free WiFi there, and did so successfully. But when it came time to get
my bag inspected (the sequence is: get your checked baggage scanned,
then go to the airline desk with it), I was told the flight was delayed,
so the scanning was delayed. An hour later, they scanned it, and I was
able to check in for the flight (although in the process of telling the
scanner operator what those things were in my baggage, either I didn't
get a clearance sticker, or it got lost, so I had to retrace my path
(this was facilitated by the Air Deccan baggage person who remembered me
from my vain attempts to get my baggage scanned, and knew that it had
been scanned)). And I couldn't even play on ther internet, since the system there was showing no connectivity for the rest of the afternoon.
So the flight was 3 hours late, and then I got a taxi driver who didn't know where either destination was, on a hot Saturday night. It took 2+ hours to get to the hotel, including finding that the office where I needed to pick up my boat ticket and clearance papers was closed. One
of the people hanging out there contacted the proprietor, who told me to show up at 9 the next morning. Given the awful traffic getting there, I opted to be conservative so got an early breakfast and 8AM taxi. Of course, on Sunday morning, it was all very easy and quick, and I was on board by 9:30AM. And of course, I'd been told to be at the dock at 10:30, but the last passengers arrived at 11:30 and we sailed shortly after noon.
The boat is pretty comfortable, except for the ubiquitous and loud televisions. I had to cause a hassle to get moved from directly (2 feet) in front of one that was very loud. The sound is still there, but is now almost background level.
What is it about television? I've been tortured by it at breakfast every morning (and at the hotel in Chennai, the staff channel surfed continuously, and got very blank when I asked if it could be turned down or off). I met my German friends for dinner at a restaurant that Frank remembered as being very nice and quiet, only to discover that they'd installed a large television and showed Indian music videos throughout the meal. My guidebook says that it had Indian classical music playing in the evening. Just to top it off, I had the stringiest bhindi (okra or lady fingers) that I've ever had. We were all disappointed.
The hotel, Fort House in Fort Kochi, in spite of my driver's difficulty in finding it, seems to be perfect. It's actually on the water, between the ferry stops, and they serve good food on their own jetty. They were very good about helping me organize things last night, and will book both the backwaters tour I want and performances at the Kathakali Centre which is actually just down the street. So I have that to look forward to.
It turns out, I'm going to Lakshadweep on the tail end of the shoulder season so the cost would be cut in half next week. And I've been given a badge to wear around my neck that identifies me as a tourist from the Agatti Island Beach Resort when in the islands.
Our carefully composed emails to the various DX foundations garnered promises of grants of a substantial portion of the cost of the radio that he had, so he left it at the Polytehcnic in Port Blair. I donated an antenna, and will just see if I can beg a good deal on the replacement from the manufacturer.
I calculated that I have 9 flights and four boat rides on this trip.
That's not my record for flights though.