Wednesday, 3 February 2016

From Bangalore to Byndoor

The beach at Sai Vishram Beach Resort, Byndoor
It was supposed to be the worst of times, but it ended up being the best of times. It was neither the spring of hope, nor the winter of despair:  it was late January, and to those of us who flew in from Bangalore, it was hot as hell. But it felt like heaven.

Last week, I took my first flight in fourteen years, to Mangalore, on the west coast of southern India. My final destination was a seaside resort at Byndoor, about 120 km by road.

This was also my first trip to Mangalore and its neighbouring districts in twenty years. This trip was special for me, not just for breaking my non-travelling jinx, but mainly because my father was born here, and I have many relatives living in the region.

The last time I flew in an aeroplane was back in 2002, when I left my advertising career in Bahrain and came to "retire" in India and be nearer my parents. Full of my usual and quite unnecessary fears, I had been dreading the flight. There was an emotional departure from the safe walls of my little Bangalore flat (well, emotional on my part:  the flat remained quite unmoved). I went armed with half a pharmacy, and left my Will prominently on my desk back at home.

The flight was just an hour long, and although it was one of those small propeller-driven planes that had to be landed on one of the world's tougher runways (Mangalore's airport at Bajpe has what is called a "table top" runway), it was a smooth and easy journey.

Then we got into my cousin's car to make the long drive to Udupi. That journey was a whole other story! My fear of flying has now been replaced by a more tangible fear of national highways.

Come back for more tales of this not-so-intrepid traveller's adventures tomorrow!

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