We’re in Delhi, bags are in Munich!
Having got a taxi at 4am, a bus at 4:45, a plane from Heathrow at 9:45 and then another from Frankfurt at 1:30pm we finally arrived in Delhi at 1:30am local time. Sadly our luggage did not arrive in Delhi at 1:30 but may be coming in the morning as it may be en route from Munich.
What followed our arrival and discovery of the lost luggage was pure theatre and evidence that the famous India bureaucracy is still thriving. First a visit to the Lufthansa baggage desk, actually a dusty office where a charming gentleman had me fill out forms which he then copied out word for word, longhand, on to another form. Then he filled out a third form which I had to take to the customs desk to be stamped. Another nice gentleman looked perfunctorily at this form, stamped it and then sent me to see a customs officer.
The customs officer, a charming lady, looked at the form and asked me for my flight number, which I couldn’t quite remember. Luckily her colleague, stood nearby, overheard and pointed out that the charming man in the baggage office had already written this on the front page. So the customs officer was then able to copy it directly onto the second page. Phew!
Then back to the first charming gentlemen who filled out another form, this time in quintuplicate which I then had to sign. He then gave me an overnight bag, filled with toiletries and a t.shirt; a nice surprise. Then he pulled out a wad of notes from his breast pocket and skinned me off 4000 rupees; an even nicer surprise. If all goes to plan then the bags will arrive by 11:00 tomorrow anyway so the money wasn’t really necessary but I was really too surprised to say, ’no, no, really, I couldn’t possibly’.
By now it was 3:00 am and I’m worried that our driver might have given up on us but not at all. There he was at the arrivals gate with a welcoming sign and an even more welcoming smile. A 30 minute drive through the very foggy outskirts of Delhi (not unusual at this time of year apparently) and we arrived at the Master Guesthouse, and very comfortable it looks too.