Going to India always has a thrill in a side of my heart. The provocation of irresponsible information sometimes succeeds in making the guts tremble.
Gusts of news ranging from security factors, culinary hygiene, scam variations, and other gripping things began to cloud my mind that afternoon.
Therefore, before leaving for India, for five days I warmed my guts in Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Lumpur, hoping that by leaving them I would be able to carry courage. But that afternoon it seemed as if I was still building up the courage from zero again.
In the continuation of my adventure, India would be the prelude to my main destination, i.e. the Middle East. Why was that?…. The only reason was that India was always giving many chances to get cheap tickets to the main tourist city in the Arabian Peninsula, i.e. Dubai. In addition to tickets, India also provided a variety of starting points to jump into that city.
As for my adventure history, after New Delhi and Agra two years earlier, this time I chose another point of departure, i.e. Kochi, an exotic tourist destination in southwest India.
I enjoyed the soft texture of white rice at Quizinn by RASA after 24 hours of not tasting this idol’s food. The white rice at that time also represented the last Ringgit I had, starting the next day I was using Rupees.
Five minutes before the Air Asia Ak 39 check-in desk opened, I finished eating white rice with the last piece of fried egg.
As I stated above, instead of getting excited, my chest was beating fast…” Oh India, please make peace with my adventure this time”, I calmed my heart.
Rising from my seat in a corner of the food court on the 2M floor, I carried my favorite blue backpack. Stepping up to the Departure Hall on the 3rd floor.
“It turned out that the queue was long….”, my confidence to become the first queue fell.
The contortions of the queue, which was dominated by Indians, kept me in the bloated queue. After all, I remained calm, there was still a long way to the flight, still four hours away. I started taking out the zipper bag to prepare documents, i.e. passports, hotel booking confirmations in India, tickets to and from India, and free Indian e-Visa sheets.
“Do you have a Visa?”, the check-in desk staff firmly asked me.
“This is Miss”, I handed over all the documents I had prepared.
“Was Indonesia to India enough with e-Visa, Sir?” That female officer asked her senior colleague.
That senior staff confirmed and that female officer finally printed the boarding pass for me.
The first stage was over, I rushed to the International Departure Gate which was heavily guarded by several Aviation Security. In the front queue, there weren’t a few prospective passengers who were being held back due to carrying too much cabin baggage. In addition to Aviation Security, several Air Asia airline ground staff closely monitored passengers who cheated by carrying excess cabin baggage.
For me?….. It was easy, I pass through the gate without checking. Even with the inspection, I would still pass, because I had weighed the entire load of my backpack before heading to the check-in desk….Easy, only 6.5 kilograms.
“Where is the direction to gate L14?”, I asked myself.
I continued along the long corridors until I descended an escalator which at the bottom was already blocking several columns of the screening gate.
As usual, I always took off my shoes when I pass through the screening gate, it was all because I would feel lazy if I had to repeat the screening process when my shoes rang the screening door.
I easily pass it….
Now I only needed to continue through the remaining corridors to reach gate L14.
A little after seven in the evening, I arrived at the gate in question.
“Hhmmmhhhh….An hour and a half to boarding”, I sat on a chair outside the waiting room which was still tightly closed.
I decided to perform the prayer and filled up drink bottles at the free water station. And in the remaining time, I just sit waiting until the waiting room door opens an hour before the flight.
Luckily while waiting, my boredom was dampened by the cute behavior of a little Indian toddler whose behavior was so adorable.
Waiting in the waiting room, I was again stunned by a large group of Hindu congregation. From the all-black uniform worn, I could identify the congregation as coming from the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, located in the State of Kerala, India.
The peculiarity of the Indian Hindu congregation was that they do not use footwear. Some Hindus in India believed that not using footwear was a form of respect for the Gods.
Dressed in black and Lungi*1) was also the religious appearance of the group. I had to sit mingled in the waiting room with their group.
While the view in the glass window was a perfectly parked Airbus A320 Twin Jet aircraft, dominantly white with a blue-red color combination and bearing the tourism promotion jargon “Sarawak More to Discover”.
Waiting patiently for it to end…
Boarding calls for Air Asia flight AK 39 filled the airport ceiling.
I immediately got up and prepared my passport and boarding pass to pass the final inspection of prospective passengers before entering the cabin. Ahhh….I couldn’t wait.
At half past nine I started boarding…..
Entering the cabin of the small-body aircraft, I looked for seat number 11E. On the next 3 hours and 40 minutes of flight, I would sit in the middle column, making it difficult for me to capture beautiful portraits of the earth.
When the boarding process was over, in my row there was only me and one of the Hindu congregation. Therefore, I decided to move to an aisle seat to get relief from the 3,000 km flight.
To my surprise, when I opened the Travel 360 inflight magazine, I found a self-portrait of a travel influencer that seemed familiar to me. I was very familiar with his surname….Groves.
I made sure it was a beautiful traveler from Aussie whom I had known a year earlier in Samosir, Eloise Groves. He once told a story under the Naisogop waterfall that he had a brother named Jackson Groves who was a travel influencer. Seeing the similarity in the facial expressions of the figure in the inflight magazine I was reading with the figure that often appears on Eloise’s Facebook page, I’m 100% sure it was her big brother.
And it was true, later I would get confirmation from Eloise that it was her sibling after sending a short message through the Facebook messenger application when I arrived in India.
Trying to close my eyes after flipping through Travel 360, I tried to sleep. But I didn’t sleep. That was how I was, never completely fell asleep every time I sat on the plane.
Finally, the awaited time has arrived….
At one o’clock in the morning, Air Asia AK 39 landed at Cochin International Airport, a magnificent airport in the State of Kerala in southwest India.
Now I was even further away from home.
Kochi which was nearly 9,000 km from Jakarta.
Let’s explore….What was in Kochi?
Description of the word:
Lungi*1) = A long piece of cloth that is wrapped around the waist and is a typical Indian dress.