Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ports Illustrated

My wife and I fly quite a bit. So airports play a somewhat important role in our lives. Here's a disconnected paean/rant about two of them. (Current, satisfied?)

MAA was where I first set foot on a flight - the one that would take me out of India for a while. Obviously it trumps any airport. If you haven't heard or are not human, returning home is the best feeling ever. You are in for a surprise as you get out of the plane at MAA though. Water molecules that were relaxing in their subdermal, cellular residences, rush out to greet the parched atmosphere with a frenzy. The water carriers (us) are pleasantly surprised/highly annoyed when we find we have taken a shower without asking for one. Quickly finding yourself standing next to similarly sweaty/glowing co-passengers, cooped in a bus taking its time around the tarmac, doesn't help your extra sensitive olfactory nerves. Inside the airport, you find that MAA has learnt from it's western counterparts and is now charging Rs.35 for a tiny cup of coffee and Rs.40 for 12 pieces of chiclets. You will need to sell aircraft that you do not own to buy a samosa and some ketchup. The paper plates are free.

You need to be wary of any airport that has terminals 1,2,3 and 5 but not 4. I liken ORD to the mofussil bus stands in Chennai. The only thing missing are the hawkers and handkerchiefs on seats. Buses..er..flights operate on ORD Standard Time, a timezone that always extends beyond your flights ETA. Instead of conductors yelling 'Mayaram, Mayaram' or some other destination and banging on the sides of buses, there are irate gate attendants. Go on a Friday evening and you can find them yelling for people to give up their seats in exchange for a later flight or a hotel room and a round trip ticket. I wonder if someone can stay at the airport indefinitely by just paying for one ticket and then giving it up repeatedly for more tickets. Anyway terminal 3 really has the best choice for food. When buying a sub causes a credit check to be triggered, wouldn't you rather have a choice? Can someone really explain what is there in the food at airports that makes them so exorbitant? Gold dust??


Anonymous said...

dude...dont you know that airport food is awesome. Cooked special and so crappy that you eat so little and dont puke when you take off :). Then the airlines can also charge you for food - which makes the airport food seem cheap and tasty.

catcharun said...

Thanks for the comment, gups. That's right abt the US airlines. I got reminded about the force feeding that happens over indian skies. if IA and the others continue feeding rasgollas and full meals, there might be some clogged arteries up there.

gauri said...

It's that last minute panic. If you don't submit to airport food, you are stuck having to subject your palate to the airline food. Frying pan Vs. deep sea :D

I learnt a new word today :) Like the way it rings....mofussil :)


catcharun said...

Or you might have no food. I once ate 4 bars of trail mix waiting on the tarmac for 2 hours. No boast that, just self pity :)

it's how we always called our local bus stands. i looked it up once and i think an Urdu parenthood was mentioned

madraskaapi said...

nanba, thanks for penning this. but i am still waiting for the main plot :-)

fleecing is the word you are looking for!

trivia : mofussil means suburbs.

catcharun said...

current: this is the plot..you wont get anything else :)