Defining an itinerary and buying the air tix are a test of the sincerity of one’s belief that it’s the journey, not the destination, that matters. Every step is an act of faith in someone else’s integrity and competence.
With that, I realize that the preparation phase too is part of the reason we travel. We travel, not only to find ourselves, but to find others; “find” in the sense of discover, uncover, reveal.
An important segment of this trip is the journey across a portion of India. Simply finding someone to sell me the tix I want has been revealing.
My web site hosting service has two clients whose web sites promote their discount air ticket selling businesses. They are commonly called a “consolidator.” After a fruitless month of trying to get each of them to quote me a price, I gave up and bought the tix from one of their competitors (Air Treks.)
So I have the tix.
On September 14th I’ll fly out of Newark Airport on Malaysian Airlines, headed east to Sydney, Australia via Stockholm, Sweden and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I’ve been on this route before and prefer it over the traditional route of flying west to Los Angeles or San Francisco, then non-stop across the Pacific to Sydney.
It’s not only cheaper, but the planes are much less crowded, the crew is larger and more attentive, and the two breaks along the way are more comfortable. The less obvious advantage of the less crowded planes is that I can almost always find a row of 5 empty seats in the back of the plane. Put up the armrests and you have longer, flatter bed than First Class.
I usually sleep on each of the three segments. The trip may be longer but I arrive fresher and with less jet lag. This particular itinerary sets me down in Sydney around 8:00pm.
After clearing through Oz customs and immigration, there’s time for the usual hugs and hellos with family and friends before the yawning sets in. I’ll get a full night’s sleep.
Yep, I prefer this routing.
Around Oct 15th I’ll get on Thai Airlines at Sydney, do a layover in Bangkok and then fly from there to Delhi, India. I’ll spend about two weeks riding the famous India rail system. I’ll visit Agra (the Taj Mahal), Jaipur, Varanasai and Mumbai.
Around October 30 I’ll catch a British Airways flight to London, layover at Heathrow just long enough to hate it – and then slide into Newark. By Nov 1st, I’ll again be breathing the pure bracing air of Jersey City.
Yes, I hear Jersey City neighbors and friends asking, if you want a good goat stew curry with a Mango Lhassi, why not just go over to Rosi on Newark Avenue? Spare yourself the jetlag, not to mention (please do not even mention) Delhi Belly or the Bombay Trot.
Ask me that question again on November 2nd.