We made it to Vienna in one piece, or rather three, which is even better. On our last day in India one of the many gods there decided to make our farewell easier by sending dark rain clouds and monsoon-like showers. I got a first glimpse of the difficulties faced by Keralites when trying to dry their laundry during monsoon – stuff just doesn’t try, laundry, hair after washing, faces – anything.
Anyway we left Kochi with a bit of a delay at 8:30 pm and got into Mumbai about 2 hours later. There we had to transfer from the domestic to the international terminal which sounds much more harmless than it is because the “international terminal” is actually a different airport about 10 km or so away. The traffic even after 11 pm was horrific and I can see that it could easily take more than an hour for the distance if you were unlucky enough to have to make the trip during peak hours. We covered it in about 20 minutes only to find ourselves in the longest line in sight: the check-in line for Austrian Airlines. We got in line and didn’t move for 10 minutes and in my mind’s eye I already saw us doing it over the next night. Max was amazingly well behaved given the fact that it was about midnight now and so about 4 hours after his regular bedtime. He was sitting on the ground eating his “Griessbrei” (a sort of semolina porridge) drinking “jugo” and talking without a break between bites of Griessbrei. We finally got waved to a different check-in counter, somebody must have had pity with us and hand-selected us to join the short line a little further down.
Flying to Mumbai had been easy, the plane had been half empty but this time every last seat was taken – literally. With the exception of one, bulkhead right next to an Indian woman with her crying toddler girl. I snatched it so Max could lay down spread across both our seats and sleep which he did only minutes after taking off. He made a show of protesting “I want to watch a DVD”, “I am not tiered, I want to write and solve puzzles” but soon he was sound asleep (and thankfully so was the toddler girl) and so the whole trip turned out surprisingly benign – if you can call a flight that leaves someplace at 1:30 am to get to another place at 5:30 am benign at all.
To continue or good luck streak: all our five pieces of luggage were already on the conveyor belt by the time we cleared customs and the streets of Vienna were empty so we were at our friends’ house very soon.
Compared with last time we spend a night here in Vienna when we had minus 12 Celsius it is downright warm now with about 7 Celsius and a bit of sun. All in all a very good start to the “European leg” of our trip. At the moment Max is over at the neighbor’s apartment baking a cake. This adventure will – no doubt – be told and retold many times over and I can already picture myself sitting in yet another plane and having the following conversation:
“Mama, tell me a story”
“Max, how does one say when one wants something from Mama?”
“Mama, tell me a story — please!”
“Okay, which story do you want to hear?”
“The one how I baked a cake with Romana!”
“But Max, I wasn’t there. You have to tell me that story”
“No, Mama – whimper – you tell me, I don’t want to tell, you do!” (big quiver, sobbing about to erupt)
Okay, so, you and Romana made an apple cake”
“No, it wasn’t an apple cake, it was a marble cake and we didn’t make it we baked it.” …..
Anyway, we are here now, already had some sausage and rumor has it that we will be treated to an Austrian specialty called Tafelspitz tonight. Whatever it is, I know for a fact that it consists of a huge honking piece of red meat.
And now it’s time for a nap, if I can get my son away from the bowl with the unbaked dough, that is.