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From my dear Friends Marc & Ragni and their newsletter about their trips – this time they really earned the merit badge!


Up at 4;00am for our Leh-Delhi-London-Oslo return to Norway, the trip starts badly when Jet Airways (JA) announces a 2-hour departure delay, and defers some 5 hours upon our landing in Delhi (after a 75 min hop over the Himalayas), to reschedule our subsequent British Airways (BA) flights.

Once in Delhi, we’re placed in the temporary care of a nice but clue-less “loader”, powerless victims of a stunning ballet of group incompetence: a gaggle of JA employees pointing fingers at disappearing colleagues, shuttling us back and forth with our luggage within a cavernous air terminal architected to impress rather than accomodate. Accustomed as we are by Western organization and service we wonder out loud if we’ll ever want to return to India …

The next BA flight is scheduled to depart in 16 hours, at 2:20am the next day. Not only doesn’t JA fulfill its responsibility to re-rout us on “the next available flight”— which our trusted travel agent documented that they must (They shrug it off as “a mistake”) but they can’t even assure us that we’re booked on the next BA flight, which we’re told is fully booked… The matter must be decided by BA which, by the way, won’t be available until 3 hours before departure or 13 hours hence… So for 13 hours without a boarding pass to access a more comfortable environment (“La sécurité oblige”), and no guarantee as to the end of our misery, we must wait in the general entry hall of the monumental, cavernous, noisy Indira Gandhi Airport, with our cumbersome luggage in tow …

Fortunately we do board the next BA flight and sink into sleep for most of the flight above Parkistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, the Northern Coast of Turkey, Romania, etc… Arriving late in London we run to catch our connecting flight to Oslo… which our luggage misses… Every Frenchman knows that the endearing English practice of the understatement is in fact a sign of a time-proven art of deceit: They lead you to believe that you’re transferring within a single terminal, Terminal 5, when in fact you’re moving through a vast complex of buildings separated by a 2-station automated train line of at least half a mile long. My ancestral rant against the Brits is tempered when an empathetic English gentlewoman kindly lets me ahead of the security line in order to let me gain a few minutes.

All is well that ends well: son Patrice, and grand-daughters Gabrielle and Caitlin welcome us at Oslo-Gardemoen. They arrived from Oregon 3 days earlier and were pampered by friends Åse & Knut Arneberg near Ragni’s hometown of Moss.

We re-awaken to the cleanliness and order of the Norwegian landscape.

If only we could pay for it at rupee-prices …

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