The trip to Delhi involved a 5.5 hour flight to Heathrow. We were asked to de-plane and go through customs. Everyone on our plane with a musica instrument was asked to leave it with the attendants and then we were to put our other carry on items through the X-ray machines. This didn’t make sense, as it would have been just as easy to take our instruments with us and put them through the machine as well. When we made it through customs, we were waiting to re-board the airplane for the trip to Delhi, but our instruments were not there. We asked several people to return them. At first, they said they couldn’t find them, but asked us to board and that they would bring them to us. We resolutely refused. I told them my instrument was worth more than my house and wouldn’t board without it. Finally they “found” them and we were the last passengers to board the 747 to Delhi. Whew!
Our flight to Bagdogra left the next morning at 10:10 a.m., so we were bussed to a military compound to spend the night. We arrived there at about 1:00 a.m after collecting our baggage at the Delhi airport, which was awash in a sea of people waiting for incoming flights. The military sight seemed to be a barracks for officers that we rented for the night. It took several hours for the staff to write each of our names and passport numbers in a log, and have us sign our names. They kept our passports. Were they afraid we would leave under the cover of darkness? The smog in Delhi was incredibly thick and smokey. It tasted like coal smoke to me.
After being horizontal for about 90 minutes, it was time to get up, figure out how to get the hot water working for the shower, have breakfast at 6:00, and board a bus for the airport for our domestic flight to Bagdogra. Between jet-lag and no sleep, we were all pretty puffy-faced and weary.