The bus ride to the plane was long enough that we all became friends and were discussing the strengths of the Royal Enfield motorcycles and which mountain passes might or might not be open.
Luckily, after an overnight flight and a day exploring Shoreditch, I was totally wiped out, and slept the entire flight.
Then things took a turn for the worse.
I arrived safe and sound. My luggage did not.
Helmet, jacket, pants, tent, sleeping bag, camping food and equipment. Lost to the void.
The Virgin Atlantic staff handed me a form and then ignored me, leading me to the conclusion that they didn’t really care much if I found my bags or not. I cant honestly say Id care much if I were in their position either.
So I stood there. And stood there. And stood there. Refused to leave. I was eventually able to get their attention and explain that until I knew where my bags were I had no place to go. Without my gear the trip to the Himalayas was pointless, I should head south to Kerala. If my bags were expected to arrive within a couple of days I could piece together some temporary clothes and catch up with my buddies once the luggage and I are reunited.
Finally I get the baggage agents desk email and phone number as well as their personal email and phone number and head to the Ibis hotel which is within the Delhi airport complex.
Finding the airport shuttle was another adventure, but not a very interesting one.
During this process I have an idea. Maybe I can get to the Karol Bagh neighborhood I can piece together some cheap temporary gear for riding in the lower, warmer elevations.
Ibis hotel provides a car and driver that will drive me around the various shopping districts so I can hunt for the appropriate items.
The first stop was a small shop where I scored an open faced helmet painted like the fuel tank on the Easy Rider bike and a pair of gloves that look like part of an evil Halloween costume.
Stop two was one of those psychotic open street markets that go on and on. I was able to find some fake Adidas with four stripes and neon orange laces, a pair of dark blue sweat/track pants with red stripes down the sides, and a short sleeve collared shirt that somehow survived 1985.
Total cost $35.
OK, $50 including the car and driver.
6 PM, and Im back in the hotel getting in as much sleep as possible because Simon and Rex should be appearing around 10 PM, and then Ian and Chris around 2 AM.
The flight is at 6:30, so I know that there will be no sleeping once they all arrive.
5:00 AM, Sunday morning. We have been delivered to the Airport terminal and accidentally find the shortest line at the Air India check in counters.
The plane is so small that we are only allowed to carry on bags no larger than a purse. So we are forced to check what bags we actually have with us.
Through security with no problems, board plane, the propeller thingys spin up and off we go.
Manali, brace yourself.