Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Cyclone Detour

Our final 3 days in Yangon were spent soaking wet, with the winds and rain of Cyclone Aila pounding the city. Unfortunately, we couldn't do much around the city, although we did venture out one day with unbrellas for a tour of the down town during a brief interlude, only to be soaking wet in an hour anyway.

We left Yangon hoping for a break in the weather. Instead, we got a Cyclone detour, as Cyclone Aila decided to come in land and pound Kolkata, our next flight destination. What should have been a short 2 hour flight turned into a long10 ordeal. The flight left 3 hours late from Yangon, because the first plane was unflyable. Two hours into the flight, they announced an emergency landing in Chennai (Madras), in the south of India, and 4 hours away. From there they made us wait in the airplane until 11:30 pm. Even then, the pilot announced that we would leave and "maybe" we would be able to land in Kolkata, and "maybe" we would have to turn around again. He didn't instill much confidence! The only food they provided us with was yucky-tasting peanuts, dry crackers, and mini-bottled waters. Finally at midnight, we got dinner.

Unfortunately, by the time we landed in Kolkata, it was 1:30 am, and our pre-booked hotel had already given our room away. Everyone was stranded in Kolkata. We walked past many trees that had been downed from the cyclone, but it was no longer raining. We woke up 4 night watchmen, but everything was full, so we wandered back to the airport and slept there. I found a special room for "ladies", and Adrian and I slept on benches there, away from the glare and noise outside. Unfortunately, Richard didn't catch a wink that night.

The next day, our next plane was delayed again, but finally we flew at 2:30 pm. By 4pm, we were finally in Nepal. Yippee!

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