Hard to believe, but it’s been two months since I’ve been in Austin. Let’s rewind back to my flight details.
As mentioned in my previous post my flight was due to depart at 04:45, and I would have to reach at the Airport by atleast 2AM. Since I didn’t have a vehicle, I called up a call-taxi and arranged for it to come at 01:30. The airport was about 45 minutes from where I stay, and wasn’t sure about the traffic (if any - plus it was kinda stormy that night/early morning) so revised the taxi timings and asked him to come over at 01:15.
(Un)fortunately the taxi driver was a little too fast and I was at the airport by 01:45. And by 02:15 I was done with baggage check and security clearance ( I didn’t have to check-in - I’d done web check-in 12 hours ago and just had to pick up the boarding pass and was directed straightaway to the counter to pick it up). Plenty of time to kill. I pulled out my laptop so that I browse the ‘net - and guess what - the Airport didn’t have any free WiFi and the paid WiFi required sending of password to cell phone - which maybe fine, but I’d already given up by number to Ashmi since I would not be using any more, and soo the sending of password was useless. Remind me again, why they need to send the password via an SMS ? Why not generate a unique one-time link to authenticate ? Yeesh. The other alternative was to get an hour’s worth of WiFi from a Tata Indicom booth nearby ( hey, something’s better than nothing!) and the brilliant guys over at booth thought it was fit NOT to have anyone man the station. Huh, not much sales I guess.
So, I pulled out my iPhone, played few games, listed to some music, caught up on some feeds and somehow killed time. I thought I’ll get some smokes, so went over to the airport lounge, asked for some mints, chocolates, a Tropicana and some cigarettes - only Marlboro was available. I was shocked when they told me the total bill was Rs 350. I was like WTF and started looking at the bill and prices listed on each item. The FUCKING bastards had charged Rs 275 for the cigarettes - whose MRP is Rs 100. I raised it up with the store attendant - and the female had no clue and called in the manager. And you know what - that FUCKING manager actually had the audacity to tell me it’s “airport” price. I raised a big scene here - c’mon you fucking believe this ? Those bloody bastards are looting everyone, charging over 2 and half times the prices and ACTUALLY justify it AIRPORT PRICE ? What kind of scum bags are these ?
I gave them an ultimatum stating that either they charge me at a price not exceeding the MRP or else they lose my sale, and when they said no - I returned the items back. It’s rather unfortunate that no body ( atleast not many people) were close to the shop - and it’s unfortunate this daylight robbery still goes on.
Anyhow went back to my place, did some more timepass till the time arrived to board the train. There was a stopover for couple of hours at Doha, Qatar. Purchased a carton of cigarettes for a colleague of mine. Moved on to my Qatar airways flight from Doha to Washington.
The flight was uneventful, no surprises or chirpy old ladies to bother me. I must confess though, more than anything I was rather worried about what about would await me at immigration especially with my Visa statuts. Thankfully, immigration was done rather quickly ( and without a hitch) and headed to the gate at which my flight was due to depart in another couple of hours. I gave my colleague Anup a call & informed him about my arrival.
When the boarding call arrived and I handed over my boarding pass for the final flight from Washington to Austin, I got another shock when the ground staff told me that my seat had already been checked in by someone else(!). With only few minutes for the boarding gates to close, I got a bit jittery about this situation and on having to miss the flight again. Thankfully the flight attendant got this cleared and I was able to to board the flight *just in time*.
So finally made it to Austin. It’s good to be back here. Temperatures were in the high 90’s/low 100’s when I arrived, but now it’s gotten cooler as is around 70-80. I haven’t been to too many places outside Austin -in Austin - I drop by almost every week to North by Northwest . Also paid a visit to the Alamo Drafthouse - s pretty sweet movie theater which serves food and drinks as you watch the movie.
In other gadget news, I’ve purchased some new goodies - the Denon AH-C360 in-earphones ( no thanks to those security folks @ Chennai airport who destroyed my SoundMagic PL-11), and ofcourse my new baby, the Envy 14. I’ll post a review on each of these soon. Also, Jeff Atwood sent me over a D-Link DGL-4500 for helping him out with a new recommendation and my contribution to Super User.
Also found couple of Mangaloreans near Arlington, hoping to meet them soon. So let’s see how it goes. Will post an update soon.