Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The virus bugs the airlines

Poor old airlines complaining publicly about the truly xenophobic virus doing the international circuit and discouraging the idea of flying anywhere.
Of course, we shouldn't, but I couldn't help thinking back to the many times that airlines have shown no sympathy whatsoever in getting their check-in queues checked into flights.
Let me tell you about my worst experience.
It was my first flight with Air India and as I hope you'll understand, the only time I entrusted my life to that airline.
I was involved in seeing the world, but not from a ship or with some tour operator, but simply overland from the Antipodes by any mode of transport as long as it was going more or less West.
A part of the world I really wanted to see was India.

A shock to European eyes

It has another name now, but back then it was famous/infamous old Calcutta, which followed my journeying through Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, around Burma, and into Pakistan, which also carries another name.
Calcutta - as the spelling went then - was a wild place and a real shock to European eyes which had never seen the sort of poverty that vast metropolis hosted.
I walked its main streets to discover its mood but instead I saw extreme poverty and danger.
The safest bet, I imagined, would be to stay in a YMCA.
I found a seemingly organised one and checked in. Near its door, as if a reminder of reality, lay a corpse or two. 
Continues on 


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