Friday, August 5, 2011

the trip home and sundry India...

India is a weird place. Not in a bad way. I found it very warm, friendly and spiritual but we were also very much in a middle-class enclave which does come with a fair degree of security and comfort. There was a couple of funny moments. There's a couple of gift shops in the lobby of the Ramada Powaii (like most hotels worldwide) and because we have to vacate the room once a day for the cleaners to come through and do their thing we'd hang out in the lobby or the games room (they had a Wii... lesson learnt I'm crap at games!). So one of the things I found a bit weird. Babies in India are generally not taken out in public until they are 40 days old (from my understanding) and here we are with twins that are 2-3 weeks old. So we're talking to the folks in the gift shops - and they asked how old the girls were and we told them - the looks on their faces were a bit shocked! But I think being foreigners you're forgiven slight irregularities to custom...

So... the shenanigans of the trip home!
I would like to say this was easy. I would like to say something for once in India was easy. It wasn't. Far from it. So it's the 22nd of October - we get notification that the girls emergency passports and citizenship certificates are ready (you're now little Aussies - very little Aussies!). So we start the process of getting the Indian exit visas. Now of course the office to get your exit visas is located somewhere in Mumbai that if we didn't have a good driver (a few other couples had used him previously) who knew where he was going - we would have had no hope! It was in the back of Mumbai somewhere with no street signs. So anyway we find it - get our ticket/appointment etc... start the process, pay for the visas and asked to return a couple of hours later for the exit visas.

I'll backtrack for a second as this is where the real fun is. So we received your passports and citizenship certificates via courier to the hotel that morning. Something was missing though. Namely your fathers passport... as far as we could tell his passport had been sent somewhere else in Mumbai. Cue the appropriate panic from me as all of a sudden I could imagine me flying home solo with the two of you while your father was stranded in Mumbai trying to find his passport that was somewhere between Mumbai and Delhi... as per usual I needed have worried as it was delivered to our hotel later that day.

So we had a couple of hours to kill while we waited for your exit visas to be processed. So we went off the Taj Hotel in Mumbai for lunch. It was a very nice lunch - including the appropriate me ducking into the men's room to do nappy changes. It was a bit sad to see there were still parts of the Taj Hotel that had been boarded up from the terrorist bombings (that made me a bit nervous about actually being in Mumbai).

So we got your exit visas and were pretty much all set to go - barring any other disasters... delayed flights etc. But again not something we needed to have worried about. Our flight from Mumbai to Singapore left on time. No major hassles or glitches. The stewardesses on Kingfisher were all wonderful and very curious about the two of you! They were more than happy to help us - which is always a nice touch. As per usual you were both an absolute joy on the plane - but hey you were three weeks old... you didn't do much beyond sleep, eat and do what babies do!

So we change planes at Singapore. Went from Kingfisher to Singapore Airlines. We requested the bassinets but missed out on them and then we ended up with Aisle seats and you guys would have to flown home in our laps... I'm not sure if that would have worked for anyone. But the customer service manager was lovely. She had 5 babies on the flight and asked people to move so she could free up some seats so that your Dad and I could sit together and have a seat between us for the two of you. As we had your little carry cots - we used that on the seat between us for the two of you and it worked perfectly. Again you were both absolutely brilliant on the way to Melbourne.

A funny aside. We were going through security in Singapore to get on the plane. And the security guard saw that I was carrying one of you. "Oh a baby..." - she grabbed the cocoon and off she went. She sees your Dad come up with the other cocoon "and another baby..." and grabbed the cocoon and off she went again. I thought it was a rather cute moment. Then all the female security guards were clustered around the cocoons ohhing and ahhing (you had that effect on people).

So we get back to Melbourne International after the 9 hour flight from Singapore. Get through customs (took longer than we would have liked). Then we had the joy of trying to work out how to get you guys into your baby seats in the car. We'd never done it before. So um... yeah... we got there in the end.

And now one of my first parenting mistakes. We were living in Trentham so probably just over an hour from the airport. And I thought I had enough time to get you guys home before you were due your next feed. I was wrong... So we had to pull over at a service station and get some water to make up your formula. You were both howling by this point. All they had was cold water... ice cold water. It was a struggle for everyone. You guys were hungry and you were trying to feed but you ended up in pain because the water was that cold! It was a mistake and a lesson.

So we got home and you guys had your first night in your cots. Your father and I were exhausted... it had been a very long three weeks.