In Germany is Blizzard time, the government wars citizens to avoid travel and stock up on food and medicine for four days. And I travel to India — I could have just stayed with my parents who have food and medication stocked for four months ;-). It is interesting how a series of interesting choices made me not miss any connection.
First of all, I was lucky that I chose the train to go to Frankfurt because it was the cheaper option. I heard later that more than 200 flights to Frankfurt were canceled (also from DRS?) due to severe weather. Well, I know from my experience that the German railway is never on time, thus, I planned to arrive 4 hours early in Frankfurt (enough time to have one train canceled). The train ride started 4:41 in Chemnitz and stopped 4:52 due problems with the track. Multiple stops later, it was clear that I would miss my ICE connection in Leipzig. Well, so it seemed. However, when we arrived 30 minutes late, I was told that the ICE was also late and would leave in two (2!!) minutes. So I ran and ran, and made it :-). The train ride was very productive (it’s good to have power and a table). We arrived 45 minutes late in Frankfurt, so no problem.
I flew with Emirates to Bangalore (through Dubai with a 4.5 hours layover). Well, I thought the layover was really annoying but it was the cheapest Flight available. And it turned out that it was great because we left Frankfurt more then 3 hours late! I barely caught my connection Flight in Dubai (darn, no time to look at the airport closely). About Emirates: the people at the checkin were astonishing rude and unfriendly and didn’t even look half-way like the photos on the Emirates webpage :-). However, the plane (777-300) was the best plane I ever boarded.
Each seat (Economy) had a 13” (or 14”) entertainment system (called ICE and running Linux) with a plethora of Games (approx. 100), Movies (>500), Shows and other cool things, for example a camera at the front of the aircraft! Very nice! The personnel was also friendly and the food excellent. I can recommend Emirates.
What I can not recommend is traffic in India (Bangalore). I took a taxi for the nearly 1 hour ride from the airport to the hotel. It was terrible, stressful and frightening. First, the driver did not speak any English, second the car was a complete wreck, I couldn’t even buckle up. Third, Indian traffic seems to have no rules besides “go fast”. This guy was going 100 km/h with less than 1m distance to the cars in front of us with about 4 cars and one motorcycle in parallel on a two-lane road. It was also interesting to see that the horn is significantly more important than indication lines. The driver honked about every 10 seconds (like everybody else) to either say “I’m coming through” when he passes something or “screw you” when somebody else passes or “out of my way” when somebody was in front of him or sometimes he honked just for fun without any visible reason. How weird. I tell you, this traffic is totally crazy, Italy and Moscow are totally civilized and Germany and the US are just boring in comparison :-). Indian drivers must have amazing driving skills (ok, I have seen four accidents during the drive, but still!). Never, never, never take a rental in India unless you really want to have fun. They also have the steering wheel on the wrong side, but I was not able to determine on which street-side they are supposed to go (the taxi was always in the middle). I probably doesn’t matter.
The hotel (J P Fortune) is really good (and was among the cheapest on the list of conference hotels). They have complimentary WIFI and breakfast and a pool. However, the shower water is bubbly (without soap) and a bit weird but that might be everywhere.