Thursday, August 11, 2005

Austin at Arrived !

With mixed feelings, happy that my journey went on well, but a little worried about my baggage, I stepped out of the airport, into the beautiful city of Austin, where I was going to spend the next 2 years of my life. I had requested the ICA (Indian Cultural Assoc) for a pickup, so I had a representative from ICA too holding my nameboard. Filed a complaint, and my friend Sibi was there at the airport to take me home. Arrived at Austin, but unfortunately, my baggage didn't. Had very good company during this flight, was chatting most of the time with this person from Austin, working in the high-tech industry, and got to know some facts about the city. After a while, boarded the United Airlines to Austin. Got my boarding pass, did some window shopping, and went to the appropriate gate. So I did as I was told, and took the bus to go to Terminal-1, yeah bus, so huge was the airport. Was little uncertain of what was happening, but the personnel assured me that they would check it in from here. Now, I was asked to leave my baggage along with a lot of others at some place there, and then asked to move to Terminal -1 to get my boarding pass. Got it done, no issues, and picked up my baggage from the belt, and got it cleared by the US customs as well. There was a huge queue to meet the immigration officers, but it was fast moving. The Chicago airport was awesome, never seen anything like that. I slept during most of the journey, feeling certain that someone would wake me up at Chicago, as I had to switch flights and Air India wouldn't retain me. They played "Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy", not sure if you've read the book. Food was not all that great, the wine was, but. The flight journey was enjoyable.

With this luck, or coincidence or celebrity status, whatever, I safely boarded the flight. Hmmm..realized that I have to talk to the authorities to find an alternate flight to Chicago, I just lazily strolled and luckily for me, the Chicago flight hadn't still departed, was running behind by 40 minutes already. Well, might found shocking to some, and funny to many, I woke up all of a sudden by myself, only at 06:15 IST !!. So, I just found myself a couch to relax for a while, forgetting that I normally don't wake up on time. After around 2.5 hours, we got down at Mumbai, and had to take another Air India flight at 05:45 IST. And I was slowly beginning to feel the same. Quite excited they were about their first time to the US. Found of bunch of F1 kids going for their Masters in Science, sitting beside me. At 00:15 IST, I boarded Air India.

Called up the dear ones while waiting to board the flight. No other formalities, all done, all smooth so far. Filled in the immigration form, and got the customs clearance done. Got my 2 baggages checked in, with a small oversize warning though (70 kg for 64 kg). At 22:30 IST, I entered the International airport for the second time in my life. The whole jing-bang left for the Chennai airport at around 21:30 IST, and I was truly pleased and blessed to find my whole dear family come to the airport to wave me goodbye, amidst all their important work. My dad had got all my documents and financial stuff in place. Mom and sisters, they were busy trying to load my baggages with the cookery harware and software, and other utilities, each giving me loads of advice, as this was my first visit to the States. Well, yes, he did all of that, not me. Just helped my brother-in-law pack my stuff. No great excitement yet. It wasn't still sinking in me. The day finally dawned, 8th August 2005.
Forgive my jet-lag for the same. Please read the below passage bottom-up.

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