Recently the Nepalese army and the Tribhuvan Airport suffered a huge embarrassment on the international front. It seems that some enterprising persons snuck on to the tarmac late at night and stole the landing gear of a Boeing 737-800. The army and the airport have no idea who the thief is (although the guy driving the auto-rickshaw with the 14 foot high wheels might be a suspect).
I think that this embarrassment might have something to do with the vigilant Tribhuvan security team.
Upon arriving at the airport via “Roller Coaster Taxi”, the same entrepreneurs are there to “help” with my bags. This time, the guy shows me where to go to jump the entire queue, saving me a good 30 minutes in line. I give him almost all of the Nepalese rupees that I have left (about a dollars worth) and show my passport and ticket to the nice army man with the very large gun.
Then I enter a queue for a checkpoint. They X-ray all of my bags, put me through a metal detector, frisk me, and put stickers on my luggage. Next I queue up to check in. A nice man beside a different nice man with a gun issues me my boarding pass, takes my checked bag, and stamps my luggage and boarding pass.
Next I enter a queue to gain entrance to the departures lounge. A very nice man with a large gun checks my boarding pass and stamps my carry on luggage. Then I fill out some paper work about why I’m leaving under a sign that says “The taking of photographs will result in you being shot”.
Then I enter a long queue to clear customs. A very grumpy man with no gun stamps my passport and boarding pass while a very nice woman with a big gun stamps her feet. Then I enter another long queue where my bags are X-rayed and stamped, and I am frisked again. Then a nice man with a really small gun stamps my boarding pass.
Then I enter a queue to board a bus. A really small man with a nice gun frisks my bags and buys some stamps. The bus drives about 15 feet to an outdoor stairwell that leads to the plane. Outside there is a table where a really big man with no gun opens my bags and stamps me. Then a man in a Stamps jersey frisks me and my boarding pass and gives me a really nice gun.
The plane waits on the tarmac for an extra hour before take off just to make sure everything is stamped.
This flight is during the day, so on the way I get a glimpse of the Himalayas poking up through the clouds. I risk taking a bullet and snap off a few shots.
I arrive at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi an hour and a half late and totally disheveled. After getting my bags, filling out a form, and queing up to clear customs, a man with a bazooka gives me a really nice stamp. Then I queue up to leave the arrivals level and a really nice man with a really nice gun stamps my luggage as I walk by a really big man in a tank.
I then decide to take advantage of a service in the airport to pamper myself. This little place called the Shower an Go offers a 30 minute hot shower, then a two hour sit down in their lounge with a comfy chair, ottoman, coffee and bottled water and Wi-Fi Internet or 1000 IRS (about 20 bucks).
While I was in Nepal, I had 1 Luke warm shower and all the rest were from icy cold to hypothermia inducing, so the hot shower was invigorating. Then I sat with my feet up and did some research on my next stop. Bengaluru, or Bangalore…