Well, we made it, arriving right on time into Bangalore airport at 1:15 am on Tuesday January 9th. Miracles of miracles, there was actually a man among the small scrum of taxi drivers and waiting relatives outside the airport exit door holding a placard with “Ballal Residency Hotel Francie Royce” waiting patiently for us when we walked out after easily clearing immigration and customs and our hour plus wait to successfully claim our bags. There is nothing so comforting than to know that someone is actually expecting you when you are ready for a bed. A quick drive to our hotel, reserved via their website, and a sigh as we finally laid our tired bodies flat and slept for several hours. Except for feeling like I really wanted to just lie down and sleep for a brief period in the Frankfurt airport and couldn’t fit comfortably on those waiting room seats designed to discourage just that, the flight does not seem to have been miserable. The Bangalore airport surprised us somewhat that it is old, one baggage claim belt and not the high tech entry into this city that set the pace for India to be the world’s second largest exporter of computers and the location of call centers for numerous multi-national companies. (Next time you need help with your cell phone, computer or soft ware, ask the service representative on the other end of the line where they are and there is a good chance Bangalore will be their answer.)
Our first introduction to Lufthansa employees on this trip, and we have made several on that great connecting flight that opens up Portland through Frankfurt to hundreds of cities in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, was the obviously German supervisor at the PDX counter who was annoyed with her co-worker for politely asking us to come forward from the line and check in since the supervisor had wanted to help someone in another line. We looked around and a woman waiting in another line, smiled knowingly and we smiled back. Later in Frankfurt, during the unsuccessful attempt nap, Lufthansa check in crew announced over the loud speaker that everyone needed to clear the waiting room, and line up to one side in the hallway so we could be checked in. As a couple of hundred tired passenger confusedly moved to get in line, another Lufthansa employee gruffly barked that we were in the way of the 300 passengers that were deplaning at the gate next to us, and to move to the other side. Lufthansa is a comfortable airline to fly, the full tasty meals with choice of beverage, including wine, are served twice and departure times were fairly punctual. Some of their employees, however, seem to think that the airline would run smoother without those pesky passengers. We kept a good humor and laughed quietly at the national stereotype.