Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Two figures slogged through a dark muddy parking lot. For one person,
it was the start of just another work day. For the other, it was the
start of an adventure that would take him to the opposite side of
earth. My dad, who takes the same bus every workday greeted the driver
while I plunked 12 quarters into the coin slot. By the time we had
passed all the downtown
stops, I was the only rider. The driver took this opportunity to tell
me most of what he knew about BSU football.
From New Delhi
When the bus stopped at the
airport, I picked up my backpack and found the rest of my group.

While waiting to board the plane that would take us to Minneapolis, Uncle
Jay tried to give away his first class seat to fellow travelers. One
man accepted, but had to decline after his wife found out. She wanted
to sit next to her husband. I was right behind Jay as he walked onto
the plane. He looked at an empty first class seat and said to me,
"This one is yours."

The pilot came on after we landed in Minneapolis, to inform us that
there was not
enough staff at the arrival gate. He went on to say that there would
probably be a 10 minute wait. I wasn't very worried - the plane to
Amsterdam would not leave for another 40 minutes. 30 minutes later, we
were still waiting for someone to swing out the welcome hallway. I was
still not very worried, but I imagined most of my fellow India bound
travelers were. A few minutes later, the door was opened, and the race
for the plane that would take us to Amsterdam began.

After literally running to the other side of the airport, I rounded
the last corner and saw attendants waving, urging me to hurry.
Immediately after my cousin, Jenna stepped on the plane, the door was
sealed and the plane began to move out to the main runway. The
passengers on this plane struck me with their fine clothes and
sophisticated composure. I suspected many were returning home to
Europe after attending to important business in a Midwest city. My
seat was in the middle of the plane, making it difficult to view
outside a window, so I missed seeing Hudson Bay and the sunset over
the North Sea. When we were over the UK, I was able to lean over and
peek out the far window to see a
few lights south of the city of Hull. After clearing the east coast of
the country, the sun slowly began to rise over the European continent.
I was able to clearly make out the coast of The Netherlands. As we
neared the city of Amsterdam, I observed many illuminated warehouses.
At first I wasn't sure why the entire roof of each buildings was
glowing orange. Then I realized that the roof must be clear and the
glow I was seeing was from the lights inside. Seeing dozens of
enormous glowing warehouses was very impressive.

Stepping off the plane and into Amsterdam gave me a warm feeling.
The sight of travelers from every corner of the world dressed, in some cases,
in traditional dress turned even me into a " people watcher". We had
six hours to explore this little corner of Europe before we left for New
Delhi. Even at 6:30 in the morning the airport was bustling. Shoppers
taking advantage of no duty shopping were eagerly buying up premium
distilled beverages and perfumes.
From New Delhi
I noticed several luxury goods
stores such as the Rolex showroom and a Versace boutique. Of course
the ubiquitous tulip was available in several forms. There were tulip
bulbs, tulip themed merchandise and bunches of freshly cut tulips.
From New Delhi
noticed a Lego display built to resemble the airport.
From New Delhi
special highlight from my time in Amsterdam was being able to visit
the Rijksmuseum. This is a museum located inside the airport that
periodically features prominent artists that called Amsterdam their
home. My visit coincided with the exhibition of Melchior
d’Hondecoeter. I was especially impressed with his painting entitled "A
Pelican and Other Birds at a Water Basin." Although it has a fairly dry
title, the the detail and color of the painting is extraordinary!

At a little before noon, Western European Time, we boarded the
plane bound for India!

Continued in Part 2

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