I arrived back in San Francisco after a very long journey which started at 5AM on
Thursday, November 15, in Jaipur ( actually still November 14 in San Francisco ).
At 6AM, my dear friend and constant rescuer, Ajay Shekhawat, of the Umaid Mahal
Hotel, arrived at my door with a large Bhati ( another wonderful friend ) taxi to see
me to the airport. My landlady of five months, arrived with breakfast and my final
cup of chai so I was already in tears. At the airport, bidding farewell to Ajay, the
deluge began again. The armed security guard who checked my passport and
boarding passed asked why I was so sad. "It's always this way when I say goodbyes
and I'm will miss India!", I told him. "Then you'll be back," he smiled. I sure hope
I spent a LONG day in Mumbai, arriving at the international airport at 7:30PM to
check my bags for my 1:30AM flight. I was told to return at 10PM. I was back at
9PM and had to wait two hours for my wheelchair, requested a month earlier
when I'd made my reservation. Awful. I did complain to the Mumbai Customer
Service supervisor ( a very nice Indian ) who waived all baggage charges for me,
sent me to the Delta First Class lounge where I ate and had a few cocktails, and
sat in Premium Economy to Amsterdam.
Once there, I had a three hour layover which I didn't mind. Amsterdam Airport
Schipol is one of my favorite places to connect. It is about 5 miles from the city
of Amsterdam and is Europe's 4th busiest airport and the world's 14th busiest
by total passenger traffic. It is built as one large single terminal with three
large departure halls. What I like about it is their incredible shopping complex -
duty free stores and bars and restaurants of every kind. In my pre-retirement .
days, I went crazy with purchases. Now, on a pension, I had to content myself with
window shopping. Everything was already beautifully decorated for Christmas.
I wasn't laughing too much, having just completed 9 + hours
of flying, with another 11+ hours in the air ahead of me!
Nice and bright to offset the gray skies outside!
As you can see, it isn't yet 8AM
But, in spite of the early hour, more alcohol was being served
Very festive decorations everywhere.
I wonder when these decorations went up?
I loved the delicatessan area and, of course, Dutch cheeses were for sale!
Yummy but too expensive and way too many calories, now
that I've lost 30 pounds!
Famous and delicious Edam cheese
Ummm, proscuitto, sausages, and all that cheese - what a
sandwich I could make!
Okay, I confess, my ultimate weakness - MARZIPAN. i
did buy some - but only a tiny package - & it was gone within an hour!
This might be good but I prefer to drink my Jack Daniels.
Of course, there were many Dutch gift specialties.
Always, one of my favorite shops - I tried several perfumes!
From reasonably priced Swatch watches to every name in the world
You could get ALL your holiday shopping done right here!
One of the most popular shops - every spirit imaginable!
Too tempting here and I was so broke!
All set up and waiting for Santa
Chocolates from every country - Santa, make mine dark chocolate -
better yet, marzipan covered with dark chocolate!