Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday November 18

Had the alarm set for 4:30 am but could not sleep past 3:30 and eventually got up at 4:00 am.
We had room service breakfast (eggs, toast and coffee). The coffee was excellent. Came downstairs and checked out, the hotel personnel were friendly and helpful and did everything with smiles.

Amenities - B
Service - B+
WiFi - Dependable.

Rahul, a Compass rep picked us up and brought us to the airport and saw us to the entrance beyond which non passengers were not allowed. Rahul asked me about the Bulls yet another Michael Jordan fan he admitted.

Check in and security was smooth with average wait. Boarded the bus to get the plane for Guwahati and the flight left at 7:45 am as scheduled.

Airline - IndiGo, A320 seats 1D and 1E. The flight was going on to Agartala after the stop at Guwahati. Our breakfast had been paid for and it was chicken Paratha served at room temperature and was surprisingly good. Unfortunately no hot beverage service was available and so no coffee.

The flight was smooth, the aircraft clean and the cabin crew friendly and helpful, and excellent, based on this leg of the flight I would highly recommend IndiGo. We flew past the eastern Himalayan Range, and we were fortunate to see this gorgeous sight clearly. I would recommend getting a seat on the port side, for an unobstructed view.

The flight descended to land and at about 100 feet went into to a steep climb, the pilot came on a bit later to say that he couldn't land due to bird activity and going around to try again.

Interestingly Sudip remembers the same thing happening the first time he came 40+ years back.

He was able to land at the second go around. The flight landed at Guwahati at 10:00 am inspite of the difficulty in landing.
My first impression of Guwahati was a pleasant surprise at the beautiful hilly surrounding, somehow I didn't at all expect this.

Puroshottam and Monoj met us at the airport. Manoj and his Innova will be with us until we leave for Kolkata next Thursday.

I turned my cell on and there wasn't any reception and even though a manual network scan showed about 10 providers, it was not allowed to register on any of them. Our Tata Docomo SIM worked fine in the Nokia.

I had heard before of a similar incident from a co-worker but didn't believe it could be true.

The only conclusion I can come to is that foreign SIMs are blocked, not sure if it is only in the Guwahati area or in entire Assam, I guess I will find out soon enough. This is a first, in all my travels in India and quite a bit around the world, I have never had a problem using my US SIM.

Stopped for lunch at a wayside Triptire Ahaz. The Asamese thali comes with any dish that is ordered. Sudip said the fish (chitol) was excellent. On the way to Kaziranga, saw some rhinos at a distance from a wayside.

Arrived at Iora resort. The room is very large, nice, and with a private balcony. Fixed up all the details of the safari for the next couple of days and met our naturalist guide Somnath.

There is free WiFi in the lobby and the restaurant. Went to have an early dinner and found out that the menu for our meal inclusive plan was not nearly as good as the regular menu. So we ordered from there and paid the extra.

Retired for the night since we have an early morning safari tomorrow.

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