Airports: Bag Exams and Breast Exams...
1.9.10 0 °F
We woke up to our last day in Nepal. We had a long day of travel ahead of us and we were not looking forward to it. We had a 90 minute flight to catch from Kathmandu to Delhi at 3pm and a seven hour layover in India before our overnight plane to Bangkok. Ugh. There is a reason our tickets were so cheap.. They gave us the sucker seats.
We did have some last minute business to take care of before we said farewell to Nepal. We needed post cards, stamps, and knives.
As we made our way up and down the streets of Kathmandu, we saw a few small shops dedicated to selling genuine Gurkha knives.
A little history for those of you who are lost:
The Gurkha's were fierce warriors from Nepal and India who fought for the British army in the 1800's. They were best known for their barbarism and strength and were said to be naturally aggressive and war-like. Despite their small Nepalese physique, They were imdomitable and apt. They were said to be loyal to death and more disciplined than any other fighting force in the world. In other words: They were badass.
The Gurkha's guerrilla jungle fighting tactics were aided by their weapon of choice, a knife. Not just any knife, the Gurkha kukri knife is possibly one of the most renowned knives in the world. It's curved blade is a vicious killing machine. Tales of the legendary kukri say that if the knife was drawn in battle it 'had to taste blood' or the owner would have to cut himself before he returned it to it's sheath. The kukri blade could slice a man in two before he could grimace a look of surprise and for this is said to be the kindest quietest death.
How sweet! I wanted one! What is a better souvenir than that! My mother will say that it is morbid to desire this handheld slayer, and call me what you want, but I did. I marched back to my favorite knife shop and picked out a beauty.
I bought beautiful silver blade carved with Nepalese symbols, encased in a beautiful sheathe made of black yak bone. It's a beast and it's all mine. It will sit on top of my mantle reminding me of my travels to Nepal and reminding others not to mess with Emily Michele!
With shopping out of the way, we packed our stuff, waved goodbye to Nepal and headed for the airport.
I had a scare when I got to the airport and realized that I had no clue where my passport was. It wasn't in the pocket I thought it was and I clawed apart my bag in panic. "How could I be so stupid" I thought as I pawed through every crevasse of my purse. Turns out, it had migrated to a different pocket and had been right in front of my face the whole time. "How could I be so stupid", I thought again.
We entered the airport anticipating a quick departure. Entering Nepal was incredibly easy so we expected just the same leaving the country.
Just to enter the airport we had to stand in line and show our passport to a security guard who ushered us over to an X-ray machine to examine our bags. I thought we'd have a problem with the knives tucked into our packs but they waved us right through. I wondered if the machine was even on or if it was just for show.
We entered the ticket counter line and turned in our two bags in exchange for boarding passes. We walked toward the escalator to the customs area and were stopped again. Apparently our carry-on bags needed tags that we were not issued.
We headed back to the ticket counter. They handed us two ID tags, the kind that you can write your name and address on, in case your bags get lost. I looked at the flimsy piece of paper and thought, "There has to be a different kind of tag they're talking about." I secured the blank piece of paper to my bag and walk to the escalator, sure that I was about to be turned away once again. He looked at the unofficial blank ID and waved me right through. I waited in the customs line, handed in my disembarkation card and passport, received my stamp and was on my way.
Turns out "my way" was only another five steps to the next security line. I handed my purse to the next manual checkpoint as a line of woman fingered each compartment. They stamped my boarding pass and waved me through to man who checked to make sure I had the stamp and granted me access to the terminals. The "terminals" consisted of a large room full of people and two unlabeled doors leading to the runway. I waited in the line for a few minutes before it split in two and I had to go to my respective 'Women Only' line. This meant that I was, inevitably, going to get felt-up. I stepped in a small booth where a woman attendant stood, deep in conversation with a man across the room. As she looked at him, her wandering hands landed on my left breast and sat there for a good 30 seconds while she wrapped up her conversation. She turned back to me and continued my mammogram until I was officially violated.
I continued out onto the runway and stood next to a large group of people waiting for the bus to take us to our plane. The first bus was already filled past capacity, so I had to wait for the next one. I watched the bus drive no more than 30 feet away, stop, and unload it's passengers. Are we really waiting to get crammed into a bus to take us 30 feet? I could walk over there in a fraction of the time it took to coordinate this convoluted plan. It didn't seem too efficient to me. I went along with it anyway.
I stepped off the bus to wait in, yet another line; another line and another checkpoint. Once again they mauled through my belongings and set me on the road to tit-touching town. It was a bumpy ride, but I passed my breast exam with flying colors.
Other than that, it was smooth sailing. I had a nice flight and was able to reflect on my time in Nepal. I had mixed emotions. I was sad to go but more than ready to relax in tropical Thailand. Nepal had been good to me. It was much more laid-back than India, the people were friendlier and hassles were few and far between. I wish I would have had more time to spend there and in hindsight I would have traded some of hectic India for more time in the Himalayan hillside. I was only in Nepal for a week and had an opportunity to experience the city, the jungle and the mountains, and it was a great combination of scenic activity. Besides the frequent power outages, I don't have any complaints except that I couldn't stay longer. I will definitely return to Nepal and next time I will leave a larger allotment of time.
Shortly after I got situated in set 32C, we were beginning our descent. I was back in India.
The Delhi airport is actually really nice! I walked around for a while, entertaining myself at the overpriced kiosks and sampling the duty-free perfumes until it was time for dinner. Having a generous amount of time to kill I walked around perusing different menus and comparing prices until I finally settled on a cuisine. When we left India the first time, I swore off Indian food. My body could handle no more curry! Despite my oath, I was intrigued at the thought of a tasty Indian buffet. I think it's the American in me, if I hear the word buffet, my ears perk up. I've also had a lot of luck with foreign buffets. Back home a lot of the buffets consist of greasy, poorly-prepared food, that is left out under heat lamps until the next Roseanne Barr look-alike comes along and finishes off the last of the tater tots. All of the buffets I've had on the road have been a delicious way to sample all of the native foods and they have all been fresh and satisfying. I also figured that if I was going to try Indian food again, it may as well be in a place I know is hygienic. This airport was nicer than all of the airports in the U.S. and the restaurant had a cool modern vibe to it. The "Sports Bar" was dimly lit with red neon lights surrounding the bar and twinkling lights poking through the ceiling. The seats were sleek and stylish and the booths were huge with lots of room to spread out for the remainder of our airport stay.
Before I agreed to the buffet, I had to get a look at the goods. They looked good! Everything was fresh, there were 5 different kinds of salad, a station for pasta and parantha made right in front of you, and a mouth-watering dessert table. I was sold.
The meal was as delicious as it looked and I felt good with my decision. It was a tasty and hygienic last Indian meal and a great note to leave on.
Goodbye Nepal and, once again, Goodbye India!
- SIDENOTE: The show I was working on at AMS Pictures in Dallas TX, entitled "Ma's Roadhouse", premieres on September 15th at 9pm! http://www.trutv.com/shows/mas-roadhouse/index.html
From Executive Producer Andy Streitfeld and AMS Pictures, comes Ma's Roadhouse a new reality show on TrueTV!
Rick Fairless is the owner of Strokers Dallas, a Texas motorcycle shop, tattoo parlor and biker bar. His greatest asset is his 71-year-old mother, who's also his best, but most outspoken, employee. Can Rick keep his business afloat? And can Ma keep her hands off the bartender?
I wish I could be there to watch it with all the hardworking people at AMS but at least, by then, I will be back in the states and watching intently from my TV at home You guys rock!