I FLEW BACK from Bangalore’s new BIAL airport yesterday – but set off at Indiranagar at 1AM to catch a 6:45 fright.
While by day, Bangalore’s roads are a living nightmare, at 1AM in the morning they’re clear and I reached the airport in one hour and 15 minutes. Despite reports in the local press, the road to BIAL is pretty good, and the airport is a vast improvement on HAL.
Not everything is quite finished. The shops are half empty – the boys told me that the alcohol for the duty free area had yet to clear customs. Books don’t need to clear customs – the bookshop had hardly anything in it.
There’s a shortage of tags for hand baggage, so a queue formed of people who had almost got through security to be sent back and wait for the authorities to, presumably, print some more.
You can’t get through emigration without having a script called the user development fee which costs Rs 1,070 – you’re exempt if you’re under two years old. This has been “approved by the Ministry of Civil Aviation of India”. And a leaflet says: “If you are paying by cash you are requested to provide exact change.” The taxi fare to the airport was over Rs 1,000 – to the old HAL airport it would have been about Rs 200.
In the small international area there’s a bar – we did fancy a beer believe it or not. Heck, yesterday was a “dry day”. What’s this in the bottom picture? Yeah, it’s a piece of “designer sculpture” set to bemuse on and all, and a stone’s throw from a Subway. Heck. The wonder that is India. ♣