OK, so Frankfurt Airport is not much of
a destination in itself. The airport is kind of dingy, the
restrooms are tiny and few, and the many international travelers have
somewhat different olfactory impact. But since we're
business-class kind of travelers this trip, we took advantage of the
business class lounge for a cup of Kaffe Schwartz and some
cookies. Plus the restrooms were clean.
At the gate, they take your ticket in line before herding you into a
holding pen, so there's no taking tickets when the door to the ramp
opens up. We waited about 15 minutes before boarding, got a shot
of the A340 to Hyderabad. No problems were experienced.
When the ramp did open, a swarm of humanity lunged at the door, but
interestingly they all waited patiently for the families with small
children to get through before going down the stairs themselves.
And when the German gate staff closed a little waist-high gate everyone
waited patiently until he opened it again. Order within
disorder? Portents of future observations...
Here's some shots of take off from Frankfurt, and some of the land a
little East/Southeast of that locale:
About 45 minutes later, according to the map, we're somewhere northwest
of Budapest. I tried to get a few snaps of this area - they
didn't come out great but I hope you'll get the idea. It was
cloudy for the next half hour.
Our flight path now took us somewhat Southeast over the Black
Sea. We heard from the Captain that our flight would take us over
Bulgaria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and then into India. I had
been interested in what our flight path would be - would they skirt
around some of the "hot spots" of the world and go over relatively calm
Saudi Arabia? Apparently not. And since I'm writing this
there were no issues, but I was not the only one on the plane who had
So here's the sight just getting over the Black Sea, and where we came
back over land. I'll locate this spot when I return to the
states. And yes, I know you can see me taking the picture of the
So now things start getting interesting, because once we're on this
side of the Black Sea we're now in Turkey. Here's the cross-over
point, near a city called Trabzon.
Continuing our southeast path we get over some pretty high
mountains. The clouds also start to come in.
The map shows clearly we're headed for Iraq and Iran:
Here's some shots of over that area between Mosul and Kirkuk:
Came across a pretty good sized lake with a pretty good sized city on
its edge. I later checked a map and see that it is Lake Van, the
largest lake in Turkey.
As we got over Iran, the clouds started coming in. Where
there were no clouds, most of the land looks like the 2nd
picture. I had hoped we were going to pass near Tehran so I could
get a shot of that, but we were too far south and there was 80% cloud
cover, so the only shot I have of Iran is the one here. Later the
clouds probably cleared but it got dark, so we caught some Zs.
I woke up over Karachi, Pakistan after about 2.5 hours. Then
Lufthansa fed us again, around Mumbai (Bombay):
We started seeing lights outside (it's about 1:00 AM here). This
is one of the first glimpses of Hyderabad we had. As we were
flying in, I noticed large blocks of lights, probably a couple of miles
across, going out, then coming back on about 30 seconds later. We
were later to find out that this is one way they save electricity -
turning off sections periodically to "share the pain."
Customs was in a medium sized room with 6 officials, and we were
through in 10 minutes. It was the least formal customs I've been
through, just standing in line - no ropes, no walkways. Just everyone
waiting patiently in line. We had to put our bags and selves
through a metal detector, and although it went off with my watch, they
didn't care. What were they checking for? Don't know.
Our bags came off pretty early, thanks to the "Priority" tag Lufthansa
put on them, then we handed the little slip from our entrance form to
the customs official and we were outside, where the masses gathered to
greet their famillies. We were very pleased to see a young man
holding a sign with Rachel's name on it, and they collected our bags
and put them in a Toyota van, then the police moved the other cars that
were blocking us in and we were on our way to the ITC Kakatiya
Sheraton. The 5 minute drive at 2:30 am still showed a lot of
traffic, with vehicles that you'll see in pictures on tomorrow's
We checked in and were treated like royalty. The rooms are
incredible - probably the nicest I've ever stayed in. Large, nice
view, each of ours has its own amenities, and we think we are on floors
for different genders. Mine has a butler station, while Rachel's
room accommodates feminine needs. Rachel's is on the left, mine
is on the right.
At that point it's time for sleep because we're getting picked up at
2:00 PM for a half day of sightseeing in Hyderabad. Night!