Day 2+3

I tried to post a day 2 entry from my Treo at Mumbai Airport, but I fumble-fingered the UI and deleted all my typing, so I gave up.

On Monday night I flew from London to Mumbai on Jet Airways. The service was superb: far, far better than on British Airways the night before. Unfortunately the guy sitting next to me was a fidgeter, and my sleep was occasional and fitful. Dawn over Iran was cloudy, but I got a wonderful view (and some pictures) of the bleak landscape in southeast Iran and western Pakistan: brutally bleak, a uniform dusty off-white with only brilliant white salt flats providing relief. And then after we reached the coast we vectored inland, over Karachi, and well to the east before heading south to Mumbai.

I arrived at the rather shabby 1960s-vintage international terminal, endured the bureaucratic tedium of immigration (there always seems to be one more form, or one more signature), rechecked bags for the connecting flight, and took the shuttle bus to the new domestic terminal. Here I made a mistake: I assumed that there would be services (ATM, food, shops) on the far side of the security barrier. Wrong: there was nothing. It was more like a bright airy modern bus station; lots of seats, and TVs, but no services and (apparently) no way back to the rest of the terminal. Without Indian money or liquids, I was stuck for four hours. I dozed, watched TV uncomprehendingly*, and eventually my flight was called.

[Need to speed this up – I have to unplug in 10 minutes.]

The flight to Pune was short and sweet (complimentary fresh lime juice), my bag appeared on cue, and the car to take me and two other passengers to the hotel was there. The journey… well, it was an eye-opener, as in eyeball to eyeball with a cow in the middle of the road. The roads were very bumpy (exacerbated by recent heavy rains), and the traffic was chaotic – but everything kept moving, and we got to the hotel.

At this point I should describe my first dinner in India. Sorry, no – I was falling asleep on my feet, so after a couple of phone calls I just drank a litre of water, fell into bed and slept for 11 hours.

So now I’m at the Pune office of Storability, the company that came to Sun by way of the StorageTek deal. I’ve cleared my email backlog, met a number of the staff, and had a delicious lunch at a nearby restaurant. I’m now preparing to head back to the city to check in to a different hotel, which is supposed to have much better connectivity.

*The bilingual aspect of Indian communications is oddly confusing. On the TV, they kept putting up “News Flash” in English, followed by the headline in Hindi. It wasn’t until I reached my hotel room and turned on the BBC World News that I learned that a government minister in Indian-administered Kashmir had been assassinated in his home by an Islamist gunman.

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