As I boarded the Swiss Airbus, I got nervous by the sheer size of the aircraft and to add to that I was told that the flight was jam packed. I found my seat and luckily it was a corner seat and not somewhere in the middle. 20G – that’s towards the end of the middle passage.
At exact Swiss precision, we began for take off at 1:40. There were so many thoughts and feelings running through my mind at that point of time. As we got on to the runway and the speed suddenly shot up, I was pushed towards the seat, almost nailed to it. Then suddenly the feeling that I was in the air – I was flying! All my nerves were calmed down when we started to cruise at an altitude of 11000 feet. The twisting and turning of the aircraft was a truly amazing experience.
The in-flight entertainment screens started showing clips about air safety and other important tips. As soon as we were stable in the air, the PA announced that we would be served a small snack. I was not really hungry and wanted to have some sleep, but the person sitting besides me was already asleep and snoring away to glory! Shattering all my thoughts of a peaceful sleep. So I browsed through the in-flight entertainment and listened to various music and finally watched ‘Déjà vu’ and a documentary on ‘Pierre Cardin’. I tried to sleep in between the movie but simply couldn’t. It was a 9 hour long flight without a trace of sleep but I did manage to get a few winks.
Just before landing at Zurich, we were served breakfast – a choice of an Indian or Continental one, I took the Continental oneJ. Then the process of landing started and funnily I never felt a thing that we were going down, just a feeling that I am travelling in a lift and going to the ground floor. Before the landing process, we were given a brief walkthrough of the Zurich Airport. It was 4 degrees C in Zurich while I left Mumbai at 30 Degrees C!
At Zurich Airport, I had to get to another terminal, to board the connecting flight to Dublin and I had 3 hours to spare. There is a metro rail service to transport passengers through the two terminals at Zurich. So there I was taking a metro rail for the very first time. Soon I was at my boarding gate, but still 2 hours too early! So I roamed around and clicked pictures of the airport and the planes and browsing through Swiss magazines.
I had a small bout of racism while boarding the flight to Dublin. I was kept waiting by the ground staff and all my papers were checked again and again! He doubted my Indian origin – he went by the name! Convinced that I was harmless, he apologised and said that he was just doing his job, I said that was OK and left for the plane.
The connecting flight to Dublin was a terrific experience in itself – I had the window seat and was just near the wing and the engine. The flight was delayed by 25 minutes as the schedule at the airport was heavy. But very soon we were in the air and I was mesmerized by the sights that I saw.
We passed right through the clouds and were above them in no time, I could see houses and cars that looked like small toys then the snow covered Alps, with a huge blanket of clouds. It was Heaven! We passed though France, England before finally landing at Dublin Airport.
At Dublin Airport, again I was made to go through the immigration and I gladly showed them all my papers. And was off to get my baggage, I had to wait to get the baggage but it was worth the wait. I took the bags and looked for a phone to call home, but all that they said was to call from a Credit Card and I had a Global Calling Card, so I too a taxi to the place that I was supposed to stay. Richard was there to receive me in his house as I got there. He showed me around his place and also gave me a set of keys to his house. I was touched by this. Since I was tired, I took a warm shower and was in bed fitfully asleep. I slept for almost 4 hours before realising that I haven’t called home, so I requested Richard if I could use his phone, he gladly said yes, so I called home and started to miss home already!.. I wandered around the house and then slept again only to wake up the next morning.