Day 01 : Välkommen



I am travelling to Stockholm on business trip and as all international trip story commence, this too begins at the airport. The Bangalore airport was quite unmemorable; the check-in was uneventful and I spent my time browsing through the duty-free. I heard the one at the arrival section is not as large; I should verify on my way back. Qatar Airways, my flight, was hassle free like most flights are nowadays. The quality and services provided in the economy class are hardly the points of a deep discussion, but you will notice the Doha-Stockholm flight seats were more spacious and comfortable than the Bangalore-Doha ones; probably to comfort the taller Caucasian frame. The on-board movie selection was a few months old and the finicky touch screen ensures that it will take more than a few attempts to choose one.
The whole point of this post and the unnecessary preface is a warning. I had the beginnings of flu before I boarded my flight, nothing to get alarmed about. But the artificial air and the flight policy of ‘no serving of hot beverages during turbulence’ left me a wee bit dehydrated. Soon my nose was stuffy and my throat got dry and every change in altitude made my ear drums feel like sticks of dynamite, waiting to explode. The descents were excruciating and I just couldn’t get my ears to pop. Lesson learnt, always remember to smuggle a nasal decongestant.


Doha’s Hamad international airport is like a bee hive. Passengers bustle along, pushing their oversized luggage on tiny carts, oblivious to giant yellow teddy bear watching their every move. After six hours and more ear shattering pain, I stepped out of the protective cocoon into the biting minus fifteen degree cold to a rather deserted Arlanda airport. The EU citizens scurried past immigration showing off their red passport while the rest of us had to be in snail queue. FYI, you can not buy spirits, wine and champagne from the airport duty-free while entering Sweden. But you can bring it in if it in a sealed packet from a non-EU country, like Qatar. On that bombshell, this post I end.

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