We left our amazing tree house in Mudumalai and headed towards Coimbatore to catch our train back to Hyderabad. Our day started at five in the morning, when we showered, got ready for the wildlife safari, and then returned to the resort to have some breakfast, meet nawab sahab, and pack our bags. It took us around four hours to reach Coimbatore, but since we hadn’t planned this trip out, our train seats fell under the “reservation list”, which basically meant that unless another passenger canceled his or her confirmed seat, we didn’t have a chance to board the train.
This green building proudly stood in the afternoon summer sun, causing permanent damage to my retinas …
Anyway, so we were really looking forward to getting a confirmed seat in the train. All throughout the ride from Mudumalai, I checked the railway’s official website for updates. By the time we arrived in Coimbatore, the railway officials have posted the final list of passengers, and we didn’t get the seats. By this time we were tired, hot, disappointed, and irritated. The thought of riding the bus all the way back to Hyderabad brought back painful memories of how we got to Chennai, and we shuddered at the thought.
Immediately, Masood booked two plane tickets to Hyderabad. Alhumdulillah for wireless internet connection! So instead of the railway station, our driver turned the car and headed towards the airport. “Let’s take another route,” the driver decided. “Er, is that a short cut?” inquired Masood. “No, it’s actually longer but we won’t have to face traffic,” replied the driver.
And so we took the longer route to the airport, a road that stretched out endlessly between coconut trees and farms. There was no traffic, except for an occasional cow or goat crossing the street.
On our way to the airport …
Coimbatore airport is small; but it is an international airport, nevertheless. It has two terminals, but one is under construction. There are two hangars, but one is reserved for the Coimbatore Flying Club. The parking bays in the airport can accommodate a maximum of six air-crafts. They have one runway.
We were allowed to enter the airport without having our bags checked by the security. Later, we learned that only passengers who get a call to go to the boarding area will go back to the security at the gates and have their bags scanned. In the meantime, we could bring our suitcases inside the airport with us.
The airport has a couple of coffee shops, but only one restaurant, located upstairs. And at 4 pm, we were told that they didn’t serve lunch, so we decided to settle for some snacks. And since there wasn’t an elevator or escalator in the building, we were told to leave our suitcases in the coffee shop downstairs, and we’re assured of their safety. When we finally settled into the restaurant, we were again reminded that lunch was longer available but they had dosas and fried rice. Masood and I both ordered fried rice.
The airport is not air-conditioned. And the fans in the waiting area were strategically placed at locations where there were no seats below them. However, we somehow managed to secure seats that were closer to the fans, and as the place slowly started to fill up with passengers, the demand for these seats was such that even when our throats dried out from thirst, we didn’t move an inch to go and buy ourselves a bottle of water.
And we finally sighed with relief as we walked towards the only boarding area and into the plane.
We arrived at the airport around 4 pm. Our flight was expected to depart at 7 pm. The plane finally took off at 10:30 pm.