New Beginnings- Part II

Our final destination had 2 stops along the way, in London and Boston. The journey from India to London was quite uneventful, given that I slept through most of it and the rest of it watching the in-flight entertainment attached to the back of the seat in front of me. The cabin crew was quite pleasant and one of them, while serving, even stopped to chat with us for some time describing his past educational background in Computer Science. Soon enough, the flight captain announced we had reached London and would descend in 15 minutes. The best thing about the journey was that we were able to see football stadiums of clubs we watched on TV and even some county cricket stadiums. Surprisingly still sleep deprived and legs full of cramp, I hopped out at the Heathrow airport.

Heathrow airport is quite awesome, to say the least, but unfortunately, we could not quite explore its beauty since our connecting flight departed in an hour. We chose to spend that time calling back home to inform of our safe arrival in London and clicking pics like star-struck kids. We boarded our Boston flight after the customary security check-in. Sadly though I did not get the window seat this time around, although having it the first time around did not prove any better for me. Our journey to Boston was longer than that to London. Having already seen all the good shows and movies on the in-flight entertainment, this time I chose to read a book (and sleep of course). The journey was quite uneventful, but isn’t that what you would wish when traveling on a flight? After multiple meals and listening to music, finally to the pleasure of my ears, I heard the captain announce that we had reached Boston and would descend soon. Since we arrived at night the city was brilliantly lit up and everyone took out their phones to capture it. Only people with the window seat could do that. Not me. Life (*sigh*).

We had a layover of 8 hours at the Boston airport before our final flight to Rochester. Since this was our entry point in the United States, we had to go through an immigration check. Having traveled for almost an entire day, our minds decided that they needed a nap right when we needed them to stay awake. And so we had to spend half an hour trying to locate the immigration counters and another half an hour to find our bags and get them off the conveyor belt. I got all my 4 bags, but some of my friends were not as lucky. A couple of them lost their bags and being in a different country heightened their sense of panic. After contacting the lost and found office, they were assured that their bags would be dropped off at their specified location within 3 days. Eventually, we made our way to the seating area just outside the arrival hall and placed our bags collectively to avoid misplacing or forgetting it (in my case). It was close to midnight and the entire airport was deserted except for the workers at the all-night shops. My friends engaged in the Pokemon Go game. I did not know what it was and thought it was a waste of time (although, little did I know that a few weeks later I would be hooked to it too). I decided to fire up my laptop and watch some sitcoms or movie. But seeing no charging point anywhere close, I gave up that idea and thought it would be better to preserve my battery. Since we came out of the arrival hall and decided to camp in the nearest sitting area, we had no estimate of how big the airport was. The terminal through which we had to pass was located at the far end and we decided we would wait until the morning to pass it. A real bad decision, which we would realize later. Our dreary wait began.

Every minute brought with it a feeling of tiredness and monotony. After a while, I chose to venture outside the airport and look around with a few of my friends, who were not busy playing Pokemon GO. We decided to take a small walk in the vicinity. I am not sure how it originated, but we started comparing the similarities of Boston and India for no apparent reason. It was highly entertaining and would have gone a while longer, but we cut it short and headed back to the seating area. It was as we had left it, nobody had moved an inch. Everyone was too tired to get up or do something meaningful. The next 2 hours passed way slower than how 2 hours usually pass.

At about 5 am, after freshening up in the restroom nearby, we left our seating area and headed towards the departure terminal. The road to the main departure terminal was strangely long. It took us almost 20 minutes to reach the main hall. The hall was huge and at 5 in the morning, it was surprising to see swarms of people moving in all directions. We looked at the big electronic screen displaying all flights and their gate numbers and learned which gate we had to go through. But, we had no clue how we had to reach the gate. We just kept walking following the signs overhead and sometimes our intuitions. I don’t know why, but we did not do the simplest thing of asking the airport staff and just continued walking. After spending half an hour walking around like headless chicken, someone’s common sense kicked in and he went and asked one of the staff. The staff gave us the directions and told us to go to the third floor. So, we resumed our labored walk through the airport searching for a way to reach the third floor. This is when we began to realize that Boston airport was way bigger than we ever imagined. Another fruitless walk, and after some more guiding, we finally reached the elevator. We pressed number 3 and went up to the third floor. As we looked around for our gate, we found to our amazement, the gates numbered in a different range than what our gate number. We concluded that we had come on the wrong floor and headed back down the elevator. Asking another staff member, this time specifically for our flight gate, yielded the same response as the previous one given to us by the other staff. This time while going up I noticed something peculiar. The floor numbers began from 1. 1 indicated the ground floor instead of 0, which is the norm we knew about. So, instead of pressing 3 I pressed 4. And as we stepped out of the elevator, to even more amusement than before, the gate we wanted was right in front of us!! That is when we realized that numbering convention in the United States was different than India and Europe. Floors began from 1, not 0. Welcome to the United States of America.

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