made bags! Though unfortunately, I did not purchase anything as I was pulled away by the great smelling aromas of different herbs, spices, and my stomach which was practically yelling at me!
I was a little disappointed by the available restaurants in the airport for the domestic flights. Granted there was construction happening right inside the airport with full on hammering, welding, and flying sparks… I managed to find the MTC restaurant and took a seat. It was really the only place to eat, but I hope after the construction there will be more options! The food, on the other hand, was definitely nothing to complain about! I ordered the vegetarian thali along with my usual glass of wine before boarding and I most certainly will be ordering this again!
The thali was presented on a round metal tray accompanied by several other samples of Indian dishes. The aromas from the different daal, curry, ghiya, kheer, and dahi were enough to get my mouth watering, and my thoughts rapidly trying to figure out which little dish I would try first! It was meant to be eaten with the white rice and the freshly baked piece of naan bread, but honestly, I started digging into the little guys alone! There was one dish in particular that stood out to me above the rest and it was the kheer. The kheer had an amazing silky texture and almost reminded me of a southern carrot and raisin salad. I would order this not overly sweet and slightly crunchy delight all in a dish by itself if I could! The kheer even went well with the rice and naan bread. My only complaint would be that the other dishes just weren’t spicy enough for me. However, when I say this please know that I’m the type of girl who pours habanero, sriracha, and Tabasco sauce all over everything I eat!
I still had another hour and some change left until my flight took off so after exploring a few more shops and popping into the prayer room to have a moment with the Universe, I decided to go downstairs close to my gate and enjoy another glass of pre-boarding wine. 🙂
To my surprise, the same glass of Cabernet Sauvignon (it’s really only a choice between this, Merlot, or Shiraz if you like reds) I had prior at the MTC restaurant was a whole 100+ rupees cheaper at ₹421 instead of ₹549! So please wait until you go down to the lower gates to have that glass of vino! The only upsetting thing from this place was the man running the register trying to charge me ₹570 as my total, including tax. I questioned him about this and after a moment of debating, he then explained how he “thought” it was an international tax charge :/ and lowered my bill back down to the ₹445 it was supposed to be. I understand the whole “let’s try to scam the foreigners into spending more money” concept, but let me tell you… I will argue with you until you get tired of arguing to be treated fairly.
Though soon after our little tet-a-tet, the gentlemen working the counter did seem apologetic, and who knows? Could it have been his first day not working on the international side? …Just trying to give the benefit of the doubt here 🙂 You can see the smiling trio behind the counter in the picture above, and how popular it is for a last minute bite, or in my case drink.
After finishing, I decided to go back up to grab a small snack for the plane ride as it had almost been 2 hours since my lunch at MTC restaurant. I stopped by the Time Out Bar, a cute place to grab a coffee, sandwich, muffin, or shot before boarding!
I opted for a Paneer Tikka Wrap and shoved it into my carryon bag. Only because I thought I might be told I couldn’t bring it onto the plane and would have to throw it away. Don’t worry it was packaged in plastic wrap so it wouldn’t leak out!
Once on the plane… the rumors were true! You had to pay for anything you wanted to eat or drink. I’m talking about the nuts, black coffee, juice, and even down to the water! You know, Indigo, you could at least drop your ticket prices (which happen to be just as much as every other competitor) considering you wouldn’t even give me a cup of water for free. 🙁
They did have numerous amounts of snacks and munchies available to choose from that they would bring by shortly after take off. Though, at this moment I was happy I had shoved that paneer tikka sandwich into my bag! Which, even cold was still a great tasty in-flight snack that cost just as much as one of their bags of chips.
The plane was pretty clean but I didn’t have the chance to check out the restrooms. This was probably because every time I looked up from my Kindle or cell phone here came the flight attendants pushing more than one trolly cart packed with Barbie watches, stuffed animals, travel accessories, coffee mugs, sleep masks, and more things for you to buy! I know, I know, this is all apart of their job. Which is why I will say they were at least a friendly, happy bunch who kindly smiled while trying to rob you in exchange for a cup, not even a bottle, of water….