Rather than wait for confirmation of refund we booked the Indigo flight immediately. We figured that if we missed this flight we would just be compounding our losses with our accommodation and connecting flight that are already paid.
We got into the queue for check-in and waited our turn, as you do. We are used to making sure that our bags weight and size are correct, Mr. Ryanair has us trained like circus seals. But India seems to have very few restrictions other than the usual, no guns, explosives, nail scissors or battery items in your bags. So, a couple turn up with 6 bags between them and they get a bit miffed when the check-in staff want them to remove their laptops from the luggage. A battle ensued where they insist that they are not going to remove their laptops because the laptops were in the bags when they arrived three days earlier. Now personally, if I had been lucky enough to get away with a breech of packing requirements I would take the win and keep my month shut (those of you who know me that’s a big ask). But this couple are hysterical and shouting “I want to see your supervisor now!”. Wow, even to facially express your dissatisfaction with European ground staff you risk being grounded. Here the supervisor arrived and calmly and respectfully told them they needed to remove their laptops. I have no idea what was in the bag and as it was a domestic flight I’m guessing it wasn’t drugs. Yet, they refused to remove the laptops and so voluntarily left the airport. I was surprised to see every make and shape of cardboard box or plastic bag being presented as check-in luggage and not an eyebrow being raised. Anyhow, after waiting and finally getting our turn we are turned away because our bags hadn’t been screened at the entrance to the airport.I was so grateful we had allowed loads of time to get through the airport and pick up the bags and quickly had them screened. Absolutely painless and was returned to the top of the queue with no objection from others waiting as they seemed to appreciate our time served in the queue.
Bags checked in and off we go to our terminal gate. I had wrongly assumed that we had completed our security screening but as we approached the gate there were passport and hand luggage checks. I didn’t think I had any illegal contraband with me and was surprised when I was taken aside and my bags were taken apart. The security officer insisted I had electrical devices in my bag and I insisted it was my mobile phone and laptop in the tray. Item by item were removed and put to one side. Eventually I place my vape out and that is when he hones in on this as the criminal. I’m absolutely baffled. I have managed to stay off the cigarettes for over a year now with the aid of my vape. I had bought additional batteries and cartridges so as not to be tempted to go back on the cigs and now I discover vapes are illegal in India? Every device is taken from me, about two hundred euros worth and I am disappointed but grateful I’m not being fined. I look into this and later discover that India is a tobacco producer. They also have a strong tobacco lobby who managed to convince government to outlaw vaping based on the argument that younger people might take up vaping rather than smoking. It’s a logic I have failed to rationalize but I am now without vapes which have been my crutch for a long time. It was very straight forward after that we got the flight to Mumbai and arrived with plenty of time to get to our connecting flight to Goa.
I was directed to go outside the building again and was told I could get a taxi if I headed right at the exit doors. I could not see any taxi rank and could see on google that terminal 2 was some distance away. We stood around trying to figure out how to work this but nothing was clear. Started walking the length of the exterior of the building as indicated by google maps but it just looked like we ran out of path. Two foreigners looking lost and bemused drew the attention of an official who was directing traffic. He very kindly approached us and asked if we needed a taxi guessing it was for terminal 2 and pointed across the road to a tuk-tuk station. Over we went to discover a very efficient system. There was an endless supply of tuk-tuks and no fighting over the price. You were given the next available vehicle at a fixed price. In we climbed into the vehicle, stacking our bags on the seat in front and off our driver went.
I was surprised to learn that Mumbai is bigger by population than Delhi and very different. Although we just drove through the city it didn’t seem to be any bit as crazy a Delhi. The driver drove with a reasonable level of caution, or perhaps I was becoming more accustomed to the driving, whichever it all seemed more in control. That feeling quickly disappeared when another tuk-tuk comes along side us as we are driving and asks if we are going to terminal 2. He then went on to tell us that our driver wouldn’t be able to take us to terminal 2 as only taxis were allowed there and tuk-tuks were prohibited. Our driver noticed him speaking with us and although our driver had little to no English he knew this guy was causing trouble. Our driver started shouting at the other tuk-tuk driver as we continued driving on the motorway. The road rage made it feel like we were in an action movie. I was more worried about that shouting than anything the guys were saying to each other. The interloper was so cheeky and told us not to worry as they were brothers and his brother didn’t understand the rules. Now our driver starts shouting "liar!" and pulls across the traffic, reigniting memories of Delhi to park at the side of the road where he gets out and starts to take picture of the other guy's vehicle. At this point the other driver gets back into his vehicle and takes off. I never cease to be impressed by the scams that we are regularly presented with. We may have believed the other guy if we were tight for time and in a panic to get to the other terminal. As it was, we had plenty of time and knew we had been directed by an official at the airport towards the tuk-tuk in which we were traveling. But I imagine this scam would work a treat on anyone in a rush and panicking that they might miss their flight. As it was we made our flight. Security was a breeze. I was confident and oh so sad I had nothing to declare. We had a comfortable and uneventful flight to Goa. All we needed now was a taxi to our apartment.
We land in Goa to a crammed and chaotic airport. The place was packed but it was the day before New Year's Eve and I got the impression that Goa was the expat and party capital of India. Just an impression, I’m basing that purely on my observations. Everyone was dressed up and ready to go lounging by the pool or walking on sandy beaches. So as we enter the arrivals hall and we are assaulted by taxi drivers asking where we are going and do we need a taxi. Róisín went to ask at an information desk how we go about getting a taxi. To her discovery, there are independent controls at Goa airport so that tourists can avoid getting ripped off. Personally, I believe there are controls on airport taxis because the prices bear no relation to any other taxi fare anywhere in India. They are through the roof. Not by Irish standards but defiantly by Indian standards. We had been getting 4 hour drives for €30 to €40 whereas Goa was looking for €16 for 30 minutes which made me wonder if we were still in India or were we in a totally different country? Anyway we hop into the taxi and make our way to the AirBnB that we booked along the Goa coastline.
Hi, I'm Olive and I am the writer of this blog. I am traveling the world with my 22 year old daughter, Róisín, who has just graduated University. I wanted to document this journey because it is unusual for a woman of 58 years old to go on adventure that most students do on a gap year. I will try to share my insights into this epic journey with you along the way and maybe inspire more people my age to go on these crazy adventures too.