My luggage- 2 backpacks, both on the verge of explosion

On the road again! Or I guess more accurately… In the air again! Or most accurately… In airports again! This time, however, is a little different because I have a friend!!!! My best friend from high school, Sarah, is coming for a week to do some sightseeing, and I’ll start working after she leaves.

If you’ve been following my journey, you’ll know that having a travel companion is the MOST exciting thing for the main reason of not having to take my bags with me to the bathroom at the airport. I’m just kiddinggg (kind of). Reason #1 why it’s the most exciting thing is because my friend is here, and I’m not alone for once! It’s very strange having someone to talk to and not having to do the awkward elbow fight to claim armrest space on the plane. We’ll put the bathroom reason at a close second.

Obligatory airport pic

The trip to Armenia was supposed to be a relatively efficient 15 hours:

Flight NYC -> Kiev, Ukraine (9:30 hours) (I slept like a rock for about 7 of them)

Layover in Kiev (3 hours)

Flight Kiev, Ukraine -> Yerevan, Armenia (2:40 hours), arriving at 11:50PM

Not bad, right? Except for the arrival time, but that’s not the absolute worst… but wait. Now our second flight is delayed about 2.5 hours, putting us there at about 2:30AM. That’s probably close to the absolute worst. Ugh. On the bright side though, I have a friend with me! And that makes everything better!

So, welcome to the Kiev airport! It’s actually quite pleasant, so at least that’s something. The chairs though… ick. Please, enjoy the comfort of your couch a little extra today in honor of Sarah and me.


Airport buddy!!!
Yes, we probably looked weird taking this picture, but I would have just looked dumb doing it by myself. That’s the beauty of travelling with a friend.
Rides to work, India style.

Another day, another airport. I think that I need to start keeping a list of all of the airports I’ve been in. It’s getting to the point where it’s actually quite impressive. Or maybe I’ll just start keeping track of how many hours of my life I’ve spent sitting in airports. That’s probably even more impressive.

The trek home is a long one, and I’m still very much at the beginning of it. Let me give you the full schedule:

7AM (India time) on Tuesday 5/30 – leave Jaigaon

7AM-11AM – drive to Bagdogra airport (4:00 hours)

11AM-2PM – sit in Bagdogra airport (3:00 hrs)

2PM-4:15PM – flight Bagdogra -> Delhi (2:15 hrs)

4:15PM-4AM – sit in Delhi airport (11:45 hrs)

4AM (India time)-8:45AM (Frankfurt time) – flight Delhi -> Frankfurt (8:15 hrs)

8:45AM-1:10PM – sit in Frankfurt airport (4:25 hrs)

1:10PM (Frankfurt time)-4PM (Philly time) – flight Frankfurt -> Philly (8:50 hrs)

4PM-whenever – drive home from the Philly airport

They put me in the exit row on flight #1! So much leg room!

This, of course, is assuming that all of the flights go as planned. Already, my first flight was delayed by about half an hour, and my flight to Frankfurt has been delayed an hour and 15 minutes so that I’m leaving at 4AM instead of 2:45. Just what I needed… a couple more hours in the Delhi airport.

My favorite travel food: chocolate muffins. I don’t know why… it just always seems like a good idea (probably because when is a chocolate muffin ever a bad idea??). Also, in every country in the world besides the US, people can pronounce AND spell my name correctly. It’s wonderful!

I’m currently sitting in the Starbucks outside of the domestic arrivals baggage claim because I don’t want to exit the airport and be stuck sitting on the floor outside of the check-in counters until I can check my bag for the flight. I’m also inconveniently sitting underneath an air-conditioning vent (this always seems to happen to me), so I’m all hyped up from the hot chocolates I’ve been buying to keep warm.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The worst part of travelling by yourself is when you have to go to the bathroom in the airport. It’s a huge pain in the butt to lug all of your bags around wherever you go and forfeit whatever seat you managed to claim, so I’ve been holding it for the last couple of hours. I know, I should just go. I will. Eventually.

Usually by the end of a long airport/airplane trek like this, I feel disgusting and unwashed. I’m trying a new strategy this time which includes 2 changes of clothes and, assuming my flight out of Delhi doesn’t get delayed even more, a shower in Frankfurt. I’m not interested in looking and smelling like I’ve been travelling for a century by the time I get to Philly. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Well, I think it’s finally time for me to go check in for flight #2. I’ll be happy to trade in the stool I’ve been sitting on for the last 8 hours for a new, hopefully cushioned chair. Wish me luck!


Now I’m sitting in Frankfurt airport. I couldn’t find any functional wifi in Delhi, but you’ll be happy to know that I did find a more comfortable seat. I also had fun spending the rest of my rupees on snacks.

The flight here was a blur. I passed out within 5 minutes of sitting down and was out cold for 5 hours. I guess I was tired…

Yoga room!

When I got here, I felt horrible. My back and shoulders were sore and tight, so I went to one of the yoga rooms they have here! It was awesome! I had to go on an adventure across the universe, but I found my way there and spent about 45 minutes stretching out and “meditating” (napping on the floor on a yoga mat). After that, I took a shower! And I don’t know what kind of body wash they had, but I smell amazing. This has been the best layover ever! The best part is that my flight home leaves in less than an hour… so only 10 more hours in this seemingly endless trek across the globe.

Where in the world is Lara now? Ha. Good question! These last few days have been crazy. One second I’m in Cusco, then I’m in Lima, then Miami, then Toronto, and now I’m somewhere over the north pole on my way to India. My brain hasn’t even had a chance to process the fact that I shouldn’t be speaking Spanish to people anymore.

In hindsight I’m pretty sure I’ve worn the same outfit on every plane ride so far. I promise that 1. These are all different pictures and 2. I do own and wear other clothes.

I knew that this was going to be a rough adjustment, but it’s different now that I’m living it. It’s going to be interesting to see how I adapt to a completely new culture this time. And what will it be like in June when I’m back in the States for a more significant amount of time? Well, I can’t worry about that now. For the moment, my concern needs to be getting myself to comprehend the fact that I’m going to be in INDIA.
I’m seriously so excited. My biggest concern is still the food, and the airplane food we’ve been eating hasn’t done anything to settle that concern. I’m not a spicy kind of person. I love bland. Give me a plain piece of white bread, and I’m set. Out of a million potato chip flavors, I would choose original. I am a fan of salad with no dressing. I think that’s going to be an issue here. Already on this plane ride, I’ve started developing a technique for eating without actually touching any of the food with my tongue. My taste buds cannot handle spicy, and if that meal was the airline’s version of a toned-down spicy level that should be acceptable to everyone on board, I’m toast. And not white bread toast. (Probably some sort of whole grain toast with seeds and other crunchy things in it.)

Our route over the top of the world.

Anyway, there’s no turning back now. My head is still spinning from all of the things that were accomplished in the last two days. I landed Friday morning, my mom and I went shopping for some last-minute India supplies, I ate a couple of dinners with my sister and nieces, repacked my bag, and here I am! Be impressed because it really was an incredible feat.
Okay. It’s like 7 more hours until we land in Delhi. 7 hours to realize that I’m not in South America anymore. 7 hours to kill off 90% of my taste buds so that I can handle spicy food. India, here I come!

(Also, I’m going to retroactively post about my last days in Peru over the next couple days… so sorry for the post explosion. I had a very productive plane ride… But not now because it’s sleep time.)