December 19th and 20th
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The preparations for departure are becoming a routine, our lists optimized and our timing precise. It's a bit anti-climactic, really. I used to be in a frenzy of list-making and errands, now largely unnecessary. Somehow it makes the whole thing a tad unreal.There must be a law that all flights must enter and leave developing countries in the middle of the night.
Nonetheless, here we are, boarded and ready to go. Duffels weighed in under 20 kilos, hiking boots broken in, and the new camera charged up and ready to go. If only I could catch up.
No matter how comfortable the Gold lounge in Frankfurt might be, it's still a transit lounge and it's still 5am. Ick. We have a 5-hour layover with little to do other than try to nap in the chairs and avoid the cigarette smoke emanating from the other side of the room.
Fortunately our second flight takes us directly to Chennai, and thanks to USAir we are upgraded to First. Eight blissful hours of a comfortable seat, good food, and a reasonable selection of movies. The cabin isn't even half full, and apparently we are all very undemanding. The lovely cabin attendant worries a bit about us and keeps offering things. For my part, I'm happy with coffee, Love Actually, and the fact that the baby a row ahead is actually sleeping.
We arrive in Chennai at about midnight. There must be a law that all flights must enter and leave developing countries in the middle of the night. There's not much to see on the way to the hotel other than a few busy roads, but then we're not quite ready to be sightseeing. Long flight phase over, on to the good stuff.