The food and the service in the first leg of the journey were plausible, so I was quite comfortable. I was busy chatting up with the American sitting next to me or by watching the interactive TV in front of my seat. I watched Aa Dekhen Zara (Hindi movie) and I liked the concept, where an ancient camera captures the future picture of whatever is being shot! After the movie, I was fiddling with the menus available in the touch screen TV and ended up in Flight Specific Views screen...
From one of the screens I gathered that we were flying somewhere in Arabia and until then I had my shutters down to avoid glaring daylight. Now, I dared to open the shutter, just in the hope of capturing few good shots AND I was rewarded:)
I guess these could be a part of the desert.
Abu Dhabi Airport was too small and was filled with people filing to the Prayer rooms, as it was time to break the fast. As I was hungry I was looking for available choices, but I could get only plain croissant and so called Veg-puff.
Except coke, the other 2 items were too dry and tasted like wood pulp, but had no choice I had to pacify my growling tummy. I was sitting by myself in that airport cafe to kill 2 hours of transit time, so I was a bit self-conscious.
After a while, I felt that someone was staring behind my back and I immediately turned around and noticed that a middle aged Arabian was indeed staring at me and he too noticed that I was aware of his glance and he started moving. At first, I thought that he was going away, but to my dismay, he crossed my table, sat in a comfortable location facing me, and smiled at me! I panicked and lot of unwanted thoughts were swarming in my head and I looked around to see if I can find any familiar face in this strange land. Finally, I thought that the age-old trick of pretending to talk on the mobile would help me. I just punched a number, was listening to the mobile message and started answering cheerfully in sourashtra:) The trick did not work out. At that time an Indian family entered the cafe and sat in the next table. Normally, I wouldn't bother to talk, but I went out of the way and started to make small talk. After watching for a while, the arrogant watcher finally left the cafe and I sighed.
Shaken by this, I was too tired in the second leg of my journey. Though I was occupying a window seat I had two laborers as my co-passengers and the thought of spending another 5 hours in that cramped space was sickening. Moreover, when the flight was in the runway, it stopped, the overhead speaker crackled and the captain announced that there would be an hour's delay due to heavy air-traffic in Katar. Grr, I couldn't digest this delay, because at any cost I didn't want to miss my flight to Madurai. Just to unwind I got up from my seat and noticed that there were few empty rows at the tail end of the flight. Immediately, I requested the air-hostess to relocate me in one of those rows, so that I could at least lie down. They did oblige. Finally, I had a peaceful rest.
The third leg of the journey was ok, because I was already in a familiar turf. But, the security screening was maddening. This was compensated when I boarded the flight. To my pleasant surprise, we were welcomed with a choice of tender coconut or buttermilk:) I told my-self "welcome home".
From Wellington Arch we asked for directions to go to Harrods and we were told that it was about 10 minutes walk. Well, if a Londoner says, "10 minutes walk" then for my speed it should be at least 20 minutes! As the weather was pleasant, we headed towards the Knightsbridge underground station, next to which Harrods is situated.
The unmistakable crowd taking photos in front of the Harrods signboard shows that it is one of those "must see places". At the same time, I was pleased that am not the only person to go there for just seeing it.
As soon as we entered the shop, we were stopped by the security guards and they asked us to take off our backpacks and carry it in our hands, as it would disturb the other shoppers. Though, I was first irritated by this request, I did realize it was for our own good, only after being hit by a careless backpacker who was gazing at the ceiling :( The ambiance was too good to be true, and it felt like Alice in Wonderland. After much hesitation, I took out my camera and clicked it.
We wandered through various departments and ended up in the watches section. Most of the models that I liked was priced in 5 digits...well, might as well buy a piece of property in India or Malaysia.
Then, we thought that at least we could buy something in the food and drinks section. But, unfortunately, I couldn't get veggie stuff. Then biscuit tins and chocolates looked attractive but prices were scary...
The shiny board set in this splendid store reminds me about the mortality of the human beings. I did sign in the guest book to pay homage to that great lady and left the shop with a rather heavy heart.