Posted by: tonkatsudelights | October 9, 2007

My India (Mis)adventures

A lot of things happened last week during my trip to India. Unbelievable. The ups and downs of it.

It all began nicely, actually. I arrived just in time to check in for the early morning flight, and I was upgraded to First Class. “The business class today is full, Ma’am”, said the man in the counter.

The flight to Mumbai was pretty smooth. Nothing to complain. Everything’s perfect.

But then the trouble started the moment we arrived at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Oh ya… btw, they are renovating the airport right now and it looks much much better these days. Wait until they finish with the renovation. I think CSIA will really be up to international standard.

I waited and waited for a long while at the baggage conveyor, until all the other passengers have got their luggages. That moment I knew that they have lost my luggage. In the first place, I shouldn’t have to wait that long. First class tagged luggages usually come first on the conveyor.

Luckily the SIA ground staff and the airport staff at the lost and found counter were very helpful. They quickly registered my name & contact number, and the SIA ground staff paid me 4,000 rupees without many questions. With some airlines, trying to get some compensation money for your lost luggage can be an arduous task.

Because of this, I missed the free shuttle bus to go to the domestic terminal. I didn’t know how far the domestic terminal is, so I chose to wait for the next bus. Luckily, my boss called me and told me not to wait, otherwise I would have missed the next flight! He guided me to go to the pre-paid taxi counter and get one taxi to go to the domestic terminal.

And I did so. I didn’t have any rupees with me when I left Singapore, but luckily I got the money from SIA so I didn’t have to scramble to look for some money changers. Paid 150 rupees for the taxi and off I went. Btw, you ever seen the old black and yellow taxi running on the streets of India? Yes, I’ve been in one of them. Here’s how it looks like…

  

Yupz, the taxi is basically an old car with no aircon (but one small fan for the chauffeur). And outside of the taxi, on the front-left side it has an old-style (but working) meter. This is the 2nd time for me to take such taxi in India, btw…

The driver might be wondering why this foreign lady was taking picture of him and his taxi. He couldn’t speak English so I couldn’t really strike a conversation with him.

Anyway… I was just feeling lucky I didn’t miss the next flight. Missing my flight to Goa will just complicate the situation.

When I arrived in Goa, I got news from SIA that my luggage was left in Singapore. It didn’t make it to the flight. That is the risk of checking in too near to the closing time. Some counter personnels are really good and they would request for special handling of the luggage if the time is tight, but some, maybe not.

So, what was I to do? I got a meeting tomorrow with no clothes and no toiletries.

Luckily, in this trip I was also accompanied by my direct report. I asked him to ask around for recommendation, where to get clothing and toiletries. Our chauffeur recommended the biggest department store in Panaji, the capital city of Goa. So off to Bombay Bazar we went.

Bombay Bazar turned out to be a typical 3-storey old-style department store. You would hardly find a department store like this in Singapore or even in major cities in Southeast Asia. The closest you can find it maybe… in some small cities in Indonesia, Philippines, or Thailand.

The clothings being sold in Bombay Bazar are mostly not put in display. They are folded in racks and etalase, and you would need the help of the shopkeepers to get them for you. They have a few fitting rooms for you to try them on.

Here’s a snapshot of a corner of Bombay Bazar. How the goods were laid out. The shopkeepers. The racks and the etalase.

I personally haven’t shopped like this in the last 15-20 years. It’s like a journey to the past…

I got myself a blouse for work, a t-shirt, and a pair of shorts. All for 1,125 rupees. To note, this place does accept Amex card. Which makes it much easier for me to claim for my missing luggage. Amex actually reimburse up to 200 SGD for luggage delay more than 6 hours. Hehe 😀

After clothing, my next step is to find some toiletries. No supermarket in sights… But as I checked, there is no supermarket in Goa, and the place where people can buy toiletries is what they call as a medical store.

What they refer to as medical store, I would call it as a warung in Indonesia. Not warung as a place to buy food, but a small shop to buy people’s daily needs. You can buy OTC medicine here, but you can also buy toiletries and other daily needs. In some warung in Indonesia you can buy things like bottled drinks, snacks, sugar, cooking oil, etc.

Nevertheless, the atmosphere of a local medical store in Goa reminds me of those olden days when I used to shop in warung, as a little kid. I remember those olden days, when I was in primary school, my mum often asked me to go to warung and buy the things that she needed…

If anything, this forced shopping trip in Goa is like a journey back in time for me. Rewind myself 15-20 years back and this is just how it felt back then…

I got myself all the toiletries I need for only 100 rupees. Very good price, indeed, for global brand products from P&G and Hindustan Lever.

In all actual facts, I’m not much of a shopper. If not for this missing luggage, I wouldn’t even think of buying anything (but food) from India. But one thing I do enjoy is the experience. Hehe… it’s not everyday you face something like this…

On the side note, my luggage arrived safely the next day. Fully wrapped, with an apology from SIA for causing the delay to my luggage.

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Responses

  1. Hi!
    You have turned awful expirence quite readable( Sorry to say but also enjoyable!!!)No doubt that at that very moment u might had felt very annoyed but hats off to you for surviving without your baggage in foreign country, that too like INDIA.Iam very happy to read that u got ur lost baggage quite early.Wishing u all the best,
    Kiran


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