The time since we left India has been a blur. Jet lagged and sleep deprived, we were thumped wide awake but only for an hour or 2 by the waters at Niagara falls on the hurricane deck today. More on that later as i try and recap the days since we left home.
The flight on Qatar Airways was much better than I expected except for the quality of ground service at both the Delhi & Doha airport. It took us close to 75 min to check-in at Delhi and the queues at the security check-in for transfer flights were something else as close to 4-5 flights from across Asia had landed almost simultaneously. Thankfully Pooja had fully exhausted her "Aaap Qatar mein hain" jokes in Delhi so i did not have to go through more of those in Doha. The whole lot of passengers were being literally herded through the single X-ray machine that was completely inadequate for close to 700-800 passengers. We were among the lucky ones who had a flight in the next hour or so and were accompanied by the airport ground staff through the security.
Almost 24 hours after leaving home we landed at JFK and came through immigration & baggage collection quite smoothly unlike a certain famous Khan whose ordeal i read about today. I will try and refrain from tempting fate by commenting about the pig-headedness of officials at airports in the name of security. We took the air-train from JFK and reached Crowne Plaza Times Square by 6ish in the evening. We were looking forward to a nice comfortable bed and a few hours of interrupted sleep when we entered our room 2523.
As i switched on the TV while Pooja freshened up i heard an exclamation from the bath commenting on the fact that the previous occupants of the room had left their toiletries in the bathroom. As we explored the room further we found the cupboard was full of clothes and all drawers were full of personal belongings. An empty envelope marked dollars and a post it with the telephone number of someone called Choudhary was in one of the drawers with close to 8-10 expensive looking women handbags. What was surprising was that the room had been cleaned by room service and entered in the system to be allotted to a guest. We called the front desk and as they sent someone to clean up the room Pooja and I decided to move to the corridor outside to avoid the situation of being confronted by the original "occupants" of the room.
Outside in the corridor we were confronted by the shadiest possible B grade Hindi horror music soundtrack (will upload by next post) and that was enough to send us convulsing with laughter and uncontrollable giggles. That was the condition that the housekeeping lady found us in and as we re-entered the room she found the situation inside equally hilarious as she called security to clear the room. Till security arrived she spent an entertaining 10 minutes discussing with Pooja the quality and style of the handbags in the drawers and the ones she should carry home that evening in case they remained unclaimed.
Anyway as we went back to the front desk to be assigned another room we cribbed royally about having to lug our 30 kg backpacks (combined) up and down 25 floors to the hotel staff and were rewarded with a coupon that entitled us to one of a free movie, buffet breakfast or free drink at the hotel due to reason code 9110. The hotel manager told us that code 9110 is a fact of life in hotels in the US since they started quick check outs where guests don't physically need to check out at the front desk and all front desk employees keep a stash of these coupons to handle irate guests. Do remember to ask for these if you end up in such a situation. The buffet breakfast next morning at the restaurant with a fabulous view of Broadway was a great way to start a day of sightseeing in New York City :)