January 23, 2009
I am very impressed by the Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation. They are much more efficient than Air France.
As usual, when I flew back from Paris about two weeks ago, I slightly overpacked.
I always pack with a scale, but this time I just didn’t have the heart to leave behind in Paris a few vital items like Austrian dirndls and Speculoos paste.
The cold-hearted, love-deprived, stiff-lipped women from Air France were giving everyone a hard time about cabin luggage. Weighing it, measuring it, all that rubbish. I spotted an elderly couple waiting outside the line for their son to finish check in. They had his small hand luggage with them. Oblivious of the commending message going on and on through the airport speakers Do not accept any luggage from strangers, Do not, Do not, Do not, For security reasons, blah blah blah, I asked them to keep my cabin luggage too while I was checking in. They happily agreed and on I proceeded with check in.
It all went well until immigration, where again, these over-eager Air France people insisted to weigh my little suitcase. I begged and cajoled and they let me go with my suitcase in one hand, and in the other one, a transparent plastic bag containing my laptop, a pair of platform shoes and two Tampax packets. Slightly embarrassing, it was nonetheless better than paying 36 euros a kilo.
Now, it became a little complicated after my visit to the Gourmet food shop. On top of my handbag, my suitcase, and the transparent bag, I was now carrying two bottles of champagne as well as a shopping bag containing seven cheeses, two saucissons and a tin of foie gras. It was heavy, and it was smelly. I was panting. Luckily, people – and especially Indians – waiting to board are always an entertaining sight. This time, the Oscar went to a woman removing lice from her husband’s hair. I swear.
I reached Delhi alright and met a friend who was coming to spend a few months in Jaipur. The next day, we took the bus to Jaipur. We showed up at the station with five suitcases piled high on two trolleys. Hanging from every possible hook were shopping bags, magazines, duty free bags full of champagne and cheese. An interesting sight at Delhi Bikaner House bus station.
The guy put our luggage in the boot and asked for money. Rs 2 per suitcase is the going rate. I gave him a Rs 10 note.
“No ma’am, you have excess luggage”
“You bet I do, I said, guess why I’m not flying?”
“Ma’am, you have to pay. You give me Rs 100, Ma’am.”
And so I paid, for the first time in my life, excess luggage on a bus journey.